Aspiring footballers encouraged to future-proof their career by balancing sport with study

2 March 2023

Budding Rashfords, Rooneys and Ronaldos could soon be heading back to the classroom following the launch of an innovative new athlete professional development programme designed to give aspiring footballers and officials the opportunity to achieve an academic degree while developing their sporting talent, providing alternative career options for their life beyond sport.

The specialist two-year FdA Athlete Professional Development course, a partnership arrangement between ProChance Football (Caerus Sports Group) and the University of Derby, will enrol its first students in September 2023.

Students will be trained to develop their football/officiating skills to the highest level, gaining a foundation degree in Athlete Professional Development. They will be able to train and play full-time while studying in blocks on campus and via remote learning.

Teaching will be delivered by the University’s expert team who are actively involved in research, high-performance sport and applied sport science consultancy. Students will have access to the University’s state-of-the-art Sports Centre at its Kedleston Road site – this includes external 3G pitches, a fully equipped Performance Analysis Suite, Strength and Conditioning Suite and Human Performance Unit.

Dr Andy Hooton, Head of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Derby, said:

“This programme builds on our experience of working with aspiring athletes, and aims to provide a flexible learning environment targeted towards holistic life development, in addition to elite performance. 

“The intent is to put the athlete in a position where their life after sport is seen as an extension of their life in and through sport, and deselection or retirement is not just the end of one life and the beginning of another. The focus is on using sport, and the pursuit of excellence, as a means of understanding the self and enhancing your career opportunities.”

ProChance offers opportunities for promising young footballers and officials who have either been released or are searching for an opportunity. Liam Sutcliffe, Head of Football at ProChance Football, said:

“This is a unique and exciting opportunity for an athlete or official to study themselves, their past and their ambitions as they prepare for their future. Using sport and the pursuit of excellence, we will help them develop a wide skill set, understand themselves and enhance their career opportunities on and off the pitch.”

Find out more about the FdA Athlete Professional Development.

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