Updated: Aug 16, 2021
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 will be going to a US College on a scholarship.
In the ‘Class of 2021’, seven students have earned a scholarship to go and study whilst playing football at a US College. Their hard work in the classroom over the last two years to gain qualifications through the BTEC programme has made this possible.
Two ESPFA Oxfordshire students will be heading across the pond in September to start their next chapter of their footballing journey. One of those is Ellis Mathews who captained the ESPFA Oxfordshire side, Kidlington during his time with the academy. One of his favourite aspects of the course was being able to review his performance on a matchday and also being rewarded for his hard work in the classroom. He said: “Having played football for most of my life, seeing what the ESPFA provided and the benefits of it just drew me in. Playing football and gaining better education was a no brainer for me, especially being able to watch and assess my own performances via the highlights every week. My favourite part of studying and playing football at the same time was knowing I was rewarded for my hard work in the classroom by being able to travel to represent Kidlington and showcase my team’s passion for the game.” Ellis has enjoyed his time at the ESPFA and would recommend it to anyone thinking about wanting to progress onto a scholarship. He said: “For anyone that is wanting to possibly strive for a scholarship, I would say to go for it and don’t look back. Having the chance to go play a sport that you love in a country that can provide bigger and better opportunities for you, I think it would be a shame to miss out! I personally believe that i would not push for a scholarship abroad if it wasn’t for the ESPFA because despite always wanting to, I never had the confidence neither the knowledge on what it would be like but thanks to the ESPFA I have had plenty of insight into what it’s like.”
Steven Soares of ESPFA Oxfordshire will also be pursuing a scholarship in America. He has had a brilliant two years with the ESPFA a is disappointed to be leaving. He said: “I had a good two years’ experience with the ESPFA, it helped me in my football abilities and developed me on the education side as well and it’s sad that I am finishing already.”
Another student who will be attending a College in the US in September is ESPFA Buckinghamshire striker, Callum Gerrard. He has enjoyed an excellent two years on the programme after winning the Southern Division with Chesham United in his second year whilst also claiming the joint golden boot in his first year. Callum is relishing the opportunity to take another step up in his footballing career and is looking forward to exploring a new country. He said: “I’m most looking forward to the professional environment in the states with a training field you can train at whenever you wish, you train football 5 times a week, then playing a game on a Wednesday and Saturday. I’m excited for the travel around America whilst playing league games and cup competitions. I wanted to travel and play football, so America was by far the best opportunity. The environment for training is incredible with a swimming pool, fitness gym and artificial pitch available at any time.”
Harvey Wood, who finished his two years at the ESPFA by winning the Northern Division title with ESPFA Cheshire side, Runcorn Linnets will be jetting off to America in September. Harvey is enthusiastic about his move the US and is looking forward to meeting new people and carrying on learning whilst playing football. He said: “I am looking forward to going to America to study and play football and I look forward to meeting new people from all over the world. I would not be going to America if it wasn't for the ESPFA, I had a great tutor Andy who helped me so much to get me to America.”
His ESPFA Cheshire teammate, Joe McGowan will also be jetting off to the US in September, with his preferred destination currently set on Oregon. Joe enjoyed his time at the ESPFA and jumped at the opportunity to carry on studying whilst playing football. He said: “I think I enjoyed the ESPFA so much that it has just become normal, and I think that’s just what I want to carry on doing, playing football and getting a good education, because why wouldn’t I, it interests me a lot and I think it helps with your work as well because you want to play football and it drives you on to put more effort in with your work.” Joe also believes that if it wasn’t for the ESPFA he wouldn’t have thought about applying for a scholarship would recommend the scholarship option to anyone that has aspirations of improving themselves. He said: “I think the ESPFA gives you a good platform to get over to America. I think if I just stayed in sixth form not doing much, I wouldn’t have even considered it. [To anyone that is considering it] I would say definitely try and get over to the states because it is an opportunity of a lifetime that doesn’t come round to many people.”
We would also like to wish the following students the best of luck in their US College scholarships: Aidan Tustin (ESPFA Greater Manchester) and Ollie Jarvis (ESPFA Staffordshire).