Combining higher education with elite football

More young players can balance their studies with playing the beautiful game thanks to the excellent work of the department for schools, university and college football of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

©FAI

More young players can balance their studies with playing the beautiful game thanks to the excellent work of the department for schools, university and college football of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). Led by national coordinator Mark Scanlon, the department has been able to introduce a professional structure to college and university football throughout the country, and more players are signing up as a result.

At a recent exhibition, representatives of 17 colleges or universities were given the chance to speak to prospective students, fellow administrators and football coaches about what they can offer. One of the perks for students is that they can obtain an education while playing elite-level football in the republic’s men’s or women’s leagues. Players can also aspire to be selected for the World University Games. “A very important focus for us at the FAI is the holistic development of young players, and we were delighted to be able to organise this exhibition for the players to learn more about their third-level [higher education] options,” Scanlon said.

“All 64 players who are representing their provinces this weekend are playing at a high level as well as studying for their leaving certificates, and it is important for them to start thinking about their future careers. We are keen to promote the importance of education as well as the scholarships that are available here in Ireland for young students playing at elite level,” he added.

“Choosing your third-level course is a very important decision so we encourage players to really think about what they would like to do in their careers, research the different courses available and make the decision that’s right for their future,” he concluded. Combining higher education and elite football is a win-win situation all round.

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct 174

 

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