The University of Salford has teamed up with Championship football club Leeds United to create an online degree in football studies.
The new, three-year Applied Football Studies BSc (Hons) is delivered entirely online, and covers key areas of the football industry.
These include leadership, talent development and psychology, practical business skills, contemporary issues such as the development of the women’s game, opportunities for BAME coaches and financial fair play, as well as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the football industry.
It is aimed at players and people in player-facing roles, and is specifically intended to offer a route for academy players to develop skills and knowledge that could support their career prospects if they do not make it in the professional game.
Unfortunately, a lot of academy players won’t make it as professionals, but with this course we can help them grow skills and have the chance of developing a successful career afterwards
Official figures show that of the 1.5 million boys who play organised youth football in England just 0.012% will play in the Premier League. Football clubs have been criticised in the past for not offering enough support to young academy players who do not receive a professional contract.
Unlike traditional degrees, which are difficult for academy players to commit to because of training and matches, the new degree, which was created with the support of football and education consultancy Ahead in Sport, is designed to fit around students’ other commitments.
“This is an incredibly innovative course, that will create a bridge for people who want to realise their ambition to work in sport,” said Angus Kinnear, chief executive of Leeds United Football Club.
“It can be difficult for us to recruit people with the right skill set and this course will hopefully bridge that gap and provide people with the right skills to thrive.
“And it is a fact that, unfortunately, a lot of academy players won’t make it as professionals, but with this course we can help them grow skills and have the chance of developing a successful career afterwards.”
Nicola McCullough, programme leader from The University of Salford Business School added: “Working directly with industry providers is key to our mission at the University of Salford.
“We’re aiming to create the next generation of worldwide football leaders with the skills, and the fact that the course is entirely online is perfect for the times we are in.”