Players encouraged to be more than just footballers...
THE League Football Education’s, ‘My Future Today’ programme, which is geared towards the personal development of young footballers, continued in Yorkshire last week, involving players from Bradford City, Leeds United and York City. The initiative is designed to support the holistic development of footballers by strengthening the idea that they are more than just a footballer.
To do that, the programme, which will involve 30 clubs and over 500 academy players aged 16-18-years-old by the end of this season, tackles the concept of athlete identity and provides players with insight to their personality profiles as well as encouraging them to develop and recognise all their skills and interests. The sessions also help players understand their employability skills and increases awareness of dual careers and opportunities away from football. This season’s programme is supported by The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and AFTA Thought.
League Football Education, project manager Dan Jolley, said: “These events focus on personal development and providing an opportunity for apprentices to think about their own personality, skills and interests. It is a holistic approach to support them in becoming rounded individuals. In turn that delivers on and off the pitch benefits. We want them to understand their own identity and to realise that this can help them as players but that they are also more than just young footballers.
“Ex footballers and Olympians reinforce that message and we ensure that everyone leaves with a raised awareness of the support networks and opportunities that are open to them.”
Chris McCready, a former professional footballer who now works for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, added: “This project is quite different in football and addresses the personal development of young players through interactive workshops, activities and drama. We challenge players to think about themselves as more than just a footballer and want them to think about themselves in broader terms.
“We believe that interests, developmental activities and better relationships will deliver better separation from football and allow them to perform, maintain their emotional well-being and smooth their transition inside or outside the game.”