Students Staff

22 December 2011

Goal in sight

Colchester Campus

Colchester United Football Club and the University of Essex have teamed up to examine the success of football academies in an innovative project.
Sports science graduate Mark Maher is completing his Masters through working with the local football club for a year to study the benefits of the club’s academy based at Thurstable School in Tiptree. This newly launched academy aims at attracting talented footballers to the school, who, as well as taking part in lessons, benefit from 15 hours of football coaching from the club each week.
Studying the footballers, aged from 11 upwards, Mark will monitor their fitness and psychological skills to see if this intensive level of coaching reaps rewards for the students and the club. He is also working with the club’s coaches on player fitness. His University tuition fees are being paid for by the football club and he has also received funding from the University’s internship programme.
Dave Parry, Manager of the University’s Human Performance Unit, said: “It is the first time a football club has sponsored a Masters student. This is a very interesting project from a scientific point of view. We are looking at talent development in football but also at opportunities for the students at Essex to work at this level.”
Dave Carolan, Colchester United’s Sports Scientist and Fitness coach, said:"This adds to our continuously developing relationship with the University, which we hope lasts a long time into the future.
"Mark spends the majority of his time embedded with the Thurstable programme as well as adding support to the work that we do with the scholars and the first team and he is gaining an intimate knowledge of applied sports science at a professional club."For further information please contact the University of Essex’s Communications Office on 01206 872400 or e-mail Or Matt Hudson at Colchester United Football Club on 01206 755146 or e-mail

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