Schalke coach Felix Magath might think educating young footballers is a waste of time but former Cheltenham Town striker-turned entrepreneur Julian Alsop disagrees.
Magath hit the headlines last week when he told 17-year-old Julian Draxler “did not need the high graduation diploma anymore.”
But Alsop, now playing for Bishops Cleeve in the Zameretto South and West, is using his own experience of life after full-time football to help players after they hang up their boots and says more needs to be done to support young players and prepare them for life outside the game.
After 20 years as a pro Alsop had no idea what he could do when his full-time playing days came to an end.
“There was no one to turn to for help or advice,” he said. “I eventually chose to take an Access to Higher Education course at my local college. This enabled me to gain enough UCAS points to enrol on a degree course for Accounting and Financial Management, which I am pleased to say I completed with Honours.”
After graduation and after some discussion with other ex-players Alsop said it became clear that there was no real guidance or help available to others in his situation so he set up Footballerscareers.
“The website offers current and ex-players a mentoring programme where you can learn basic computer skills, CV writing skills and job interview techniques,” he explained. “And if you want to take it further, we can get you partnered up with our accredited training providers. We can even provide you with the training you need to start your own business.
“The site also offers non-career related advice and information to help with your transition from footballer to ex-player, such as a basic understanding of finance, mortgages, life insurance and injury insurance.”
Although Magath has been outspoken about his views on education there are some European teams, most notably Barcelona (LINK), who do believe footballers need to learn more than patterns of play, passing drills and penalties.
Alsop, though, believes there is still much work to do in the English game to support the hundreds of young professional players who are released from top flight clubs each year or who see their career curtailed through injury.
He said: “I don’t feel there is enough support out there for players coming to the end of their career from PFA and also the football clubs themselves.
“A player will leave a club at the end of his contract and then it is up to the agent to fix up his next club if that fails – welcome to the real world.
“The PFA offers financial support in paying for courses but that’s it. Footballerscareers aims to give the player the training needed and through other sources get the player into a work that’s why we only offer short number of courses as I have set up the players up with the possibility of work after their training.
“My advice to a young player, say one at a league club, would be to plan for my next career after football after all you could be playing great break a leg take a year to recover and find out its no good you will of least have plan to fall back on.”
For more details on Footballers Careers visit www.footballerscareers.com