A link between City College Brighton and Hove and Whitehawk FC which was originally forged in the 2013-2014 season, has since developed into a highly significant partnership. The Hawks’ Under 18s team, currently top of the Ryman Youth League South Division, is managed by City College’s Sport Lecturer Jude Macdonald and features no less than eight City College footballers in its squad. Assistant Coach to Jude is former student (and Argus Youth in Action Awards Sports Person of the Year 2015 winner) Harry Shooman, now studying Sports Coaching & Development at the University of Brighton. Meanwhile, City College’s 1st XI have won both their league fixtures and the College’s 2nd XI are in the semi final of the 2nd XI County Cup and also 3rd in the league.
'With the City College East campus being in Whitehawk it's really important and constructive that we tap into the community and link up with its local club,' says Jude. 'As well as the competitive experience, it's also been great for our students to enjoy Whitehawk's new found fame during the FA Cup run, and the club has been giving back to the community by offering its boys academic opportunities at the College. The partnership between the College and the club took time to prove its worth and initially the Under 18s team was struggling for results but from Whitehawk’s side of things, we’ve attracted players from the College that we’ve seen a real progression in and our position in the league speaks for itself.'
The City College-Whitehawk FC connection
Jude’s role at Whitehawk FC is performed on a voluntary basis on top of his responsibilities at the College but he feels that it is a more than worthwhile endeavour:
'Players like James Seltzer, Marco Lincoln and Lucas Rodrigues (currently top scorer in the league and training with the senior team) have been involved from the start and all are now ready to make the transition to men's football - something which was not an option at the beginning of this process. From the College’s perspective, we’ve been able to attract high calibre students who have come here specifically for the football and this is beneficial to the whole Sports department. From a personal perspective, I’ve also have the privilege of working alongside great people at the club such as Mark Seltzer and Fred Moore and previously Sami El-Abd before he moved on to a new role at Albion in the Community.'
Captain of both the College team and Whitehawk Under 18s is James Seltzer, who adds: 'Having players who are in both the College team and in Whitehawk Under 18s enables us to be effective for both teams in consistent ways. On top of playing youth football at a semi-professional level at Whitehawk, studying for the Sports BTEC award at the College will help us to pursue careers in sport. For instance, I’m planning to be a PE teacher and I know of other students who are interested in that path too, as well as other careers such as becoming personal trainers.'
'The link between City College and Whitehawk FC has seen the club’s Under 18 side come on leaps and bounds, especially when you consider that the club had to withdraw their Youth team just a few seasons ago due to lack of interest,' says Whitehawk FC’s Manager, Steve King. 'The attraction of football at a good standard has seen the side match the 1st team’s progression on the pitch. The partnership has proved to be a great success, with several players from the Under 18s coming to support the first team this season and show their commitment to the club. Seeing some of these players on the bench for the 1st Team recently shows they have come a long way in a short space of time.'