A @CoventryCollege student has taken a step closer to becoming a professional netballer after being picked to rub shoulders with some of the game’s most promising prospects.
The Bedworth teenager Demi Ponticelli has been selected ahead of around 50 other trialists to represent the Association of Colleges (AoC) National Netball squad for the coming year.
The AoC National Netball Squad is made up of 21 players from colleges across England following a series of trials, and competes against different teams across the UK.
It comes as the 18-year-old is also enjoying time on court with Wasps Netball’s Under-19s first-team and Henley Netball Club in the wing defence position, after spending three years representing Warwickshire at county level.
And Demi - who is the sister of Coventry City striker Jordan Ponticelli - revealed that despite her strong progress in the sport, she didn’t pick up a netball until five years ago.
She said: “I only got into netball because one of my best friends was really into it, but as soon as I picked up the ball I was hooked and decided to join Ambleside Netball Club.
“I knew I always wanted a career in the sport field and have considered becoming a PE teacher, but my ultimate dream is to follow in my brother’s footsteps and become a professional sportsperson.
“That’s one of the key reasons I am studying a sports and coaching course at Coventry College, as it allows me to combine my ambitions of becoming a full-time netballer whilst studying towards a qualification that will stand me in good stead for an alternative career.
“I’ve joined up with the national team on a few occasions and played as a centre, and the standard is unbelievable, so spending time with them later this year will only help to improve my own game.
“The support I have had from Coventry College has been great both financially and academically - and I’m excited about what the future holds.”
Demi is combining her netball and studies as part of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), which is delivered by education institutions such as Coventry College and supported Sport England, in a bid to help 16 to 18-year-olds pursue dual careers.
Coventry College Academy Manager Peter Glackin, who oversees the TASS scheme at Coventry College, added: “Demi is the latest in a long line of talented student athletes at Coventry College that are showing signs of reaching their full potential.
“We are working with Demi to ensure she strikes the right balance between developing her game on and off the court, and is a great role model for other young athletes who want to pursue a career as an elite athlete.
“It’s been a fantastic year for the Coventry College Academy of Sport - alongside Demi we have had students in rugby union and American football who have been picked to represent their country in their respective sports - showing that we have a strong track record in helping students to pursue their sporting dreams.”