The University of Salford Business School and Leeds United Football Club have joined together to create a course designed for academy footballers.
It is the first time a course at degree level has been designed specifically for aspiring footballers and those professionals who are ready to consolidate their learning and expertise and experiences in the global football industry. The course is designed to allow students to develop skills and knowledge on the pitch and in the classroom at the same time. Using online delivery, the footballers will participate in classes between their training sessions.
Starting from next year the BSc in Applied Football Studies will teach leadership skills, digital and business skills alongside coaching techniques. Taught online, the course will support the professional career pathways of all students, during and after their football careers.
With only a small percentage of academy footballers achieving success on the pitch or in another role at professional clubs, a degree is an important asset to support all academy players in their future careers. The number of professional footballers who currently have degrees currently falls significantly short of national averages. The course is also designed to support the needs of those professionals that have significant experience and expertise in the industry across many different roles and footballing organisations.
The development comes as UEFA is expected to bring in new regulations next year which will make it compulsory for all football academies to provide degree level education for all young players. These new regulations recognise that many players struggle after the football finishes, having sacrificed their education for their sport.
Nicola McCullough, Sports Business Expert at the University of Salford Business School will lead the new course. She said: “This course will provide footballers and professionals at all levels with relevant and contemporary industry focused knowledge to enable them to develop their career pathways, possibly as football coaches, managers or directors – whatever they decide to do.
“It has been designed in an innovative and ground-breaking way to enable players and professionals to complete their studies around their training sessions and other professional commitments.”
The course has been designed to enable students to develop an understanding of the exciting and diverse nature of the global sports industry with a specific focus on football, so they can gain broad skills that will allow them to analyse the nature, growth, and changing business environment of football and sport in general.