Velocity Football student Billie makes Oxford United squad

Velocity Football student Billie French had an Easter break to remember after she was included in Liam Gilbert’s 20-strong Oxford United Women’s squad for the club’s FA Cup third and fourth round ties against Billericay and Charlton.

Billie, who plays as a striker, was an unused substitute in both fixtures as United beat Billericay 3-1 at the Velocity Stadium before bravely bowing out of the competition at the hands of Charlton a week later.

The 17-year-old is currently studying Velocity Football’s full-time Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport course delivered in partnership with Virtual Learning UK.

The two-year course is worth up to three A-Levels and is designed for young people with ambitions to fulfil a career in sport. Units covered include health, wellbeing and sport, sports development, sports psychology, applied coaching skills and developing coaching skills.

United captain Lauren Haynes is Head Coach for Velocity Football’s female programme and delivers training and classroom-based sessions to students with Aliyah Anthony, who represents Cheshunt FC.

Billie said: “It was brilliant to be part United Women’s squad during the Easter break, it was an experience I won’t forget and I’m thrilled we were able to win.

“Since enrolling with the Velocity Football programme, my playing ability has reached new levels because of daily training sessions and combining that with my studies. We have got an amazing group of coaches and students, and we encourage each other to push boundaries both on the pitch and in the classroom. 

“I hope this is just the start of my development as one day I would love to play professionally.”  

Billie’s involvement with Oxford United Women’s first team is one of several examples of Velocity students that have gained senior first-team experience this season.

In October, Ethan Gough was Oxford City’s back-up goalkeeper during their outstanding FA Cup run while Tyan Hawkins, Luke Stokoe and Dan Stokoe all regularly train with the club’s first team via the programme’s dedicated player pathway.

Lauren Haynes said: “Supporting students on our development pathway is a significant part of the philosophy at Velocity Football. So, I was particularly proud during Easter as the team welcomed Billie into the dressing room.

“Billie has worked extremely hard during her time at Velocity and her inclusion in the matchday squad was thoroughly deserved. It’s our ambition to provide young people with the opportunities to reach their full potential by supporting their aspirations in and outside of the classroom.”

Spaces on next year’s Velocity Football programme remain open to male and females aged 16 to 23. Entry requirements for the programme’s Level Two and Three programmes are four GCSEs including English and Maths.

English and Maths lessons and exams are compulsory for students allowed onto the programme with grades three and below. Spaces on the Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND) courses are also available.

For further information, please email our friendly team via courses@ignitesportuk.com or call 0300 303 0809.

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