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 SPORTS students have been offered a new goal which could open career opportunities around the globe.

FA Youth Coach educator Lewis Dickman was on hand to launch the coaching qualification, which will be delivered by the Martin Gray Football Academy at Darlington College.

Around 55 students on the BTEC sports course heard how his professional football career was cut short by hip and back injuries at the age of just 18.

But coaching had allowed him to build a successful career in football which had taken him around the world.

“Whether you work at a grassroots level or internationally you will need a coaching qualification – even Gareth Southgate had to gain one,” Mr Dickman told students.

“I thought my career was over but I was put through my coaching and invited to deliver sessions at Sunderland FC where my brother played. I got my UEFA qualification and worked in Oman, which was an amazing experience.”

Since then, he has worked with players including Liverpool and England midfielder Jordan Henderson and at clubs including Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Carlisle, York and Hartlepool.