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Football duo from Teesside University signed up for national squad

20 May 2024


Two Teesside University students have been selected for national football squads representing the country’s higher education institutions ahead of the coming season.

Aidan Heywood and Jess Mett
Aidan Heywood and Jess Mett

A national call-up has come from England Universities Sport for Aidan Heywood and Jess Mett. For Aidan, it is the fifth year that he has been called up.

As squad members, Aidan and Jess will join the English Universities Sport national teams in training and fixtures, which provide opportunities to compete at the highest domestic representative level.

MSci (Hons) Chiropractic student Aidan, 26, from Hebburn, has previously captained the England Universities squad. He said: “The selection process involved multiple trials, with universities putting forward players from their own universities.

“We received a phone call from the manager explaining his decision and what the future holds within the squad. As always, the feeling never gets old, and I was buzzing to be selected again.

“We have some training sessions planned, along with multiple friendlies before the big Home Nations tournament in July. The friendlies are always against professional football clubs, so the standard is very high, and I really enjoy the challenge. I’ve waited four years for the home nations to finally come about,” he added.

Aidan, who plays with Hebburn Town in the Northern Premier Division, said his involvement in the national squad greatly complements his football training with the squad.

He said: “They go hand in hand. I strive to be the best player I can be in both departments. Hebburn are currently challenging for promotion, which allows me to focus on football, nutrition and gym work and strives me to be at my best. England is exactly the same. I am a believer in marginal gains and having such competitive fixtures with both clubs amplifies my professionalism at the moment.”

Aidan added: “I want to thank the chiropractic team within the University, along with the flexibility of the course and willingness of tutors to take time out of their day to help me catch up on work I have missed when representing England over the past four years.”

Jess, 19, from Middlesbrough, who was awarded a Beth Mead Scholarship to study at Teesside University, is a second year BSc (Hons) Crime Scene Science student.

This is a great achievement, demonstrating the high level that Aidan and Jess are both are performing at.

Will Jones, Head of Sport

She said: “Being part of the squad will involve training camps where I will spend the day training with the other players, and playing alongside top players from other universities. I’ll also be involved in playing matches against teams from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Jess was recently awarded the title of Female Athlete of the Year at the 2024 Teesside Sports Awards, which recognise the efforts and success of Teesside University students across multiple sporting disciplines. Her recognition highlighted the integral role she has played in the University’s women’s football team, which has weekly sessions in the University’s sports therapy clinic and hydrotherapy pool.

Jess was also a treble award winner with Middlesbrough Women, collecting Players’ Player, Player of the Season, and Goal of the Season at the recent Middlesbrough Football Club End of Season Awards.

Jess added: “One of the main reasons in choosing Teesside University was the Beth Mead Scholarship. This involves mentoring from Beth which is beneficial, in being able to ask her questions on her career and ask for any advice. It also provides a free gym membership, access to all sports facilities including sports massages and physiotherapy. This is very beneficial as it allows me to train and compete at the highest level I can.

“Winning the female athlete of the year at Teesside universities sports awards event was also an amazing achievement, as it acknowledged and praised my dedication and effort with the University football team.”

Will Jones, Head of Sport, said: “This is a great achievement, demonstrating the high level that Aidan and Jess are both are performing at.”

Read more about the sporting achievements of Teesside University students

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