Grassroots: Balby footballers are top of the class

Year 12 and 13 Boys and Girls football teams at Balby Carr Sports College. Picture: Andrew Roe
Year 12 and 13 Boys and Girls football teams at Balby Carr Sports College. Picture: Andrew Roe

If there’s one thing Balby Carr Community Sports College knows how to do - it’s score results.

For the school’s budding group of footballers have been hitting the headlines over the past few seasons thanks to a bulging trophy cabinet and a scholarship programme sending gifted players across to America to fulfil their sporting dream.

As it stands this season, Balby’s girls team - made up of year 12s and 13s, are currently unbeaten in their Women’s Category One Premier League after six games - netting 42 times and conceding just twice.

Balby’s year 12 boys team are also proving a tough force to move in the ECFA, with a perfect record from six games and 42 goals rifled in.

The boys’ year 13s record is nothing to be sniffed at either with just two defeats from their opening eight games.

It’s clear Balby, who are four-time Doncaster Schools Boys champions and four-time Girls ESFA Trophy as well as current ESFA Play-Off Cup holders, are striving for perfection on the football field, but there’s also plenty of hard work being done off of it.

The College offers post-16 footballers the chance to train and play - but only if they do well in their studies.

This style of practical learning has seen the Doncaster college reap the rewards with several players using the set-up to help them make the successful transition to America to pursue sports careers.

“We try to offer these players the chance to get an all-round experience of football so they know that as well as getting the practical side right, they need to be doing well in their studies too,” said girls coach John Buckley who is part of a team alongside Steve Spittlehouse, Duncan Milligan and Joe Leesley.

“Balby’s a first class set-up and is improving all of the time.

“We’ve just had several year 13s go to America and we have plenty of interest from youth academies. We will always try and shape these footballers so that they are the best players they can be.”

Some of Balby’s most notable performers have included Scott Bentley - the first boy to obtain a Scholarship from Balby Academy of Sport - and Ashleigh Mills who represents the England U19s and Doncaster Belles and was crowned the Doncaster Free Press Junior Sports Personality this year.

As part of the football programme, students have the chance to take up FA coaching and UEFA B qualifications.

The Weston Road-based college also offers links with Doncaster Rovers, the Belles, Sheffield United Centre of Excellence and the town’s Nuffield Health Gym.

Blackpool FC goalkeeping coach Paul Crichton also comes to the facility to offer sessions as does Belles and former England international Sue Smith.

Balby will be holding an opening evening on November 20, at 5.45pm, at its facility for players interested in joining.

They will also be holding football trials on December 1.