Former England Colleges captain Max Harris is delighted to have the opportunity to continue studying at Hartpury University after signing his first professional football contract with Oxford United FC.
Thanks to the flexibility offered by Hartpury, goalkeeper Max will pursue his football ambitions at The U’s in League One at the same time as starting a part-time BA (Hons) Sports Business Management degree in September.
Max, who was awarded a Distinction in a Level 3 Extended Diploma Sport (Performance and Excellence) Football, which he started at Hartpury and completed at Oxford United FC, helped the Hartpury Under-18s team win the ESFA National title.
Hartpury tailors academic and training timetables to suit student athletes and gives them access to a range of world class-facilities on campus, including a floodlit grass football pitch and two 3G all-weather surfaces.
Its new £8.8 million Sports Academy includes a biomechanics laboratory, a rehabilitation suite featuring an anti-gravity treadmill, and a human performance laboratory with an altitude chamber and sports hall.
Max said: “Hartpury accelerated my football development as I was able to train and play full-time as well as continue my studies.
“The staff and facilities are excellent and this gave me the platform to sign with Oxford United FC.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity and experiences they gave me and I am so glad I have been able to continue my studies now at the university alongside being a professional.”
Dan Harris, Oxford United Academy Manager, added: “Max joined us from Hartpury as a first-year scholar and immediately settled into life in professional football.
“Max has proven himself to be a committed, reliable and focused young athlete who has approached his time at Oxford with a real professionalism that has enabled him to balance his training load alongside his ongoing academic studies.
“Max played a key role in helping our Under-18s side secure their first-ever league title in the 2018-19 seasons and was rewarded with his performances at the end of the season by being named in the first-team squad for their final league game of the season.
“In recognition of his progress to date, Max has been offered his first-ever professional contract here at Oxford United and will balance this alongside beginning a programme of part-time undergraduate study back at Hartpury – he is a credit to himself and both institutions.”
Hartpury Football Academy manager Paul Tassell added: “I am delighted that Max has become our 36th professional footballer.
“He has the highest personal standards and is an exemplary individual. He is the model Hartpury student athlete and I am sure he will continue to achieve on and off the pitch.”
Picture: Max Harris after signing for Oxford United