Lewis Irwin proof of the player pathway at Northampton Town
A young striker called Lewis Irwin has started the season in fine goalscoring form for the Northampton Town under 18s.
Nothing too unusual about that you may think, but Lewis is the first player to emerge from the club's BTEC Football and Education programme to be added to the ranks of full time Academy players.
Lewis joined the Northampton Town FC Football & Education Programme in September 2015. This is a 2 year full time programme for 16-19 year olds, based at Cobblers Study Centre, that combines studying for a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (Performance & Excellence) alongside training and playing as part of the NTFC U19 Shadow Squad.
Course Leader Pete Stephenson said that Lewis was always a player they had high hopes for.
"He had attended the trial day the previous February, where he showed his undoubted potential, and was made a conditional offer to join the programme," he said.
"He came to us from Duston School after achieving the GCSE grade requirements and had been playing for ON Chenecks Under 16’s. He was a big player for our team that finished 4th in the U19 National Development Division Midlands/North Division, scoring 16 goals in 17 games and forming a lethal partnership with Liam Moore, who has recently finished his 2 years with us and moved on to a lucrative soccer scholarship in America.
During the last year, he also continued to play for ON Chenecks Under 18’s and also played some senior games in their reserve team. He was one of 18 players on the programme who was given the opportunity to train with the youth team during last season and he did well enough to be invited back in several times, including the chance with 4 others to play in a friendly match with the youth team last season.
"He was then one of four players invited by Mark Lyons to join the youth team full time during pre-season and his performances in training and in games did enough to convince both Mark and Trevor Gould to offer him the chance to step over full time to join the under 18 squad. This means that he will continue to work towards achieving the Extended Diploma over the next 2 years but will now train and play full time for the youth team.
"He completed the first year of the programme in June before he joined up with the pre-season sessions, finishing the year with a Merit grade."
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Football & Education Programme or who would like to apply to join the programme should please email email@example.com or call 01604 759864