Academy Director Joel Roberts has been busy this past year preparing for the arrival of the incoming class of 2018 to the UDA professional soccer academy at the University of Chester. After finishing up his latest round of meeting families and prospective students on campus, Roberts has now turned his attention to ensuring everything is ready for the incoming class this next September.
Roberts stated, “Last week I met with Katy Davenport from the International Office to determine what will be the best accommodation site for the 2018 incoming class. There are a lot of options to suit all budgets, however we wanted one that provided not only the best opportunity for our students to get the best economic value, but on to keep them fully integrated into University life”.
Roberts added, “At present we believe Grosvenor House, will be the best location given our on-site training and schedule. The accommodation includes options for self-catering, single occupancy study flats, free Wi-Fi and laundry facilities. In addition I have looked across the various courses our student/athletes will be studying and believe we have the right location and the perfect times for our training schedule right in the heart of campus.”
Roberts added, “ As we don’t want to create a ‘soccer only’ university experience, the location and type of accommodation environment is critical. Our student-athletes will study and live with students from across a range of academic courses, as well as from other countries, for a total university experience.”
University of Chester Undergraduate Accommodations
In addition, Roberts has been carefully planning with Academy Head of Coaching Jon McCarthy, who played over 600 professional league games and has managed at the professional level, with regards to the structure and format of the upcoming training and match schedule.
Roberts stated, “Jon and myself have been planning the schedule of games for next year and we have created a program which we feel serves the needs of our players from both a competitive and developmental point of view. Using our extensive networks across a range of clubs we will oversee a balance of games against local, semi-professional and professional youth academies, with opportunities to visit and play at venues such as the iconic Manchester City Academy. In addition, Jon and myself will be working with selected professional clubs to provide not only game time against their academies but training and development opportunities, for the right player, within their academy programs.”
Coach Roberts is also delighted that Wolverhampton FC, where he is a Senior Scout, are now playing in the English Premier League next year after their recent promotion from the championship. Roberts added, “It is an exciting time for Wolves and I am sure we will be able to use our existing relationship to provide our students/athletes with opportunities to experience what it is like to be connected to a Premiership club”
Roberts concluded, “ I have been in constant contact with the US based staff, especially Director of Recruitment Coach Seamus Reilly. At present we have over 85% of incoming class for 2018 situated and have another 12-15 students we are dealing with to complete this specific incoming group. The class of 2018 is going to be a strong group of players.”