Former Forest manager gives shake of approval at Magnus Church of England Academy's 'You Can Do Sport' signing session
A former Nottingham Forest manager has given sport students the handshake of approval at an academy signing session.
Paul Hart, former Forest player and manager, attended the Magnus Church of England Academy’s You Can Do Sport signing session on Tuesday — and gave the nod to student sporting dreams.
One by one, footballers on the level three extended diploma in sport at Magnus, shook the hand of Paul Hart and received their kits as part of the professional presentation.
Student Shaqueal Sumal said the You Can Do Sports Academy allowed him to rekindle his love for football.
Shaqueal, 16, was scouted by Nottingham Forest at the age of eight while playing junior football in Newark and played for The Reds until he was 11.
He was also picked up by Sheffield United two years ago.
He currently plays for Newark Town FC.
“I just want to play football and see if I still have what it takes,” said Shaqueal, who can play on either wing or up front.
Of the academy’s offering, he said: “It definitely gives people opportunity to achieve their dreams if they have not been scouted.”
You Can Do Sport Academy’s mission is to make further education in sport accessible to all young people, enrich lives and ensure they realise their potential.
The football and netball two-year programmes on offer are open to 16 to 18-year-olds, focusing not only on sporting ability, but in-depth academic study through the Magnus Church of England Academy.
Tuesday’s signing session was not just open to footballers.
Mia Fenton, 16, signed up for netball after being inspired by her mother to take up the sport in primary school.
She said: “This opportunity in netball will make me a better and stronger person — it really gets me excited. I have been a dancer since I was three, which has no doubt helped with my netballing ability.
“I want a career both in dance and netball.”
Young sportsmen and women were handed their kits at a signing session similar to the real-deal experienced by professional players when they join a club.
Paul Hart said that instilled a sense of professionalism in the students right from the start which takes positive effects through the course.
He said: “This is an opportunity for all children to enjoy sport but more importantly to continue their education.
“Education stands very highly in football and netball, and as well as teaching manners and humility, we just want to help make these young people.
“These students have the chance to be coached by those who have played at the highest level and know what it takes to become a professional sportsperson.”
Currently only offering football and netball, You Can Do Sport is venturing into rugby in association with Newark Rugby Club from next year.
Disability sport may then follow.