A former Premier League footballer is to help young people achieve their goals by launching a football academy in County Durham.

Former England, Sunderland and Spurs player Jermain Defoe has teamed up with East Durham College in Peterlee on the new venture.

He has pledged to bring together the highest standards in sports academia and football training for 16 to 18-year-olds in the region.

The Jermain Defoe Football Academy will launch in September 2024 and aims to provide students, both male and female, with the opportunity to develop their football talent and to thrive academically with tuition from highly experienced sport lecturers at the college.

The Northern Echo: Jermain with students at East Durham College Jermain with students at East Durham College (Image: Contributor)Jermain said: “This new academy is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

“I’ve been really lucky to have an amazing career in football and now it’s all about giving back to the next generation for me.

“The academy will give students who love football opportunities they could only dream of, training with some of the best coaches in the area.

“EDC is the place for college football training in the North East.”

On the pitch, students will develop their skills through regular training with UEFA-licensed coaches, including former Sunderland AFC defender Darren Holloway and special sessions with Jermain.

Students will also get access to a range of other benefits, including performance video analysis, onsite physiotherapy, strength and conditioning training and the opportunity to compete in regional leagues and national cup competitions.

Off the pitch, students will study on a Sports Coaching and Development Level 2 or Level 3 programme designed to develop academic, leadership and employability skills.

This programme will provide real working environments and opportunities for students to progress to higher education, apprenticeships, full-time employment and US scholarship pathways.

Jermain has been working with the college and the Bradley Lowery Foundation for some time offering holiday football camps for local young children through the ‘Winnrs Camp’.

These camps are always extremely well-attended and are also supported by the sport lecturing team and sports students from East Durham College.

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Jermain added: “The facilities at East Durham College are absolutely amazing for anyone interested in sport.

“They’ve got some of the best grass pitches in the region, a full-size floodlit 3G pitch, double-size sports hall and their own on-site gym.

“What more could someone interested in sport ask for?”

The Northern Echo:

Chris English, curriculum director of Professional Studies at East Durham College, is thrilled to be working with Jermain and to welcome the new academy to the college.

He said: “While the college has always had an incredible football offer, this new partnership with Jermain will help take the college to new heights.

“We want EDC to become the premier place for football training in the area, and with this new Jermain Defoe Football Academy, we know it’s going to happen.”