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Football goals set for students

Bedford College Tower Block River View

Football’s coming home to Kempston thanks to a great new partnership between The Bedford College Group and Kempston Rovers FC at their home in Hillgrounds Leisure, Kempston.

An academy will be launched in time for the new season in September under which young men can combine academic studies at Bedford College in Cauldwell Street and playing football with the super squad at Kempston. An academy for young women will be launched in time for the 2024/25 season.

Said Cameron Mawer, Manager of the Kempston Rovers Academy:

“This is a great boost for football in the area and for our club. It will encourage newcomers into the sport and boost the game at grassroots level as we grow our own talent to support the squad.

“This partnership will see the academy go to the next level and continue to develop players in the local community.”

Gail Cocozza, a Vice Principal of The Bedford College Group, said:

“This relationship adds a new chapter to the long history we have at Bedford College of linking up with local football clubs to encourage young people to combine their sporting interests with study that leads to employer-recognised qualifications so ensuring that young people can pursue worthwhile careers alongside playing on the pitch.”

Staff members at Kempston Rovers Academy.

League Title

Kempston Rovers Academy has been running for two years and has already become a key element of the club with six players progressing to make club debuts, and two players attending Premier League trials. In this 2023/24 season the academy claimed its first ever league title, to add to it being 2022/23 District Cup winners.

Kempston Rovers Academy plays in the U19 Tactic league, the FA Youth Cup and the Youth National Under 23 League.

(Photo shows Gail Cocozza with left, Cameron Mawer and right, Steve Smith Head of Sport at Bedford College.)

A pioneering college

The Bedford College Group is the seventh largest college by income in the UK and now comprises Bedford College, Shuttleworth College, Tresham College and Central Bedfordshire College. Across these campuses, students undertake a wide variety of courses, including many which combine outdoor and sporting activities with gaining industry-required qualifications.

Bedford College pioneered a course combining football training with academic studies long before other colleges – which was applauded by the then Sports Minister Kate Hoey at the turn of the century. Since then Bedford College has supported football in Kempston by funding a hard surface pitch on one site and worked with leaders on the local football scene.

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