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Club Legend inspires new college students

18th Sept 2023

James Constable, or ‘Beano’ as Oxford Utd fans know him, has returned to the club as Head of Player Care. He reminds us that he only started playing football seriously when he left school and joined a college football programme.

James netted more than 100 goals for Oxford Utd and became a club legend when he scored at Wembley to help secure Oxford’s return to the Football League. His new role allows him to share his professional football experiences with young players as they follow a similar path to him.

James left school at 16 and was desperate to become a professional footballer. “The chances of joining an Academy were slim at my age as they were taking on younger players” said James. “So for me, joining college was an opportunity to get into football and combine it with education, which is something I’ve always been a believer of throughout my career.”

James welcomed Abingdon & Witney College’s new students onto the ‘Oxford United’s Advanced Football Programme’ last week and reminded them that it’s important to recognise the importance of education alongside playing football. “Part of it is going to be the enjoyment of playing football being around these fantastic facilities” said James, “but we're going to need a little bit of help from you on the college side, making sure you're up to date with everything and giving yourself the best chance to be successful”

Run in partnership with Abingdon & Witney College, Oxford United's Advanced Football Programme has been designed to provide 16–18-year-olds with an amazing opportunity. Not only can they continue their education and study for a recognised sports qualification, but they will do so whilst training with Oxford United’s UEFA B Qualified coaches in their £4.9m sports complex in Oxford. This partnership means talented and aspiring players no longer need to have to choose between football and academic development, they can do both.

It’s not too late to join us this year! If this sounds exciting and you would like to sign up, or find out more, then check out our website or drop in and see us at our Abingdon campus.