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Following on from the first progression stories released yesterday with twenty-six students moving forward to our degree course, in partnership with Loughborough College, we are delighted to showcase our students from the ‘Class of 2019’ who are progressing to scholarships abroad.

Eight students are following the likes of Sam Gilbert and Joe Ruane (Class of 2018) to the United States of America to combine education and “soccer” in their highly regarded college system.

Witton Albion student Thomas Mcluckie is attending Monterey Peninsula College in California to study International Business whilst playing in the NCAA soccer side for the next two years. “I’m looking forward to taking the next step and carrying on playing football at a high level. My dream is to become a professional footballer but I would also love to work for an organisation like UEFA. I have enjoyed every day of the programme as you are with your team all day and the you make close friends in that environment. To those new students starting their journey with the NPLFA, I advise to take it seriously both on and off the pitch as it’s a programme that can take you far in the long term. I would like to say a massive thanks to Avron (coach) and Laura (tutor) who were always there for us. Laura was really patient with us which some teachers wouldn’t and she really helped me get through this year. She was really honest telling me I needed to get my head down and I did and have been rewarded”

James Hobson, goalkeeper for Carlton Town will be spending the next four years at Allen Community College in Iola, Kansas City on a sports degree course and he too has enjoyed his time at the NPLFA “I have enjoyed everything about the programme, it was fun and I had a really good tutor and with the football being great as well it was enjoyable to be a part of the whole thing. I am looking forward to going to another country to play football and experience living in America. It was the only pathway that really interested me. I’d like to play at the highest level over there and possibly stay out and be a coach.”

James is another student who recommends the programme to future school leavers “The staff were really friendly and encouraging which helped my confidence. If you want to have a career in sport, come to this programme!”

Josh Devereux had a successful time on the pitch for Matlock Town, winning successive NPLFA Cups and the NPLFA Grand Final in May. His success on the pitch was replicated in his studies and he is now looking to the US as the next step for his development “I am hoping to go to America to do a four-year scholarship in January 2020. Not only do I get to play football with this but also the education as well and I get to experience a different part of the world and play with people from different cultures. I am looking forward to starting and proving what I can do over there and I am counting down the days.”

Asked what his ambition is, the young midfielder commented “Obviously every young footballer’s dream is to go into the professional game and I am not counting it out but I just know how hard it is to get a breakthrough. Besides that I would like to get into coaching or anything that revolves around football.”

“I have had countless highlights with the NPLFA but the main one that sticks out is going through the two years unbeaten in the league, anyone can win the league but to do it unbeaten is just that bit special. I also enjoyed the education side of the programme very much. Carl our tutor was encouraging, which opened up pathways for me that I didn’t think were possible.

“The NPLFA is a programme I would recommend to any young footballer that is leaving school and maybe does not know what they wish to do, like myself. You get a solid education and you play football every day with your friends, it doesn’t get much better than that!”

Josh’s team-mate Alex Buttery will be moving back home to America after a successful year in Derbyshire and he too will be combining education with football over the next few years. 

“I am doing an online university degree with Florida State College in Jacksonville, whilst continuing to play football. What interested me in this pathway is that there are more opportunities and jobs you can gain with a degree. I am very excited to start.”

The American was the hero in both finals back in May, having a huge say in both penalty shootouts to win the double and that is the memory that stands out during his time in England. “Winning the Cup and Grand Final on penalties was fantastic. I have enjoyed the programme overall, the nutrition unit was the most interesting on the education side.

“I would like to thank the coaches and tutors for the help they gave, they did a fantastic job. I would highly recommend the NPLFA. If you want full-time training and a place to further your education then I would definitely sign up.”

Belper Town’s Lee Carter is another student who will be crossing the Atlantic after two years with the NPLFA, albeit from next August 2020 as he assesses his options whilst working full time and playing for Holbrook Sports first team in the Central Midlands League. “I cannot wait to get started, it’s going to be a great experience and I hope it can help me play professional football somewhere in the world. I have loved meeting new people on the programme and have loved it overall. The unit I liked most was Sports Psychology and I would recommend the NPLFA to school leavers as it is an enjoyable course and you can gain a really good qualification at the end of it.”

Also heading to the US are Carlton Town’s Alex Green, Rashaan Taylor-Anderson from Mickleover Sports and Matlock Town’s Frenchman Emmanual Abolo-Carre, you can hear what the latter two have to say in the video.

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