LOUGHBOROUGH has been chosen as the base for one of the biggest sport brands in the world to host an academy for potential professional footballers.
The previously-nomadic Nike Academy is a full time squad of U20 players who have been selected to train together and play against numerous teams from the academies of professional clubs.
They hope the players will impress professional clubs enough to take them on themselves – which has already happened to graduates Ryan James at Oxford United and Tom Collins at Stevenage Borough.
The 22 players in the Academy are from across the UK, and for the first time are joined by international team mates from Belgium, France, South Africa, Ghana, Korea and Australia.
Many have been on the books of professional clubs including, Tottenham Hotspur, Peterborough United and Watford but have been released. The Academy is being seen as the way to get them back into the game.