Meet the Scholarship Coaches


Ben Ledger

Goalkeeper Head Coach / 1-2-1 Co-ordinator / U15/16’s Coach

Ben started his footballing career as a 6 year old playing for Sheffield Wednesday Young Owls and moved on to Sheffield United Junior Blades at the age of 10. In his 5 year career in Sunday League he won the league 5 times and the Cup once.

At U12 Ben signed for Scunthorpe United and stayed at the club upon finishing his apprenticeship at 18. During his apprenticeship he played for both the Youth Team, the Reserve Team and later went on to represent the First Team as being a named sub for games against Swindon Town and Burton Albion.

In the 2016/17 season Ben signed for then Conference North side Harrogate Town, spending time on loan to Stocksbridge Park Steels, Harrogate Railway and Knaresborough Town before finishing his playing career a season later after a short spell at Sheffield FC to focus on coaching.

In January 2019 Ben joined the Qualities team as Goalkeeper Coach and since then he has been accepted on to the UEFA B Coaching course and has joined Barnsley Ladies FC as Goalkeeper Coach. Ben takes pride on creating a fun and positive learning enviroment to enhance development of all footballers he has the pleasure of coaching

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U9’s Coach


Ryan Collins

U10’s Maroon 

Ryan has been actively involved within football from a young age, representing both Cambridgeshire district schools’ team as well as local semi-professional Ryman league outlet, Soham Town Rangers. It is from his positive experiences of playing sport as a youth which fuelled his desire to work within the industry.

He has since gone on to complete three separate University degrees’ at Sheffield Hallam University, over a period of five years. This was met with great success including individual accolades for ‘Best MSc research project (2017)’ and ‘Student trainee teacher of the year (2018)’. His work experiences during this time included various roles at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Qualitas Sports Ltd, alongside teaching experience at Sheffield United Community Foundation and Parkwood Academy secondary school. To date, his career highlight involved delivering sport and English lessons to orphaned children, out in Morocco over a four month summer project.

His coaching philosophy is around nurturing players to reach their footballing potential. This is achieved through promoting hard work, intensity and structure, whilst allowing freedom for his players to express themselves throughout a fun, positive and encouraging environment. 

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U10’s Grey



andy White

U12’s Maroon

I have been involved in sports coaching and education in a variety of roles for all my adult life. After completing my A Levels I decided to complete a part-time degree in Sports and Leisure Management as I had recently gained employment at Chesterfield College, working on a new exciting project with Senior Lecturer Neil Cluxton who had set up a Football and Educational programme in partnership with Chesterfield FC, which are now common all around the country.

I completed 5 years in this post, during this time we several success stories both in terms of players being signed by professional clubs, to students gaining places at University and American scholarships.

In 2003 I was approached by Chesterfield FC’s Academy Director Dave Bentley to take up the role of coaching one of the clubs Centre of Excellence teams on a part-time basis.

During my time within this role I really enjoyed working with the elite footballers in the area and was impressed with their attitudes towards learning and improving. I believe that this enhanced my abilities as a coach, as I spent a lot of my spare time attending coaching workshops, watching sessions by experienced coaches and building a portfolio of coaching sessions plans.

A key area of the role also required me to understand the physical, social and psychological needs of each individual player.

It was during this time that I successfully completed the UEFA B qualification and the residential FA Youth Coaches Award, both of which significantly reinforced and developed my understanding of working with young players.

In recent year’s I started a family and wanted to be a constant within my children’s young lives’. This meant me stepping away from coaching at the elite level.  As my son has started playing, I have coached his grassroots teams from the age of 4.

This again has been a new learning curve, working with players of the younger age groups, but I have always stood by the values I set out as a young coach. I firmly believe in building positive relationships and the importance of being reliable and consistent, once you have these foundations in place, I believe this fosters a positive coaching environment.

I take great pleasure in watching the young players develop, both as players and people and have always encouraged player development, team work and fair play over results.

Since I started coaching grassroots football 4 years ago, 11 of the players are now playing at Academy level for either Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Chesterfield. I am happy to have played a part in their development and believe these have been my proudest achievements in my coaching career.

I am convinced there will be many more achievements to be proud of in my newest role as coach of the Qualitas Under 12’s squad.

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U12’s Grey


Aaron Sennett-Neilson

U13’s Coach

I’m Aaron Sennett-Neilson. 19 years old. My main sport and favourite sport by miles is football. I’ve been playing football since the day I could walk and still play it to this day at semi professional level. I have previously played for clubs like Chesterfield and Sheffield Wednesday FC. I spent 7 years in total at Chesterfield, including two years being a scholarship footballer at under 18 level. I was also a product of Qualitas. I played for Qualitas scholarship programme for many years in my childhood and throughout this time I got many chances, including my chance to play for Sheffield Wednesday for 2 years in my under 15/16 years. I currently coach at Qualitas for scholarship sessions and do various sport sessions within schools! 

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U13’s Coach

Joel Searson.jpg

Joel Searson

U14’s Coach

I joined Qualitas in May 2018 after graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a first class honours degree in Physical Education and School Sport. Up until this point I have been heavily involved within the schools programme that we operate at Qualitas Sport, teaching PE lessons, leadership programmes and a variety of morning and after school skills sessions. I will still be continuing with my involvement within the schools programme alongside this new role, however much of my focus will be on looking to improve the scholarship experience.

I started coaching football from the age of 16 as soon as I left school, where I completed a two year apprenticeship within a coaching company in Chesterfield. My coaching experiences have taken me all over the world, including spending the majority of my summer in 2015 working on camps and in clubs as a professional soccer coach in the New England region of the USA. Since then, I have gone on to coach at a semi-professional standard in the UK whilst studying for my degree, which gave me the perfect grounding for taking up the role of Scholarship Head Coach at Qualitas last year. I am now looking forward to moving into the new season working closely with our exceptionally talented and promising U14s age group within the Junior Premier League this year.

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U14’s Coach


Richard Lake

U15/16’s Coach