College Partnership players talk about work and football in new Youth Alliance teamsEarlier this year Brentford’s Academy, in association with West Thames College, began a new partnership designed to help get 16-19 year old’s back into football.
Around 40 boys are enrolled on the programme which sees them train three times a week, attend college twice a week and play games in the Football Conference Youth Alliance on Wednesday.
Bees Player caught up with four of the boys at a recent training session to find out what life is like on the College Partnership.
How did you get involved in the College Partnership?
Central Midfielder Brayant Toro: “My family live in America.
“There was a chance for me to come over.
“There were some Brentford Academy trials that I went to in June and from that they offered me the college programme.”
16-year-old Daniel Wheeler: “My friends told me about the course.
“Originally I was already going somewhere else but then that broke down.
“I chose to come here because I support Brentford and I thought why not come for it.
“I played really well in the trial and I got in.
Terence Vancooten: “I was playing with Leatherhead Youth in the West Surrey Under-16s league.
“I had a game against MPL and I played really well.
“Someone got in touch with my manager and through that my manager asked me to go down for a trial at Jersey Road.
Brentford Griffins Captain George Ademiluyi: “I used to play for an Under-21s team.
“After I left I went to my brother’s agent and he said I should try and get back into Under-21s football.
“He sent me to AFC Wimbledon and they invited me to come back although they said they wouldn’t offer me anything.
“Then I went to Cambridge United but they already had their squad.
“I went to the Open Day Trial here.
“I was open minded and trying to get in and then Azeez told me I was one of the six who got picked and that was my journey here.”
How has the footballing side of your game improved with the Youth Alliance team?
Daniel Wheeler: “We are always being given information about how we can improve our game and that has made me a better player over the time that I have been here.
George Ademiluyi: “If none of the Academy managers can come to watch our games will be recorded.
“The Academy managers will talk about the players here.
“If a position needs to be filled then one of us could be called up to play.”
Away from the football side of the programme what is involved in the course? How important is it to get qualifications away from football?
George Ademiluyi: “We do analysis and we look at other players which benefits our football as well.
“We do anatomy, health and nutrition and fitness training as well.
“The fact that was can still go to college and get an education helps us.
“Not everyone can make it in football and football is not for everyone.
“Having college gives us a backup plan and it really benefits us as players as well.
Brayant Toro: “The programme keeps me busy but it is also an opportunity for me to be seen.
“I am very motivated being here because I know every day is a learning day.”
Daniel Wheeler: “It is a good set-up because they tell us straight away that you have to get the work done if you want to complete.
“If you want a high mark and want to go to university then you need to work hard.”