Reds in the Community launch Shadow Scholarship programme

Reds in the Community are delighted to announce the launch of a Shadow Scholarship in partnership with Barnsley FC, Barnsley College and Independent Training Services.

The programme will allow a combination of ex-academy players and other local talent to progress their footballing ability by training daily in a professional environment.

Alongside the football aspects, they will study on the Reds in the Community’s established education courses, gaining either a BTEC or foundation degree in foundation football coaching.

Players will develop under FA qualified coaches from RITC and the Academy, also having access to physiotherapy, gym and analysis facilities.

The 18/19 season will be the first year that Barnsley will have a team representing the club in the U19’s National Youth League against other professional football clubs.

Lead Player Development Coach Mark Tinker recently returned to Oakwell in order to lead on the Shadow Scholarship alongside his duties coaching the Barnsley Academy U15’s.

Tinker, who has coached in the USA alongside previous roles at Leeds United, Bradford City and Huddersfield Town, holds big ambitions for the scheme.

He said: “I think the major thing would be the link with high level education, combined with the ultimate playing experience. I came back to Barnsley to develop the best football development programme, in a shadow squad capacity, in the country.”

Academy Manager Bobby Hassell will also be heavily involved in the day-to-day activities of the shadow scholarship, with the players studying and developing on the professional Academy syllabus and curriculum.

The former Reds defender has backed the programme to be an instant success, both on and off the pitch.

He said: “It’s going to be a great experience for the lads coming in, it’s probably more qualified than most projects like this up and down the land. We know they are going to [work with] good coaches and a good education programme so I’m really excited about the project.”

Multiple players have progressed from existing programmes to earn careers in professional football or play abroad.

Barnsley FC midfielder and Education Ambassador Adam Hammill hopes that the initiative will be able to mirror the previous success of other established shadow scholarships across the country.

He said: “I’ve seen the success rate from it before. I think it’s about 25 players who have gone on to play professionally. Players develop differently. Some develop at 16, some at 18. It’s a great opportunity for everyone but especially for the lads who are getting a second chance – they’ve got to grasp it with both hands.”

Stay tuned across the Reds in the Community website and social media accounts for more reaction in the coming weeks.