Two members of Derby County’s first team squad - wing-back Joe Ward and goalkeeper Scott Loach - visited the brand-new facilities at the Racecourse Hub in Derby on Thursday afternoon.

They met the 16–19-year-old students who study on Derby County Community Trust’s Football and Education course at the venue.

The course combines multiple academic study options with the opportunity to train and play competitive football as part of the EFL’s Community Education Football Alliance leagues.

The group of students asked the players questions about their careers and their own journeys into football, along with quizzing them about their past and current sides and team-mates.

Ward said: “The facilities that are here are incredible and it’s a brilliant opportunity for young people to get to study where they can train too. I studied in a similar way and it’s great to see the courses that are on offer locally.”

Loach said: “It’s great to meet youngsters out in the community and it’s a really good way to link football with education. I’ve always said that you don’t ever know where the next opportunity might come for you within the game, so studying alongside playing is a great way for them to keep all their options open.”

Derby County Community Trust’s Football and Education project runs across various partner sites in Derbyshire, and alongside the Racecourse Hub the course is delivered at Buxton and Leek College, University of Derby, Friesland School, Lees Brook Academy and Derby Moor Academy.

Dependent on venue, students can choose a number of academic pathways, including Level 2 and Level 3 Sports qualifications, A-Levels, and from September 2024 there will be vocational courses on offer too.

Alongside their academic choices, learners will train up to four times per week and play competitive football against other Club Community Organisation sides each Wednesday.

To find out more about the Football and Education course, please head to