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ESPFA Progression Stories – ESPFA Degree

Updated: Aug 16

After a hugely successful year at the ESPFA where we saw the first ever ESPFA National Championships take place, we are pleased to see the success of our students hasn’t stopped on the football pitch. This year saw 220 students in the ‘Class of 2021’ complete their second year on the programme and leave the ESPFA with hard earned qualifications. Out of the 220, over 80 of those students have applied to continue their studies at a higher education institution. Today we highlight some of those students that are progressing on to University in the UK.




In the ‘Class of 2021’, 12 students will be progressing on to the ESPFA full-time HNC Degree course in Coaching Science and furthering their knowledge whilst also carrying on with their football development. Their hard work in the classroom over the last two years to gain qualifications through the BTEC programme has made this possible.


ESPFA Lancashire have eight students that will be carrying on their journey with the ESPFA and be studying a HNC in Coaching Science this September. One of those carrying on with the degree is Cameron Duxbury who has just finished his two years on the ESPFA BTEC course. Cameron thoroughly enjoyed his time at the ESPFA and would recommend it to anyone thinking about joining. He said: My time at the ESPFA has been absolutely incredible, the best choice I made was moving to Skelmersdale united two years ago. You won’t regret [joining the ESPFA], it’s been the best two years of my life and many of my teammates would also say the same.” He is also looking forward to carrying on learning alongside playing football. He said: “I’m excited to learn more under [my coach] Graham and to improve on and off the field, to see the highs and lows and see the opportunities this year brings me. Also, this year the course goes into a lot more detail so it’s good I’ve got the basic knowledge from the past it’s now time to expand on it.”


Another ESPFA Lancashire student that will be progressing onto the HNC degree is Ashley Langley. During Ash’s two years studying a BTEC he relished the camaraderie he has with his team. He said: I played for Skelmersdale United and joined in 2019. My time at the ESPFA was really good, they were always there with any help you needed and helped progress on to better qualifications. The team I played for was really good we all got on so well and had a laugh so in some ways we were very successful.” Ash is excited to be able to further his knowledge in coaching and appreciates the opportunity to gain more qualifications. He said: The ESPFA helped me personally by giving me the chance to learn new skills like coaching and to get better at football. The course I will be learning on the degree program is Coach Science and after learning the basics of coaching over the past two years, this gave me the chance to Progress on this further. One thing that made me want to stay is that they were friendly and that any problems you had they would always try their best to help out.”


Harry Gillespie is another student that will be continuing his time at the ESPFA and studying the third year HNC Degree. Harry also enjoyed his time at the ESPFA and felt like he was better off joining the organisation as opposed to his other options. He said: If I hadn’t joined the ESPFA I would have been doing roofing instead. At Skelmersdale United I felt really happy, and it was exciting to play with the lads every day. I think I’ve learned a lot whilst I’ve been here.” Harry wanted to continue studying and expanding his knowledge whilst also playing football alongside that. He said: I wanted to carry on my time at the ESPFA because I wanted to carry on playing football and being with the lads and further my education and learn more about the body, coaching and sport overall.”


Adam Morris will also be back for another year with his ESPFA Lancashire teammates. Adam believes the mix of education and football has helped him stay engaged whilst on his time on the course. He said: “I had a good time with the ESPFA, it is the only education programme that has kept me interested and I would recommend the course.”


ESPFA Somerset student Reuben Edwards will also be staying with his academy for a further year and studying the HNC in Coaching Science. Reuben originally wanted to join the ESPFA because of the pathways through to semi-professional football and has enjoyed learning units that directly relate to his football development. He said: I wanted to join the ESPFA because of the course benefits and the clear pathway to semi-pro football. My favourite part about being able to study whilst playing football would be how the course and the topics are related and even contribute to the football, like learning about sports injuries, training programmes and nutrition.” Reuben would recommend progressing on to the degree course due to the pathways to semi-professional football and links to higher education. He said: I would encourage someone considering the ESPFA degree course to do it as they have developed the league and the course greatly since I began. There is a clear pathway to opportunities if you are ambitious in football through the first team and even academically through their partnership with UCFB.”


Rhys Ryder, who has just finished his two years on the programme with ESPFA South Gloucestershire side, Yate Town has enrolled onto the HNC in Coaching Science for September. Rhys had a good experience whilst studying a BTEC. He said: I played for Yate Town and started in 2019. My team was like a group of friends playing football together for four days a week and the 2 years was a great experience and something new. There is no other programme like this and will set me up after to join the world of sport.


ESPFA Nottinghamshire student Lewis Clifford will also be carrying on with his time at the ESPFA after having a positive time on the BTEC course. He said: “I have had an amazing time on this course [and want to continue my time at the ESPFA] as I’ve met new people and gained skills in education and football”.


We would also like to wish the following students the best of luck in their HNC Degree: Owen Courtney (ESPFA Cheshire), Adam Donohue (ESPFA Lancashire), Lewis Kennedy (ESPFA Lancashire), Nathan Carnell (ESPFA Lancashire), and Gerrard Traynor (ESPFA Lancashire).


From everyone at the ESPFA, we are extremely proud of the students that have recently finished their two years on the programme with us and we wish all of those that will be progressing onto the HNC Degree Programme in September the bust of luck.

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