Elite Post 16 team compete in national final

THE Albion Foundation's Elite Post 16 Programme ended the season with a cup final defeat, despite a hugely encouraging inaugural campaign.

A last-gasp winner meant that Burton Albion Community Trust were crowned champions of the National Football Youth League U19s Cup with a 3-2 victory over Albion's youngsters.

Lawrence Roberts, the Foundation's Post 16 Football Coordinator, has been impressed with the attitude and performance of his team over the course of the season.

"They have been excellent from when we first got them in August," he said.

"We have been really impressed with our cup run.

"We have beat the likes of Chelsea, Southampton and Norwich City, who have all had programmes running for about three or four years."

The programme aims to combine elite football and education to provide its participants with career opportunities either on, or off the field. 

The players education is provided by Sandwell College, and Neil Parker, a Sport Lecturer at the College is delighted with their progress on the course so far.

"I'm estatic with how they are getting on," said Neil.

"We have linked all of their learning to football too.

"They are all working towards a BTEC level 3, but have also done a FA level 1 coaching badge and a fitness instructor qualification.

"These have all led to work experience opportunities, with four of the lads working as fitness instructors and two of them working with grassroots teams as football coaches."

Foundation coach Dan Bryson has been impressed with the overall development of the team, too.

"I think it has been really, really pleasing that we have improved them as people first and foremost," he said.

"They are showing the right respect, the right morals and going about it in the right way off the pitch and that is now transferring onto the pitch through their performances."

The team captain, Soms Sibanda also reflected on a positive first season for the programme.

"Since the turn of the year, we have played in 14 games and won 11," he said.

"It just shows how far we have come as a team."

To find out more about our Elite Post 16 Programme or to get involved, please contact