Does this sound familiar to you?
“Mum, dad! I think I want to try and make it as a professional footballer. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do!”
The decision to send your child to school in the UK is a huge thing to contemplate for any parent. However, when your son or daughter tells you that it’s their dream to become a professional footballer, whilst you may not doubt their sincerity, you worry whether this achievable and at what price to their education. As parents we really want to give our children the best opportunities in life. We want them to have the chance to do anything that they want to do, be whatever they want to be. But, chasing a career as a professional footballer can come at a high price; there are so many young players chasing so few available places in youth academies. Even when signed by a club and training with their academy, thousands of young players are “released” (dismissed) from academies every year. Having to pick yourself up and reflect on the next best step with two or three wasted years behind you would be hard enough for the most mature of adults. The effect of this on a young person can be difficult to recover from.
That’s why at IH Manchester we offer young people the genuine opportunity to be the best they can at football, to take their game as they can. However, at IHM Football Academy we never allow a young player to compromise their education. Academic achievement and progress is given equal value to performance on the pitch. Through mentoring and tutorials every player will be encouraged to formulate a realistic “Plan B”, a career pathway via higher education that can be pursued right from the off. This often in a football or sport related field eg. sports coaching, sports performance analysis or sport physiotherapy, but this approach ensures that every player is working towards his or her Plan B as they receive the best training and scouting opportunities to take their football to the next level.
The following is an interview with a mother of one of our IHM squad, currently studying full-time and boarding at Ellesmere College. Emmy talks about her experiences having taken the decision to enrol her son Julian at IHM Football Academy at the school.
Contrast this with a video interview with her son, Julian, as he talks about his experience of training and studying full-time at a top UK boarding school.
- What are your experiences of IHM Football Academy?
“This is our first year with IHM. We are very satisfied about the way IHM is working with the players and parent. Especially, in the beginning of the season, as it was all new and I had a lot of questions. When I emailed or phoned IHM, I immediately received an answer or they would tell me they are working on it. Nothing was too much.”
- What do you think IHM Football Academy has done for your son?
“For my son it was very important to train and play football at a professional level: professional training and coaching. His coach, David Raven, has given Julian a lot of confidence by giving him technical, as well as emotional related advices. He always took time for Julian!”
- How did your son feel about IHM, what were his thoughts about his time with us?
“My son is very satisfied with the way IHM works. They really try to help him to reach his goals in football.”
- What were the staff like at IHM? Did you feel that they were good role models?
“The staff at IHM, whether in the office or on the pitch, are always very friendly, supportive and professional.”
- What effect has your son’s participation at IHM had on his football?
“This is not easy to answer, as I haven’t seen him playing for a long time, but our son is very positive about his progress and he is, as ever, still very enthusiastic about training and playing football with IHM.”
- Why would you recommend IHM to another parent?
“Having your child abroad, knowing he is in good hands and taken seriously, is very comforting. IHM ensures there is a good balance between the academic and sporting requirements. They also provide advice and organise information events on the possibilities of combining football with university ambitions.”
Here you can watch Emmy’s son, Julian, talk about his experiences of his first year at an IHM Football Academy.
If you would like to know how IHM Football Academy can help your son or daughter follow their football dream, whilst also continuing to work towards higher education, contact us now to chat or with any questions.