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Fitness testing for Glyndŵr football academy players

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Professional footballers from a university academy have been taking time out before lectures to check on their fitness levels.

Scholars from the Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy undertook a series of physical challenges at Glyndŵr University’s sports centre.

The tests are conducted bi-monthly by the university’s sport and exercise sciences department to check on progress and set fitness targets for the players, who are registered as squad members for Wrexham FC while studying for a degree.

A system called Optojump was used to test players’ leg power, with weight checks, 10m and 30m sprints and a Yo-Yo endurance test completing the set of exercises.

The players are studying on a range of degree courses, including BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences, business and mechanical engineering.

Colin Hill, senior lecturer in Sport and Exercise Sciences, oversaw the testing carried out by second-year sport and exercise science students.

He said: “The testing and sport science support is part of Glyndŵr University’s partnership with Wrexham FC which has been growing year-on-year.

“We already provide fitness testing for Wrexham FC’s first team squad and have expanded this to include academy players.

“It gives our current students hands-on, practical experience of sport science testing and for the players and academy managers an opportunity to measure their progress.”

It was revealed last month that up to 50 professional footballers have made requests to join the Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy next season.

Several of the current squad are on the verge of breaking into Wrexham FC’s first team, and the rest appear regularly for sides in the Huws Gray Alliance, Welsh Premier and Vanarama Conference North leagues.

Supported by ambassadors Michael Owen, Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor, the GWFA allows players to study for a degree at Glyndŵr University while training and playing for the Dragons or a feeder club.

With the backing of the Professional Football Association (PFA) and support from the League Football Education (LFE), the Academy has provided them with a unique educational strategy whilst still playing and training within a full time professional football environment.

Former Liverpool and Wrexham FC player Lee Jones said: “I think the Academy has been a major success”.

“If you’d have told me a year ago that we’d have had a couple of players on the verge of Wrexham’s first team, having been on the bench and in the squad then I’d have been very surprised.”

For more information, and for players wanting to find out if they meet the criteria to join the Academy, email football@glyndwr.ac.uk

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