New College duo making tracks in football careers

Ezra Pickles and Aleksandrs Starcenko, who both study BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport at New College Pontefract, are beginning on their journeys towards careers in the elite footballing world.

Ezra has recently completed his FA Level 1 coaching certificate after volunteering at the A1 Football Factory in Knotttingley. Ezra began playing there on a weekly basis at the age of 14. When he turned 16 he was asked to join in with the training sessions.

“I really enjoyed shadowing the coaches.” Ezra said, “so I decided to book myself onto the FA Level 1 Coaching course at Glasshoughton Football Club.” “It provides me with a potential career path in football coaching and I would be really interested in coaching abroad. I would like to thank Scott Rogan, George Conway and Jordan Dooley from the A1 Football Factory who provided me with lots of tips and advice on training drills during my time assisting with the coaching sessions.”

Ezra is now involved with the Football Association’s new initiative for 2017, SSE Wildcats, designed to inspire girls aged between 5-11 to be involved in the sport. The scheme will offer more opportunities for students to gain FA Level 1 coaching accreditation as well as offering placements.

Simon Fletcher, of the A1 Football Factory said “Ezra started as a player in our academy when we opened in 2014. He has shown a fantastic attitude throughout and over the past year has volunteered, throughout his GCSE year, as a support to our coaches in holiday camps, evening and weekend coaching sessions along with football parties.”

Alex has recently been awarded a second round trial at Oldham Athletic after being recommended by first team star Paul Green, who is also the New College Pontefract First Team Coach and co-owner of the A1 Football Factory. Paul said “Alex showed a lot of potential in his trial for the college football team, where he plays in centre midfield and he has the potential to break into a football league club.” He is now in the first team squad at Frickley Athletic, who play in the Northern Premier League. He also competed for a place on the Doncaster Rovers scholarship programme.

Alex (left) and Ezra (right) at one of their gym sessions during college