Oaklands St Albans Football Academy (SAFA) are delighted to announced two of its players have been selected to step up and represent their country alongside some of the best in the UK, in the National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.
The duo are now two of just 18 players handpicked to join the England U18 English School’s Football Association Team – the best players in the 16-18 category from Schools, Sixth Forms and Colleges cross the UK.
Goalkeeper Daniel Gould, studying Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Midfielder Kyle Ajayi, studying Level 1 Plumbing, both 17, made it through three rounds of vigorous testing to make the final cut for the squad, which was announced this month.
The pair, both from Luton, came to Oaklands College from Lealands High School in Sundon Park, choosing their chosen study programme alongside the opportunity to join SAFA – one of the successful sporting academies under the provision of Oaklands Wolves. The academy programme combines high quality sports training with academic achievement, combining intense training with classroom study.
Friends from a young age, Daniel and Kyle have shared their joint passion for football for nearly a decade, progressing through school together before making the grade to play for Bedfordshire County Football League in their free time.
It was here they were handpicked for country trials for the ESFA U18 team, progressing impressively through three rounds of trials including a three day training camp, facing competition from fellow players and put through their paces by teams from the RAF and Royal Navy before making the final 18.
Daniel said: “This is an incredible opportunity now to step up beyond College, beyond the county and now to be part of a team with some of the best of our age in the country. We’re still at College, so to know we have the support from our tutors and coaches to help us manage when we’re away is great.”
Their first international training event will take place in Valencia in February, before the team plays Centenary Shield with two home and two away matches this season.
Kyle added: “I study Plumbing which is a complete contrast to my love to Football but being the academy at College gives me a responsibility for both. The discipline, commitment and dedication you need for Football will help in your future career. You have no idea where any of this will lead and it’s good to know you have options. I will have the job security of a trade, whilst also having this amazing opportunity in football.”
College Principal Zoe Hancock said: “To have two students with the opportunity of playing such a high level of football is a credit to their commitment and ability, supported by the staff in the academy. We wish them every success on their journey with the ESFA.”
Are you interested in joining SAFA this September? Register for their forthcoming trial dates
this February and visit our St Albans to put your passion for football to the test. The next trial dates are on 16th