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The ninth year of the ESPFA is complete and we would like to acknowledge some of the fantastic opportunities that our graduates are progressing onto. 81 second-year students completed their time on the course this summer and came away with their level three qualifications. 36 of those will be continuing their studies and progressing onto a higher education institution. We caught up with some of the some of those students that are progressing on to university in the UK.

First up is #ESPFACheshire student Alex-Romio Kenamuinjo who has represented Runcorn Linnets for the last two years and is staying close to home securing a place at Liverpool John Moores University to study Sports Physcology, a subject he has developed a real interest in recently “The field of sport and exercise psychology has always been of great interest to me as I am passionate about understanding the psychological and emotional factors that influence an individual's performance in sports and physical activity. I am confident that the knowledge and skills I will gain through this programme will enable me to make a meaningful contribution to the field of sport and exercise psychology and help me to achieve my goal of becoming a sport and exercise psychologist.”

It has been a successful two years on the programme for Alex and his determination and will to succeed has now resulted in positive future despite some difficulties he has faced.

“When I joined the ESPFA, I was welcomed well by my teammates and coach. Although I was still trying to fit in with the lads and the education system having to travel almost two and a half hours to the programme for classes and training and getting late back at home around 8pm on the days we were in. It was tough but I was enjoying it at the same time as everyday I learnt something new. I used that as motivation to get me perform to the highest possible level I can. I think I had a very successful first year in 2021/22, becoming a key player in the team. With the experience I picked up in my time being selected in the Namibian U13 and U17 national teams, it helped me standout as I was more driven and always asked my coach for feedback after every game. In my second year I did not play as well as I hoped to due to my ankle injury that kept me out for periods but overall I picked up many skills such as commitment, hard work and leadership.

“One of the best highlights on the football side of the programme would be becoming one of the key players of my team and scoring a brace in the ESPFA National Grand Final against Rushall Olympic where unfortunately we lost. That was a very successful season the first year of joining the ESPFA. On the education side I enjoyed the units of leadership in sport. exercise, health and lifestyle and lifestyle and behaviours. I won’t forget the wonderful memories I created with my coach Steve and the support from Mark Baker as well as my tutors to pass the course.”

With his time on the ESPFA now complete, Alex is looking forward to the next stage of his life at university.

“I’m looking forward to learning new things and gaining a good understanding of the course. I am excited about the prospect of learning from experts in the field and gaining hands-on experience through research and practical opportunities. I believe that this course will provide me with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career in sport and exercise science or sport psychology, and I am eager to begin this journey.”

Having met his original aims when enrolling with the ESPFA back in September 2021, Alex was keen to pass on some advice to the next intake of students hoping to take a similar route.

“I would recommend students to join the ESPFA as it’s a good way to get a further education qualification whilst honing your footballing skills as you develop a strong connection with teammates and a number of skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership. The ESPFA provide a fantastic pathway for a career in the football industry.”

Three students from three different programmes are progressing onto university to study Sports and Exercise Science. #ESPFA Lancashire’s Harvey Adatsi and #ESPFAWestMidlands Luke Richards will be enrolling locally at Edge Hill and the University of Wolverhampton respectively whilst #ESPFACheshire’s Quinn Glithero will be moving to the North East to enrol at Durham University.

Harvey has his aims set for what he wants to get achieve at university “My main aim is to earn my degree and get a job within the sports industry and I am looking forward to experiencing a new environment when I begin in September.”

“I have enjoyed my time at the ESPFA. It was great to play football near enough every day and to improve my ability on and off the pitch. My main highlight was reaching the ESPFA Cup final in May with such a good group of lads. I’d recommend the ESPFA to anyone as it is different to any other college and can create more opportunities for yourself.”

Another student who played his last game at the ESPFA in a final was #ESPFACheshire’s Quinn Glithero who played in the 4-0 defeat of ESPFA Derbyshire (Belper Town) in the ESPFA National Grand Final, a game which was a personal highlight of his time on the programme alongside winning the North division.

“I will be attending Durham University where I am looking forward to meeting new people and expanding my knowledge to eventually become a physiotherapist. I would recommend the ESPFA to anyone that wanted to progress with their football and also wanted to learn about sport.”

Luke Richards has thoroughly enjoyed his time at the ESPFA over the last two years and will now progress to the University of Wolverhampton where he hopes to gain the qualifications needed to become a Sports Therapist.

“I really enjoyed my time at the ESPFA as the coaches improved my football ability and the tutors were very knowledgeable and helped me achieve the highest grades I could possibly get. I enjoyed the sports coaching unit as it allowed us to get out on the pitch and experience coaching the other lads on the course.

“I wanted to join the ESPFA to not only get the grades needed to go to university, but it seemed like a fun experience and over the course of the two years it definitely that with a personal highlight scoring a goal after coming back from a long term injury.”

Reflecting on the past two years and his future, Luke has nothing but positive thoughts for both. “I think the ESPFA is a brilliant course if you’re looking to go to university after as it offers very high UCAS points if you put the work in. If you’re looking to improve your physical health and skills on the pitch, I think it’s also a great place to go as the coaches really do try hard and want the best out of everyone who attends.

“I am now looking forward to the start of my course at the University of Wolverhampton so I can get my degree to progress further in life.”

