108 further education and sixth form college student footballers with learning disabilities will be heading to the AoC Sport National Championships this month, for the largest annual college sport event in the UK.
The National Championships are the pinnacle of the college sport year, with students representing their region as they battle to win the Wilkinson Sword Trophy.
This year’s event will be held in Nottingham, with the LD football tournament taking place at the University of Nottingham’s David Ross Sports Village from 21-23 April.
The 2016 LD football title was won by Moulton College, representing the East Midlands, while Yorkshire and Humber’s Shipley College finished with the silver medal ahead of Sandwell College from the West Midlands.
Nine colleges will be taking part in this year’s tournament, including last year’s silver medallists, in what is already gearing up to be an extremely competitive field.
AoC Sport National Football Development Manager, Lauren O’Sullivan, said: “It will be brilliant to see so many students with learning disabilities competing on such a big stage at the AoC Sport National Championships.
“Through ECFA, AoC Sport is committed to growing disability football, and we will be revealing some significant targets in this area in our forthcoming strategy.
“I’m sure the players heading to Nottingham will take great pride in representing their colleges and regions. Those who have competed in previous years have certainly found it to be a rewarding and memorable experience, so good luck to all the players and enjoy the occasion.”
Newcastle College’s LD football team will be representing the North East for the second year running.
Transition and Access Support Officer, Ian Brown, said: “Newcastle College footballers are immensely proud to represent their region at such a prestigious national competition.
“The boys clearly have a winning mentality, but good sportsmanship is at the forefront of their ethos. It is their aim to be recognized as true North East champions on the national stage for ability, teamwork, sportsmanship, and behaviour.”
Now entering their 39th year, the National Championships are a celebration of competitive sport in colleges, providing recognition, enjoyment and a unique opportunity for students to compete. More than 1,800 students are set to compete across 13 different sports in Nottingham.
For more information about AoC Sport, please visit www.aocsport.co.uk.