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You will experience between 8-10hrs per week of skills-based training from former elite footballers and professionals in the game.


Our highly experienced football coaches and staff share your passion for Sport and have been involved in the game at some of the highest achievable levels themselves - from players, to coaches and club managers. This places them in an unparalleled position to help students develop their skill, equip them with the right, positive attitude, and mind-set to overcome challenges and to teach them invaluable skills and qualities they can use throughout their lives. 

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Our advanced coaching programmes, both indoor and outdoor, cover strength and conditioning, technical, tactical, physical, psychological, and social development, and individual performance analysis. 

This is an unparalleled opportunity for students with a keen and active interest in football or sport more broadly. Be it as a relative beginner or as a former academy player capable of playing at semi-professional and elite levels. 

Our home ground is the YMCA Newark & Sherwood, Community & Activity Village. A state-of-the-art, £16 million pound sports development based in Newark boasting 3G and 4G football pitches. Students train here 4 days a week and play their home fixtures here also.

Training focuses on your personal performance and development, covering the following: 

Tailored strength and conditioning programme

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Speed and reaction 


Sports nutrition advice 

Technical, tactical, physical, psychological, and social development 

Performance analysis


Rehabilitation sessions including yoga and foam rolling

Competitive, league and non- league, match fixtures, home and away

Free match and training kit

Industry accredited awards - FA L1 coaching or refereeing

L3 Award in emergency first Aid

High-profile, guest coaches and speakers from across the sports industry

Tailored enrichment trips and workshops


Our football students have trained at St Georges Park, been guards of honour at a Stoke City match, had a tour of the Wembley Stadium, enjoyed a free style football workshop and received awards from Burnley FC manager, Sean Dyche. 

There are no fees to join the academy and we offer a travel bursary for students joining us from further afield. 


Designed to support your current club commitments and development as a player, our students play regular competitive matches, both home and away, as part of AoC Sport East Midlands Men’s Football Invitation B League. 

In addition to our own training programme, as part of an exclusive partnership with Nottingham Forest Community Trust, YCDS female students train with Nottingham Forest female students one day per week at The Forest Sports Zone. Through this collaboration our female students compete in the Community & Education Football Alliance (CEFA) and represent Nottingham Forest against other Premier League and English Football League clubs across the country. 


Our Football team deliver an unparalleled coaching experience having played, managed, and coached at the highest levels. Our UEFA qualified coaches include Gary Charles, Andy Reid, Ian McParland, and Paul Hart.

All YCDS coaches are enhanced DBS checked, safeguard trained and former elite athletes in their sport, with considerable youth coaching experience.


Gary Charles

Head Football Coach

Former England international and Head Football Coach, Gary Charles career as a skilled right-back saw him playing at the highest level for clubs including Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Derby County and West Ham and alongside legends including Roy Keane, Harry Redknapp and Brian Clough. 

Gary also has his own Sports Management Agency managing over 30 elite football players. 

Gary is the founder of GCSportsCare which provides advice and support for sports people who are experiencing a wide range of problems.

Key experience includes:​

UEFA A & B Licence

Called twice for England 

Nuneaton Town FC 1st Team Manager

Director of Football University of Nottingham

Assistant Manager Lincoln City FC 

Played for SL Benfica, in the Portuguese Premier League

Six years in player recruitment, at Burnley FC, Ipswich Town FC and Sunderland AFC 


Andy Reid

Assistant Football Coach

A talented midfielder, Andy began
his career at the Nottingham Forest Academy before going on to play for Tottenham Hotspur, Charlton Athletic, Sunderland and Blackpool.
Andy returned to play for Nottingham Forest in 2011.

Andy is currently Nottingham Forest U23 Head Coach.

Key experience includes:

UEFA A & B & Pro Licence

Former Head Coach Ireland U18

Over 500 professional appearances

44 International Caps for Ireland

2 x Nottingham Forest Player of the Year

Key Achievements:

Won Player of the Year at Nottingham Forest in 2003/04 and 2013/14
Part of the PFA Team of the Year in the seasons 2003/04 and 2013/14
Won the UEFA U16 Championship with the Republic of Ireland in 1998


Ian McParland

Assistant Football Coach

Ian has the UEFA A,B & Pro coaching licences meaning he is qualified to coach football at the highest levels of the game. 

