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ESPFA Progression Stories – University

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’, an amazing 68 students have a conditional offer for a place at university and will be taking an exciting next step in their academic journey. Their hard work in the classroom over the last two years to gain qualifications through the BTEC programme has made this possible.


ESPFA Nottinghamshire students Dan Flint and Sonny Shaw will both be attending Nottingham Trent University to study a degree in Sports and Exercise Science. When Sonny was asked about how the ESPFA had helped him, he said: The ESPFA helped me to progress with my football, giving me opportunities with the first team at Carlton Town and it also helped me realise what I wanted to study at university… I'm looking forward to [going to university] and living independently and embracing the student life”. Dan Flint is taking advantage of studying at a university close to home, so it allows him to continue playing football for Carlton Town but is also looking forward to the prospect of playing Football at University. He said: “I’m now onto the next chapter and going to Nottingham Trent University studying Sport and Exercise Science. The whole experience is something I’m looking forward to, but the sporting part is definitely a highlight as it’s very competitive and serious to play for the university sports team. Studying locally gave me the option to carry on playing for my club of Carlton Town and carrying on my journey with them.”


Their classmate and fellow ESPFA Nottinghamshire student, Eathan Stanley will also be attending Nottingham Trent but will be studying a degree in Sports Science and Coaching. Eathan joined the ESPFA in 2019 and was initially drawn in by the mix of football and education. He said: “I wanted to join the ESPFA as I loved football and still wanted a good education to go with it and playing football competitively week in week out seemed better than sitting in a classroom in sixth form all day”. Eathan progresses onto university with aspirations of being a fully qualified coach: “I wanted to go to university for the experience but also as I felt as if it was the right decision to kickstart my career in coaching. I’m looking forward to meeting new people at university and I’m looking forward to becoming a coach as that is what I want to become as I get older.”


Matt Clifford, who has just completed his two years on the programme at ESPFA Buckinghamshire will be attending the University of Lincoln to study a degree in Sport and Physical Education. Matt has always had ambitions to pursue a career in sport but was unsure whether this would be possible. He said: After my GCSE’s I was doubtful that I’d be able to go and study at university however the ESPFA gave me a chance and I was able to work hard allowing myself to go and hopefully get a degree at university. I wanted to join the ESPFA to peruse my desire of working in the sporting industry allowing me to go onto university to gain a degree in this industry and study a degree to boost my chances of getting a well-paid job in the future”.


ESPFA Greater Manchester student Alieu Bass will be progressing on to university in either Leicester or Birmingham. After a successful year on the pitch for Mossley AFC, Alieu is continuing his hard work and would recommend staying dedicated in the classroom if you want to continue studying in higher education. He said: “I would say work hard on your course work and complete assignments to the highest standard you can, so you have a better chance to get into university. The tutors at the ESPFA helped me a lot to get my work to a great standard and now I’m looking to go university to do sports coaching and physical education. I’m looking forward to making new friends in a different city and also see how it’s like to be in university.”


Another student who had a successful year on the pitch and is maintaining that success in his progression is ESPFA West Yorkshire student Fre Tewolde, who will be attending UCFB in Manchester to study Football Coaching and Management. Although Fre still has dreams of making a living out of football, but he realises the importance of obtaining a degree to fall back on if this doesn’t work out. He said: My next step is moving to university and will continue playing football semi-professionally. There is only a small percentage of people that make it into the professional game therefore by me going to university, I will have a degree behind me and get a good job if football doesn’t work out.”


ESPFA Greater Manchester students Raul Gonzales and Jayden Quaye will also be attending UCFB in Manchester which is based at the Etihad stadium. Raul will be studying a degree in Football Coaching and Management whilst Jayden will be reading Football Business Management. Raul has big dreams of coaching a professional team and hopes studying a degree in coaching and management will aid him in this. He said: “The fact that I get to study in another language and with people who have great experience in what they do is great. Also, the opportunities they offer me for the future will be amazing. I get to learn more things to help me be able to fulfil my dream of training a team in the Premier League or La Liga. But above all to train myself as a person and acquire new knowledge that will serve me for the future.” He added: All I have to say is thanks to ESPFA as they have helped me a lot these last two years and have helped me to train as a person, student and footballer”. Jayden on the other hand is heading to university after developing an interest in his subject whilst completing his BTEC course over the past two years. He said: “I joined the ESPFA because I wanted to carry on playing football alongside my studies after high school. I developed an interest in learning about football business and think university is a good way to set you up for the future”.


Another ESPFA Greater Manchester student who will be furthering his education is Jonathan Mayingi. Having recently been awarded Radcliffe FC's ‘Student of the Year’ in the end of season awards, Jonathan is a passionate learner who will be going on to study Psychology at The University of Salford. Despite the step up in education, Jonathan is looking forward to the challenge that university will present. He said: I am looking forward to the more independent study, in which the teachers do not guide you as much as college. This will be a challenge that I am up for. The one thing that made me want to take on a degree is the fact that I wanted to have a heap of qualifications so I can go onto to do things in my career that I want to do. This degree will help me a lot in the future”.


Anas Ahmed who spent his two years on the programme at ESPFA West Midlands will be going to the University of Wolverhampton to study Sport and Exercise Science. Anas Enjoyed his time at the ESPFA and is eager to start the next step on his journey. He said: “My time at the ESPFA was great, I played for Rushall Olympic, and I started in 2019. My two years of football and learning at the club were very good and I was fortunate to be with a fantastic group of lads. I liked the fact that it was both football and coursework, and that the groups weren’t as big as other big colleges.” He continued: I’m going to university of Wolverhampton, and I will be studying sport and exercise science. I’m really looking forward to Meeting new people and being able to do what I love. I wanted to stay in education, and I felt university was the right place for me.”


