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Hartpury players line up for FA Cup

Three generations of Hartpury football team captains will play in the first round of the FA Cup for their external teams, when it gets underway tomorrow (November 5).

Their appearances in the Emirates FA Cup are another endorsement for Hartpury University and Hartpury College's football academy, which provides students with coaching and support alongside their studies.

Spencer Hamilton will captain Chippenham Town FC when they face Lincoln tomorrow. Spencer, who is currently head football coach for Hartpury College and a Hartpury University graduate, completed the MSc professional development (coaching science) in 2019, after achieving a 1st class BSc (Hons) physical education and school sports degree.

Spencer said: "Joining Hartpury at 18 years old was hugely beneficial for my football development. It allowed me to continue to progress and learn with high-quality coaching to give me the best possible opportunity to play football at a good level, but also enjoy the process.

"I loved the professionalism of the programme, replicating some of the top academies in the country. Having setbacks at 18 is mentally tough in football, but Hartpury helped me realise what a fantastic opportunity it was to join the programme. It's allowed me to continue my football journey and take my next career steps. Training and studying with like-minded people made the experience so much more enjoyable."

Tom Handley, current captain of the Hartpury University BUCS 1st team, will play for Merthyr Town FC against Buxton. Tom graduated from the BA (Hons) sports business management at Hartpury University and is currently studying an MSc sports management degree.

Tom said: "After being released by Cheltenham Town FC at the end of my scholarship, Hartpury provided me a platform to continue playing and training in a full-time football programme, whilst studying for a degree. The university's facilities, coaches and lecturers are second to none. This has supported me in continuing to develop my football and physical attributes, whilst also playing externally, in addition to being selected for the England Men's University squad for football."

Nick Grimes will captain Taunton Town FC against Milton Keynes (MK) Dons on Saturday. Nick graduated from Hartpury University in 2020, awarded 1st class honours from the BSc (Hons) strength and conditioning degree.

Nick said: "Hartpury helped me develop not only as a player, but also as a person. They provided me with the tools to develop my character and personality both on and off the pitch. The quality training programme helped to keep me sharp and develop my game, whilst helping with my progression to the men's game with their links in non-league.

"There is a clear pathway through Hartpury leading to a successful professional or semi-professional career, as shown by many players over the years. I came through the Hartpury ranks as a young boy and couldn't be happier with how I left as a man."

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