Three Sunderland College student-athletes are travelling across Europe to represent England national teams.

Louis Burns, James Sloan and Emily Cassap are part of the college’s Sports Academies, but are all studying vastly different subjects as part of their dual career pathways.

For Emily, she is part of the Sunderland AFC Professional Game Academy (PGA) alongside studying A-Levels, while both Louis and James play for South Shields FC’s Football Academy while studying Electrical Installation, and A-Level Mathematics and Sports Coaching respectively.

Michele Di Mascio, Head of Sports Academies, Partnerships and Wellbeing said: “Louis, Emily and James have been fantastic student-athletes this year and have really highlighted our willingness to have a real dual-career approach.

“All of our Sports Academy student-athletes have the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects, and this summarises what we are all about. The College have shown commitment to support but they have shown commitment to ensure they prioritise both parts of their programme.

“Their sporting achievements are sensational, and we are all extremely proud to see them flourish. Representing your country is an outstanding achievement and one that they will never forget.”

As part of the Three Lions squads, Louis has recently been to Italy, James has played Northern Ireland in an international fixture and Emily is to travel to Sweden to represent the Lionesses in the European Championships this summer.

James was selected for England Schoolboys at the start of the 2023-24 season and has played in games against Northern Ireland and Wales, with the Wales fixture being live on Channel 4 recently.

The joint achievement of making his first team debut alongside representing his country, live on TV, has been sensational.

James said: “Representing England is a great achievement, and I’ve got to play internationally which has always been a dream of mine.

“Being a student athlete is hugely beneficial for me, because I’m able to go to training when I need to and next season, I’m hoping to get my first professional contract with South Shields and the college has helped me get there.”

Louis was selected for England Colleges at the start of 2023/24 and is currently completing his first year as a South Shields FC Academy player, which has led to plenty of opportunities both inside and outside of football.

Louis said: “I’m very proud to have the opportunity to represent England and play internationally. I’ve had some great experiences and met some great people.

“As a student athlete, you can fit college, education and football into one, so I’ve got two different pathways to be able to follow.”

Emily has been an outstanding student-athlete throughout her time at Sunderland College, representing England under 17’s in several squads all year whilst also staying on top of her A-Levels and remaining on course to achieve high grades. Emily has travelled with England under 17’s both at home and abroad, gaining some fantastic experiences along the way and is hoping to be selected for England under 17’s for the European Championships in May 2024.

Emily added: “I feel so proud I’m able to play internationally as it’s a big achievement and I always look forward to doing it.

“Through the college, I get the opportunity to balance my education and football, giving me the ability to do both things as they’re both equally as important to me.”

With the three student-athletes all study different areas, it emphasises the college’s dual career approach and mapping across to EPNE’s strategy and goals.

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