Being released by a professional club is undoubtedly a challenging time for any player and when Dominic Kennedy was informed by St Mirren that there was no offer of a new contract he faced such a testing period.
Having spent last season on loan at Dumbarton and still retaining a fierce ambition to pursue a career within football Dominic quickly began to explore other possibilities. He approached PFA Scotland for guidance and was advised to attend our Annual Careers Day on 25th April 2012.
To his credit Dominic was very open minded as to what information and opportunities may be available on the day and as a result began the process of securing a place in the Nike Academy, a year long football academy based at Loughborough University.
Speaking to PFA Scotland, Dominic explained how this new challenge arose. “At the Careers Day, the Nike Academy presented on their plans for the 2012/13 season. I was impressed by the Academy and spoke to the Head Coach who was in attendance, asking some further questions not covered in the presentation. The Head Coach spoke to me about my career to date and took my contact details, while I completed an initial application form. I was then invited to go down to Loughborough University for a fitness test and trial games, and I was also provided with full details of the programme and a tour of the University facilities which are accessible to the Academy.”
“I passed the fitness test and then played three trial matches. While I was travelling back to Scotland I was contacted to inform me that I had successfully progressed to the next trial stage and was to attend Loughborough the following week to play three more games. It was after this second set of matches that I was delighted to be offered a place by the Academy.”
Although Dominic had shown tremendous character and ability in participating in the application process the next test was in making the decision to move to England and attempt to progress his career through the Academy. However for Dominic the decision was an easy one as he explained ”I had been extremely impressed by all aspects of the Nike Academy from the very beginning. The facilities at Loughborough are exceptional and all the coaching staff are very professional. Their main objective is to provide me with all the necessary help I need to secure a professional contract. I decided that the Nike Academy were offering a great opportunity and therefore accepted their offer of a full time residential place at the Academy.”
“I will be living in the student accommodation at the University and training five days a week, while we play one or two games a week against professional teams from across the UK and Europe. These games are attended by scouts from a variety of clubs and countries looking to pick up new talent.”
Dominic’s time at the Academy also focuses on preparation for life outside football and he will shortly begin academic studies which will supplement the Highers and sport studies qualifications he already has.
By his own admission Dominic is still determined to become an established first team player at a professional club and make a career in football, and taking on the new challenge presented by the Nike Academy is a positive step in the direction of achieving these ambitions.
Dominic was positive and pro-active in the face of the disappointment felt by leaving St Mirren and PFA Scotland is delighted that he has benefited in such a manner from our Careers Day and wish him every success during his time at the Academy.