Harnessing a passion for football whilst continuing in full-time education

It can be tough for both parents and students when 16+ exam results don’t turn out as expected. But it’s never the end of the world. You’d hoped for the results that would lead to university entrance, but both you and your child ended up disappointed come the morning that the exam results are published. What are we going to do now?

You’ve worried about your child’s passion for football interfering with his or her studies in those crucial years leading up to the exams, but they enjoy their sport, play in various teams and you wanted to encourage them to stay involved. Your child never seemed fully engaged when discussing post 16 education choices and higher education pathways, but they’ve always talked enthusiastically about making it as a professional footballer…

“Dream on!” you may be forgiven for thinking. “What are the chances of THAT happening?”

However, by now you may have reluctantly come to understand that your hopes for your child’s education don’t necessarily match theirs nor their academic potential. Or is it simply that they just don’t share your ambition and aspirations for a certain future career? Whatever the real reason, there is no need to lose hope. There are plenty of valid career pathways that may suit your child better. We all know just how much we can achieve when we are fired up and excited about a project. We’d move heaven and earth to make things happen when we have a genuine intrinsic passion for what we are trying to achieve.
Often, a good post exam result educational counselling session can lead to a slight realignment of goals, but once your child buys into the new pathway, the effect on their personal motivation can be exceptional. Not all young people are suited to a purely academic pathway post 16 years. Pushing them down this route can simply lead to bigger disappointments down the line. How more demoralising it is for a child to fail to perform at exams at 18+. The choices and alternatives available then will be even more limited, the effect on your child’s self-esteem more damaging.

Some young people just respond better to a more vocational approach to post 16 years education. When they see that what they cover in class is directly relevant to a career that they feel genuinely excited about, the difference in engagement can be massive. At IHM Football Academy, the Level 3 BTEC in Sport Performance is one such full-time educational route, post 16, that can allow aspiring young footballers to continue to explore their playing potential, whilst at the same time working towards a widely recognised qualification that can lead to university entrance in both the UK and USA. The morning BTEC classes are led by Head Coach, Matt, and cover topics that have direct relevance to the training ground: The Principles of Anatomy & Physiology in Sport, The Physiology of Fitness, Fitness Training & Programming, Fitness Testing in Sport and Exercise and Psychology for Sport Performance. With the Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma, student players can progress to undergraduate degree programmes in Sport Coaching, Sport Business & Marketing and Sport Management.

It may be that your child did achieve good exam grades at 16+, but is still desperate to pursue a career in football in order see how far they could go as a professional player. This can present a similarly tough dilemma for parents and students alike. However, IHM also runs a full-time football academy for Abbey College Manchester, a high performing independent school in Manchester city centre, which enables students a choice of two A level combinations: Business, Maths & Economics or 3 from Biology, Chemistry, Maths & Physics.

Rasheeq, age 17 years from Malaysia is studying for his A levels at Abbey College Manchester and training with IHM Football Academy each afternoon. He sums it up best when he says:
“I’m doing well in my exams, in my studies. My teachers are always congratulating me. They keep me very motivated.
Having football and studying at the same time, it keeps me motivated. You study in the morning and then you know you have training in the afternoon.”

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