Luke’s fellow ESPFA West Midlands alumni Jamie Bryan will be taking a similar course at the University of Birmingham when he enrols on to their Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences next month.

“I wanted to join the ESPFA since I was in Year 9 when they attended a careers event at my school. I liked the sound of playing football and completing coursework to provide myself with the same chance of going to a good university as people who go to sixth form. My GCSE grades allowed me to have the option of doing pretty much whatever I wanted for further education after school, but I chose the ESPFA as I felt it would be optimal for me which it eventually was.

My time at the ESPFA was fantastic. The team I was with was surrounded by great people who always showed great character throughout the whole course. I am happy to have been part of a great team with two great coaches who helped me to become a better player over both years. We managed to become successful in both years with Rushall Olympic Amber as we won the division and National Championship in the first year and we won the ESPFA Cup in the second year. On the education side, I found myself capable of doing the work to the highest standard possible due to the help from my tutors that I had throughout the course. This overall helped me get into the university that I desired.”

After an enjoyable two years on the programme, Jamie is now looking forward to the next stage of his development to reach his life aims “I’m looking forward to a fresh start, meeting new people and making new connections when I go to university. After finishing my course, I want to be in a position where I am qualified enough to go into a sport related field such as physiotherapy or sports data analysis. Most of the units that we covered at the ESPFA will also be covered in greater detail at university, but I feel that the research project will be the most similar to university as it helped me learn real research skills for the future.”

As previously mentioned, having first interacted with the ESPFA at a school careers event five years ago, Luke has some words of wisdom for anyone in a similar position now looking for something to progress to after secondary education “I would tell anyone thinking to join the ESPFA that if they prefer to do practical work alongside theory and do not like the idea of exams, then they should definitely consider joining the ESPFA for their benefit.”

Other Alumni in the West Midlands, Enoch Danso and Paul Akinbode will be progressing to Nottingham Trent University and Birmingham City University to study Sports Science and Coaching and Sports Coaching and Performance respectively.

Enoch joined the ESPFA when his friend recommended it to him and has enjoyed his time on the programme. “It has been a nice experience and I have enjoyed being in the group. I had a lot of fun with the lessons and training, and it improved me as a player and student. I would recommend the ESPFA to anyone thinking about it.”

Paul has aspirations of becoming a PE teacher or a Sports Coach and his experience at the ESPFA will stand him in good stead at university “Most of the units that we covered on the course will also be covered in greater detail at university, but I feel that the research project will be the most similar to university as it helped me learn real research skills for the future.

“I enjoyed the Sports coaching units as I was able to take over my own sessions for the group which will help towards what I eventually want to be. The first year was enjoyable and very entertaining, playing a different style of football and learning new skills, I enjoyed playing with the group I was with and the coach. He helped with the things I was struggling with. However, the second year was tough, the work was much harder, but help was given from my tutor whenever i needed it. One thing I took out of the sessions was the ABC, which is the angles, body, checks which is good skills to have.”

Having completed further education, Paul recommends the ESPFA to those starting their own journey soon “I think the ESPFA is a brilliant course if you’re looking to go to university after as it offers very high UCAS points if you put the work in. If you’re looking to improve your physical health and skills on the pitch, I think it’s also a great place to go as the coaches really do try hard and want the best out of everyone who attends.”

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.

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:

Leslie Gumede (#ESPFADerbyshire) – University of Northampton

Samie Naqvi (#ESPFADeryshire) - University of Derby

Ephraim Yombo (#ESPFADerbyshire) - University of Northampton

Sancho Ayodeji-Ansell (#ESPFANottinghamshire) - UCFB

Tiago Mata (#ESPFANottinghamshire) - Nottingham Trent Uni

Madisen Pipe (#ESPFANottinghamshire) - University College Birmingham

Dominic Price (#ESPFANottinghamshire) - Nottingham Trent University

Josh Davenport (#ESPFADerbyshire) - University of Derby

Connor Easom (#ESPFADerbyshire) - University of Stirling

Conor Power (#ESPFADerbyshire) - UCFB

Dylan Samaringa (#ESPFADerbyshire) - Birmingham City University

William Faulkner (#ESPFACheshire) - Manchester Metropolitan University

Joseph Finney (#ESPFACheshire) - John Moores University or Edge Hill University

Kayden Lowbridge (#ESPFAWestMidlands) - University of Wolverhampton

Elias Myers (#ESPFAWestMidlands) - University of Wolverhampton

Ellias Nianzou (#ESPFAWestMidlands) - Newman University

Ben Carlson (#ESPFALancashire) - Edge Hill University

Dominic Evans (#ESPFALancashire) - Edge Hill University

Calvin Haddock (#ESPFALancashire) - Wrexham Glyndwr University

Ryan Hunt (#ESPFALancashire) - Edge Hill University

Lewis Jenkinson (#ESPFALancashire) - Edge Hill University

Harry Caulkin (#ESPFACheshire) - UCFB

Michail Eleftheriadis (#ESPFACheshire) - UCFB

Quinn Glithero (#ESPFACheshire) - Durham University

Jack Sandbach (#ESPFACheshire) - University of Chester

Zach Williams (#ESPFACheshire) - UCFB

Harry Woodham (#ESPFACheshire) - UCFB

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