Focus on: Shadow Youth Team

Focus on: Shadow Youth Team

The Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team is a combined football and academia programme delivered in partnership between Burnley FC in the Community and Nelson and Colne College.

The programme offers talented young football players between the ages of 16 and 18 access to daily football training sessions which are designed to improve the players technical, tactical, physical and social development. Simultaneously, students receive a quality education delivered by the Nelson Group.

Launching in 2015, the programme’s initial cohort was 30 male players. Fast forward to 2020 and 102 male players now form the Shadow Youth Team, alongside 18 female players who now make up the Post 16 Girls’ Academy.

Though students are currently continuing their studies safe from home whilst Government restrictions are in place during lockdown, plans for the programme to expand both the Shadow Youth Team and the Post 16 Girls’ Academy remain in place from September 2020. Both programmes will now run from two campuses –Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College (which is now part of the Nelson and Colne College Group).

So why consider the Shadow Youth Team? Here are just a few success stories from this season to date:

Mo Sangare

“I was waking up at five o’clock to get a bus to Burnley which wasn’t easy, but in the back of my mind, I knew that it would all be worth it in the end.

“The coaches helped turn my hopes and dreams into a reality.”

The Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team graduate has gone on to sign a professional contract and play international football for his country, Liberia. 

Sam Oluwabiyi

“I’m becoming a better person and a better player.”

Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team midfielder Sam has been successful in being selected for the National Football Youth League All Star team.

The National Football Youth League bridges the gap between club’s academies and college football.

Players selected for Lancashire Schools FA team

The following Shadow Youth Team players were successful in being selected ahead of hundreds of other players to represent the Lancashire Schools FA team; Sam Oluwabiyi, Sam Anuniru, Isaac Abankwah, Patrick Baynes, Ben Parkinson, James Catlow, Cuan Bradley, Callum Hadfield and Jack Oliver.

States awaits

Three Shadow Youth Team players have already secured a soccer scholarship in the USA.

The players will head out to America in the summer to start a four-year degree that will allow them to play football in front of hundreds of spectators every week.

The Shadow Youth Team and Post 16 Girls’ Academy coaches will soon be searching for the next group of talented players to join them in September.

Want to find out more about the Shadow Youth Team and upcoming trials?*

Please contact Head Coach Chris Andrews at or Assistant Head Coach Nathan Mottram on

Find out more about trials here:

*Subject to Government guidelines.