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Working together

Solent University and Southampton FC have a long history of working together, enabling student success and developing work ready, world ready, future ready graduates. Located a stone’s throw away from St Mary’s Stadium, the home of the Saints, Solent is proud to be the Club's official university partner.

In July 2021 we announced a strategic partnership with the club, building upon the strong foundations already established. The partnership will see Solent and Saints collaborating to attract, retain and develop future learners and sporting talent while growing Southampton’s reputation as a leading global destination for sports coaching and development.

Growing participation among under-represented communities in football

With ambitious plans to grow Saints' presence in the women’s game, Solent and Saints are working together to recruit, retain and develop the women’s game. Our partnership will see Solent and Saints develop and promote education and career pathways, offering exclusive opportunities and taster experiences that attract and retain leading talent to the South coast.

This activity will be amplified throughout the season, with Solent’s logo sitting proudly on the sleeve of Southampton FC’s women’s team. Our Test Park facility will also host training sessions for Saints Regional Talent Club throughout the season. We’ll be getting behind the team throughout the year, celebrating success and offering academic insight and enrichment activities. 

A group of women wearing tabards, playing football

Attracting, developing and retaining future talent

A student interviewing someone in front of a camera at St Mary's stadium

Students from a range of courses across the University will gain access to real-world industry experience at the Club, with some experiences now embedded within our curriculum. Students who join Solent from 2021/22, studying on the BSc (Hons) Football Studies course, will receive over 20 hours of professional coaching and development from the Southampton FC coaching team. This, alongside our guest lecture programme and exclusive experiences at the stadium, will provide industry insight sessions for our wider student community.

Many of our students have gone on to secure employment at the Club, with our alumni community working in a variety of roles at Saints, from supporting the first team at the Club's training ground, to back-office support functions.

Here are just a few of the success stories from our time working together

Solent alum, Mark Gamble at St Mary's stadiumAlumnus of the month: Mark Gamble
Mark has been working with the Saints Foundation since graduating from our BA (Hons) Football Studies programme in 2009, and is now their education manager.

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Solent alum, Mike Dixon at St Mary's stadiumHow working while studying benefited my career
Mike Dixon graduated from Solent in 2013 with a degree in football studies. He went on to work for the Saints Foundation where he's now senior schools and community project officer.

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Nikoleta Chonti at St Mary's stadiumExperiencing life behind the scenes on match day
BA (Hons) Event Management student, Nikoleta Chonti shadowed the Saints events team to see how they prepare and deliver match day hospitality at a Premier League game.

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The pitch at St Mary's stadium with flares going offSolent prepares for match day with Southampton FC
Solent University is proud to be the official university partner of Southampton FC, working with the club to deliver activities for students, staff and local community.

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Leading impact-driven knowledge exchange and research activity

With research and knowledge exchange a priority for Solent, we’ll be working with the club to develop academic-led research projects that will help to influence the future of the game. Working in partnership, we’ll combine academic research, with applied learnings and insights from the club to shape the game both on and off the pitch.

Our student community will also be at the forefront of our research and knowledge exchange activity, working with the club’s charitable arm, the Saints Foundation on community focused projects that deliver long-term impact to our local communities. Fans and the local community will also get involved through our public engagement activity.

A sports person wearing a VO2 max mask, and a student

The club prides itself on turning potential into excellence, an ethos that is very much aligned with the University’s mission to give students the opportunity to learn through real world experiences. By working together, we look forward to attracting the very best talent to the city with a wealth of opportunities made possible by this partnership.

David Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer, Southampton Football Club

Telling our story and recognising success

Throughout the duration of the partnership Solent and Saints branding will be clearly visible at St Mary’s Stadium, creating a sense of community and togetherness. Our student, staff and alumni community will also be getting involved in matchday activity.

Celebrating the success and achievements of those involved in activity on and off the pitch will play a central role. A number of Saints legends are Honorary Doctorates at the University, with  Matt Le Tissier, Francis Benali and Lawrie McMenemy among those who have received recognition.

We’ll be regularly sharing stories on how our communities are benefiting from the partnership - keep an eye on this page for updates.