ESPFA Lancashire student Josh Niblock had a fantastic season and cleaned up in the end of season awards, winning his clubs (Skelmersdale United) ‘Student of the Year’ and ‘Player of the Year’. In September he will be attending Liverpool John Moores to study Sports Science. Josh is keen to expand his knowledge of sport when he attends university. He said: At university I’m most looking forward to learning more about sports and being able to meet new people from different places in a new environment. I wanted to go to university as it allows me to work towards a degree which can lead me to many different paths in life doing what I enjoy.” He is also thankful to his tutors and coaches who helped him during his time at the ESPFA. I don’t think it would be possible for me to go to university without attending the ESPFA as I had great people around me like my tutor and coach who helped me learn new things every day.”


Swindon Supermarine have eight students in total that have applied to go to university. One of those is Cameron Isaac, fresh off of winning his clubs ‘Player of the Year’ award at the 2021 ESPFA Awards Show. Cameron will be attending either The University of Winchester or The University of South Wales. Cameron will be studying a degree in Sports and Exercise Science and with such a difficult past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cameron is enthusiastic about embracing this new experience. He said: I’m nervously excited to see what it will be like. With COVID it still barely feels like I’m leaving college and I’d assume a lot of other students feel the same way so it’ll be interesting to see how the experience will be.”


His teammate, Jamie Westen has also applied to university and will hopefully be attending the UCFB Wembley campus in September. He is looking forward to developing friendships and networking with new people. He said: Now that I have finished the two-year course, I am looking at going to UCFB University studying Football Business and Marketing. I am most looking forward to meeting a new group of friends and building partnerships.”


We would also like to wish the following students the best of luck for the future who have indicated they wish to attend the following universities:


Mihail Karov (ESPFA Derbyshire) – University of Derby

Elliot Dennison (ESPFA West Yorkshire) – Leeds Beckett

Ben Hargreaves (ESPFA West Yorkshire) – Leeds Beckett

Dylan Mitchell (ESPFA West Yorkshire) – Keele University

Clinton Ojini (ESPFA West Yorkshire) – Leeds Beckett

Samrawe Yohannes (ESPFA West Yorkshire) - Manchester Metropolitan

Owen Smith (ESPFA Nottinghamshire) – UCFB

Jake Davies (ESPFA Buckinghamshire) – UCFB

Alfie Rosser (ESPFA Somerset) – Bath University

Kam King (ESPFA Oxfordshire) – Oxford Brookes

Corban Ridgway (ESPFA Oxfordshire) – Cardiff University

Alex Neale (ESPFA Oxfordshire) – University of Derby

Ben Russell (ESPFA Oxfordshire) – University of South Wales

Edward Russell (ESPFA Oxfordshire) - University of South Wales

Cameron Anthony (ESPFA Derbyshire) – University of Derby

Brodie Carter (ESPFA Derbyshire) – Sheffield Hallam

Kyren Johnson Ward (ESPFA Derbyshire) – Sheffield Hallam

Joris Tsoumou-Gavouka (ESPFA Derbyshire) – Loughborough

Ben Cook (ESPFA Greater Manchester) – University Academy 92

Sahwo Karbah (ESPFA Greater Manchester) – Buckinghamshire New University

Leanardo Neves (ESPFA Greater Manchester) - University Academy 92

Nathan Barratt (ESPFA West Yorkshire) – UCFB

Carl Clarkson (ESPFA West Yorkshire) – Leeds Beckett

Kieron Dalton (ESPFA Greater Manchester) – Edge Hill University

David Fayomi (ESPFA Greater Manchester) - UCFB

Steve Mulenda (ESPFA Greater Manchester) – UCFB

Byron Weekes (ESPFA Greater Manchester) – Manchester Metropolitan

Jack Wilkins (ESPFA Greater Manchester) – UCFB

Luke Wilson (ESPFA Greater Manchester) - Manchester Metropolitan

Adam Will (ESPFA Cheshire) – Liverpool University

Louie Reynolds (ESPFA West Midlands) – Birmingham City University

Lewis Cope (ESPFA Staffordshire) – Loughborough College

Ethan Harris (ESPFA Staffordshire) – Liverpool John Moores Uni

Jayden Hunter (ESPFA Staffordshire) – Manchester Metropolitan

Matthew Bibby (Swindon Supermarine) – Southampton Solent

Joe McGrogan (Swindon Supermarine) - University of Gloucester/Southampton Solent

Artur Nisnik (Swindon Supermarine) – UCFB

Joylon Palha (Swindon Supermarine) – Southampton Solent

Liam Pirie (Swindon Supermarine) – UCFB

Declan Simmons (Swindon Supermarine) - Southampton Solent

Ali Albouti (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – University of South Wales

Emmanuel Allen-Burnett (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – Manchester Metropolitan

Lewis Bryan (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – Cardiff Metropolitan

Hamza Bulaleh (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – Manchester Metropolitan

Nathan Burge (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – Hartpury University

Jarnell Japi (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – Manchester Metropolitan

Noah Long (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – Hartpury University

Sam Warr (ESPFA South Gloucestershire) – Cardiff Metropolitan.


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 attending university in September the best of luck.

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