Following a successful trial in Worcester last month, Middlesbrough College student Billy Merifield has been selected for the England College’s Under 18’s men’s hockey squad.
Billy will be representing England amongst other top young hockey players in the country and will feature against other nations in competitive matches next year.
The talented 16-year-old, who is studying Level 3 Public Services at the College said: “I’m really excited about representing England as a member of the under 18’s hockey squad. I was put forward for the trial by the head of our Sports Academies, Samantha Leigh, and I was thrilled when I found out I had been selected.
“I’ve been playing hockey for 7 years and I currently play for Stockton hockey club and Durham talent academy. I also play Volleyball for the College and have joined the dedicated Sports Academy which I’m really enjoying. As part of the academy, we compete in competitions, league matches and receive professional coaching too. I would recommend joining a sports academy at the College if you have a passion for sport and want to develop as an athlete.”
Middlesbrough College is leading the way with supporting talented athletes in education in England, having been recently accredited by an innovative Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) initiative. The Sport England-backed programme supports young sportspeople on the talent pathway to have the opportunity to gain qualifications alongside their sporting pursuits, follow other interests, as well as further their personal development.
To achieve the accreditation, the College was assessed based on the ability to support talented athletes with their academic studies. The Dual Career Accreditation Scheme acknowledges an enhanced level of academic flexibility and understanding that Middlesbrough College offer, allowing talented athletes, like Billy, to balance their studies with a hectic sporting schedule.
Billy said: “Middlesbrough College have been so supportive of me and have helped me to balance my sporting commitments with my academic work. I was allowed the day off College to attend the England hockey trials and was given flexibility with my coursework deadlines.
“My tutors have supported me, and I’m grateful for their understanding. I feel valued both as a student and as an athlete. I’m so glad I decided to come to Middlesbrough College after leaving secondary school, it’s a great choice, especially if you enjoy sport and want to continue competing and performing at a high level.”
The former Eaglescliffe School student will take part in a training camp at Lindum HC, Lincolnshire in February 2024 before competing against the other nations.