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l to r:  Cllr Michael Mordey, deputy leader Sunderland City Council with Mark Rutter of Fast Feet.

Fast Feet Football Academy kicks off UK-wide franchising

Sunderland-based Fast Feet football academy is opening up opportunities for passionate coaches who would like football to be their career through a nationwide franchise, to bring Fast Feet skills to youngsters across all parts of the UK and beyond.

Fast Feet is now in its seventh year and has built a strong reputation for the quality and success of its work.

Currently around 300 youngsters, from three to 16 years old, are learning about the 130 skills and techniques taught at Fast Feet each week. Many hundreds more have built their confidence and technical skills since Fast Feet first opened its doors.

Owned and led by Mark Rutter, the football academy has 12 staff, and Mark believes the time is right for expansion through franchises.

He said: “We want to deliver our brand in areas we can’t at the moment.  We’re looking for experienced, passionate coaches who may have a footballing background or may be coaches already.

“We’ve seen the difference Fast Feet has had on the confidence, ability and future career prospects of youngsters taking part in our programmes. Because we welcome all abilities, from beginners to advanced, and all age groups from pre-school to 16-year olds, we’re offering a unique package of skills and coaching at Fast Feet.

“We’ll guide each franchisee through our programmes and help them with setting up the business – I did it myself and I’m aware of the challenges in starting a business.  It’s good that we can pass on our own experience to other coaches who are equally enthusiastic about football training.”

Mark has appointed a franchise director, and staff headcount will continue to rise at Sunderland because of the continuing support franchisees will need.

Fast Feet is based at Evolve Business Centre, Houghton-le-Spring, owned by Sunderland City Council. Mark said: “Evolve is an excellent base.  It is central, coaches and staff can easily get to us, and the Evolve staff are superb, really helping us to get on with our business.”

Fast Feet has grown steadily since it was set up.  The growth has all been word-of-mouth, and has led to youngsters coming from Darlington, Hartlepool and Northallerton to take part in coaching at Fast Feet venues in Chester-le-Street and across South Tyneside.

Success stories abound for past students of Fast Feet. Over 50 students are in and have been in professional academies between the ages of seven to 16. Two now have junior contracts at NUFC and Hartlepool, and another is a member of the England under-19 Futsal team and represents Newcastle Futsal Club in the FA National Futsal League.

More girls are taking part in Fast Feet coaching, and the academy offers girls’ only and mixed sessions, to suit the individual. Former student Bethany Middlemas is now a member of the Durham Wildcats under-19 squad.

Cllr Michael Mordey, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see not only the success of Fast Feet but also the success of its students. In nurturing their talents, Fast Feet has built a strong reputation which will make a real difference to the skills and ambitions of many more young people across the country through its franchises.

“Thriving businesses such as Fast Feet which grow in Sunderland then branch out are a great testimony to the city as a base for successful investment. I hope Fast Feet’s future franchisees get the same great results from the outset.”

Find out more about Fast Feet franchises at www.fastfeetfa.com. Find out more about investing in Sunderland at www.makeitsunderland.com.