Currently Ian is an International Football Scout for Aston Villa FC and features as a pundit on weekly football talk show 'Team Talk' on Notts TV.

Key experience includes:

Played professionally as a striker with a number of teams including Notts County 

Director of Nottingham Forest Academy

Coach to the Nottingham Forest 1st Team

Nottingham Forest Caretaker Manager

Manager of Notts County FC 1st Team

Assistant Manager to Roy Keane for Ipswich Town 1st Team, and later Caretaker Manager 

Key Achievements:


Named manager of the month for being the only unbeaten team whilst at Nottingham Forest 

Scored 90 goals in 266 appearances during just over seven years at Meadow Lane.


Paul Hart

Mentor Football Coach

Paul has UEFA A,B & Pro coaching licences meaning he is qualified to coach football at the highest levels of the game. 

Current First Team Coach, Luton Town FC.

Key experience includes:

Assistant Coach at Stoke City FC

Playing career as a defender includes Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Notts County

Manager for teams including Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers, Notts County and Swindon Town

Manager of Leeds United Academy Team winning the FA Youth Cup

Manager of Nottingham Forest Academy winning the U19s Title


Lee Esam

Assistant Football Coach

In the 90’s Lee worked as Lead Coach at Nottingham Forest in the Community where he took his coaching badges. Lee spent 4 and a half years at Carlton Town where he worked his way up to U21s & Academy Manager. Whilst in charge, the team finished runners up in his first season narrowly missing out to Ilkeston Town. The following season Lee became 1st Team Assistant Manager and was instrumental in the winning of the Senior County Cup beating Basford FC 4-1 in the final at Meadow Lane.


Additional experience includes:

Gedling Miners Welfare U19’s manager, helping them to their first ever league title.

1st team coach at Arnold Town for 1 season

Worked alongside Gary Charles at The University of Nottingham

Was appointed assistant manager of Newark town in the 20-21 season where they were on course for promotion until covid ended the season abruptly.

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Cameron Dobson

Volunteer Football Coach

Former YCDS football academy student, Class of 2020, graduating with 3 Distinction*

Cameron has his FA L1 Coaching Badge which he achieved during his time as a YCDS student. Cameron has been volunteering alongside Gary Charles since graduating and is now a student at Lincoln University studying Sports Development and Coaching. 


We host annual trials and open days for the Academy, which enable you to meet the team, see the facilities and enjoy a free coaching session. 

If you wish to attend one of those listed below, please click here to express your interest and confirm your attendance. 

YCDS Football Academy Trial! 
28th March, 4.30-6pm


“I’ve had over 25 years’ involvement in football youth development working with players who have gone on to have top careers, including internationals like Harry Kewell, Jonathan Woodgate, Jermaine Jenas and Andy Reid. All the way through their development I emphasised the importance of combining their football with learning. The two have to work parallel with each other for young sportsmen to develop as players and people, and this programme is as impressive as I have seen for the educational side of that process while the standard of coaching and the sessions that will be delivered are of the highest standard. Anybody that joins the YCDS Academy will be challenged both on the pitch and off it, but in a way that they’ll enjoy and greatly benefit from.” 

Paul Hart, First team Coach Luton Town FC

"Orlando City SC are always delighted to support initiatives like You Can Do Sport’s Football Academy which aim to help young people gain a well-rounded understanding of the sporting industry and hopefully open doors to a wealth of career paths for them.
Offering students local access to such a hugely beneficial programme helps to break down barriers to participation and keep young people’s aspirations alive. On behalf of Orlando City, I look forward to seeing the Academy evolve and will be keeping an eye out for any budding talents! We hope to welcome some of your players to Orlando in the future as our guests - or maybe we can help to continue their development via one of our UCFB degree opportunities. Best of luck to you all!

John Bonner, Director and Owner, Orlando City SC

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