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Aus: Wollongong Uni signs football contract

The University of Wollongong has partnered with English Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur to train footballers on its campus from January 2020.

Club Ambassador Ledley King and University of Wollongong Ambassador and Australian cricket legend Adam Gilchrist exchanged a shirt in London to launch the partnership. Photo: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

The HEI said the team's philosophy works well with its own approach

A new player development program will see two FA & UEFA qualified Tottenham Hotspur coaches train students for 36 weeks a year over a period of five years at its campus south of Sydney.

“This unique program will strengthen the place of football within our university”

This marks the first time the top tier football team has agreed to partner with a university, although it has long-term agreements in the US with New England Football Club and Florida Elite. Its strong youth academy makes it a powerful partner, according to its head of Global Football Development, Andy Rogers.

“The club has a fantastic track record in developing young players through its Academy, and we are delighted to be taking these authentic methods to the University of Wollongong,” said Rogers.

“The university has a long history of sporting success and we look forward to working with them to help grow the game and identify the next generation of talented footballers in the region.”

Philosophy has been a key word at the club, since Argentine Mauricio Pochettino took over managerial duties in 2014. The club’s philosophy is something the university sees as complementary to its own.

“[Tottenham’s] philosophy – to provide an individual development program based on the strengths of the individual and their sympathetic approach with a high level of attention to the wholistic welfare of each individual – is consistent with our educational approach,” a spokesperson from the University of Wollongong told The PIE News.

Deputy vice-chancellor for Global Strategy at the University of Wollongong Alex Frino said the strategic partnership will foster stronger links to football in Australia.

“As well as helping our students improve their playing ability and education, this unique program will strengthen the place of football within our university and deepen our connection with this rapidly growing sporting code in Australia,” he said.

“It will attract young Australian and international players with tremendous potential who can enrich local competitions, while also providing opportunities for Australian coaches to be mentored by Tottenham Hotspur coaches, improving the standard of coaching for the university and Australian football.”

Professor Paul Wellings CBE, vice-chancellor at the University of Wollongong said the partnership was a natural fit for the university.

“We are delighted to be partnering with one of the best football clubs in the world, and particularly one that shares our personalised approach to helping students reach their full potential. This partnership continues the University of Wollongong’s long history of combining sport with a world-class education that prepares sportspeople for life after their playing careers.”

The university also partners on a course with Australian professional rugby league football club St. George Illawarra Dragons, which focuses on providing an education for a career post sport.

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