Maddie Long has been selected as the third recipient of the Portsmouth Football Club Scholarship.
The scholarship – a result of the partnership between Pompey and the University of Portsmouth – grants £3,000 worth of funding for each year of a three-year course and is designed to support local young people in their higher education.
The requirement for applying is that the individual is either the first in their family to go to university and/or from a household with an income of under £35,000 per year.
Along with the financial support, Maddie will also have the opportunity to work directly with the club over the period of the scholarship to gain direct work experience.
Maddie is from Bognor Regis and is living in Portsmouth for her studies. She started her Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences (Dual Degree) BSc degree with the University last month.
This is a four-year course, which includes spending her third year living and studying at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia.
She will be spending her time with the club based at the training ground at the Pompey Health and Fitness Club.
This will initially involve shadowing the club’s sport science team, but with plans to develop her experience with the club alongside the studies.
Maddie will be using the financial support this year to support her accommodation fees, with the £3,000 from the club contributing almost half of her costs for the year.
She said: “I never thought I’d get a scholarship and when I got the call I was just shaking. Being awarded this scholarship will alter my life in many ways.
"It will allow me to showcase my academic abilities as a hard-working student, but also allows me the opportunity to progress into higher education in a way that couldn’t be done without it.
"I never thought I’d get a scholarship and when I got the call I was just shaking. Being awarded this scholarship will alter my life in many ways."
“I’m hoping this is something that can help me secure a future career within football. I want to help people with my job and this scholarship can help me do that.
“I don’t have the option of additional financial support, so the money is a big help and will help me fund my accommodation this year.
"It just takes that stress off me and my family. This scholarship gives me huge and immediate financial help and I can pursue my future career and dreams, which heavily involve being a student at the University of Portsmouth.”
Professor Graham Galbraith, vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, said: “The University is all about giving young people the opportunity to succeed and from that point of view, it’s really exciting to be welcoming Maddie.
“The purpose of this partnership is to inspire young people and to show them that University is an option for them.
"It’s great to have the scholarship to support people who might be hesitant to apply due to the finances, who can then come and enjoy the experience and do fantastically well and go on to a great career.”
Pompey sporting director Richard Hughes said: “The scholarship is huge and provides an opportunity for students, providing them with the financial support to pursue their passions.
"Beyond the financial aspect, what makes it truly exceptional are the unparalleled opportunities that our football club can offer.
“Maddie, as a scholarship recipient, will not only receive essential funding, but will also gain exposure to invaluable experiences that will contribute immensely to her personal and professional development.
“The partnership between our club and the University of Portsmouth is transformative and benefits extend far beyond the scholarship programme. The collaboration opens doors for students, providing them with access to resources and opportunities.
“Simultaneously, the club benefits from the fresh perspectives and talent that the university's students bring. The partnership is a testament to our commitment to fostering talent and creating meaningful connections within our community.”
This is the third year of the scholarship, which is at the heart of the partnership between the University and the club, as the two organisations look to support young people in the city.
Previous recipients have worked with the club on architecture designs of a new lounge within Fratton Parkm as well graphic design work for the club’s marketing department.