ESM Football Academy celebrates 15 years in Dubai with new partnerships.
Dubai’s ESM Football Academy is celebrating 15 years of giving young aspiring players a kickstart in their favourite game by announcing a new partnership with United Sports USA — the experts in American Sports Scholarships — and appointing a new Director of Football leading the charge from January 2019. Sonny Cobbs, a former Brighton and Hove Albion player and fully qualified and licensed UEFA B coach, has taken up the role as the new Director of Football. Sonny has coached teams in both England and the Middle East and has more than seven years’ experience coaching professional football. His vision for the ESM Football Academy is to increase opportunities for talented young players in the UAE to play professionally.
Paul Lightbody, Commercial Director at ESM, is excited about Sonny Cobbs leading the development operations at the academy. “ESM is delighted to welcome Sonny to our team,” he said. “He brings a wealth of experiences, which coupled with his high energy, enthusiasm and passion for football will definitely benefit the development of players at ESM Football Academy. Sonny has a developed a programme that is inclusive and progressive that will coach young footballers the fundamentals of the game ensuring they always have fun.”
ESM Football Academy has also partnered with United Sports USA, to host US scholarship assessment events for youth footballers in the UAE. Players aged between 15-18, that demonstrate exceptional talent at the scholarship events, will progress to an academic assessment stage to understand their educational performance. Should the student meet both academic and athletic requirements then they will be offered the opportunity to join the programme and have the team from United Sports USA seek out funded scholarship courses at Universities across the USA. “The partnership with USU provides a structured environment and affords our young footballers a clear pathway to combine their academics and football skills,” says Sonny. “US scholarships are a fantastic way to progress from talented players into professional athletes and we look forward to announcing the first student to be accepted on a scholarship by working with United Sports USA, which has an impeccable record.”
The ESM Football Academy is one of the leading football academies in the UAE, and in 2015, celebrated its 11th successful year of operations. The top choice among Dubai parents’, the academy trains more than 7,000 youth academy players and school programme players each season. The Academy was awarded Best Sports Youth Academy, Best Sports Development Programme and Best Sport Event at the prestigious Sports Industry Awards, which recognise outstanding achievements of the sporting industry in the Middle East.