On Friday 27th March 2020 Prince Yelagon, a local Year 11 student from South Shore Academy was offered a full time scholarship in the Professional Development Phase in Blackpool FC’s Academy.
The 16 Year old will start training with the professional football club next season.
For the last two years, as well as training in the academy set up, Prince has been attending Blackpool FC Community Trust’s after school sessions with his school mates in the same year.
“I’ve really enjoyed the kick-abouts with the Community Trust. They’ve helped me work on things that I’ve needed to work on to improve my skills and abilities. Ever since I took part two years ago with my mates, the kindness and support Blackpool FC Community Trust showed us was a great experience”.
In January this year, Prince was released from the Youth Development Phase in the academy set up, which was obviously a huge disappointment having spent the last few seasons working towards the dream of a scholarship. After initially missing a couple of sessions, Prince returned to play again with his mates.
“When any of us fell down and gave up, Blackpool FC Community Trust motivated us to get back up and keep working hard. They saw how well we played together at training and turned us into a team.”
In order for Prince to chase his dream again, it was important for him to keep fit and continue to practice. Prince regularly attended the after school sessions twice a week and now attends an extra Year 11 football session at Playfootball with the Trust on Wednesday evenings. He also joined a local grassroots team.
Prince played in some competitive matches with the Community Trust from the weekly Wednesday session and also took part in the Premier League Kicks Festival hosted by Blackpool FC Community Trust.
“We played against Liverpool and Accrington and other tournaments. It helped me realise my passion for football again and how hard I’m willing to work to fulfil my dream of becoming a professional footballer. The fact that I have a great support system from my family and Blackpool FC Community Trust meant that I was able to push myself to the best of my ability”.
After speaking to Community Trust staff and Prince’s previous club, Prince was taken on an eight week trial in Blackpool FC’s Academy. He found out the pleasing news last week that he would be offered a place as a scholar with Blackpool FC.
Education Recruitment Manager at Blackpool FC Community Trust Alex Taylor said:
“Blackpool FC Community Trust would like to congratulate Prince and wish him all the best with Blackpool FC. I’ve personally known and coached Prince for the last few years, so it’s great that he has been given this fantastic opportunity. The hard work starts now for him. Prince is welcome back anytime at the Community Trust sessions to help inspire more people to be active, to be resilient and enjoy socialising with friends”.
Prince went on to say:
“I would like to thank and show my gratitude to the Community Trust staff for their support and opportunities they have provided for me during my period with them. I gathered skills and knowledge that I will take with me throughout my career”.