If you’re thinking about planning for a future outside of the game and wondering how you can combine football and studying then the FIFPro Online Degree could be the answer.
The FIFPro Online Academy – an education programme launched in 2011 and specifically developed for professional footballers (and other athletes) – is looking for new students for the 2015/16 season.
Next Wednesday, the World Players’ Union will reach a special milestone with the graduations of the first graduates from its Online Academy at a special ceremony in FIFPro House near Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
At the same time, FIFPro and all player unions across Europe are inviting a new crop of plyers to sign up for the 2015-2016 class of the FIFPro Online Academy.
PFA Scotland currently has four Scottish players studying at the Online Academy – Dunfermline’s Andrew Barrowman, currently in his second year, and Scott Boyd (Ross County), Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton) and Marc Waters (Partick Thistle) who are half way through their first year.
Last year Andrew did a 12 week internship at PFA Scotland as part of his studies and would recommend it to fellow pros.
He said: “The FIFPro Online Academy provides me with a unique platform for a very flexible and versatile mode of learning, it allows me to tailor my studies around my busy and ever-changing schedule as a professional footballer.
“The specialised methods used to deliver the education have enabled me to work towards earning a Sports Management degree without any disruption to my football career.
“I have been a student of the FIFPro Online Academy for almost two years now and despite working as an online student I have never felt detached or without support at any point throughout this period, this is due to the ever-present help and guidance provided to all students.
“I am so glad I chose to join the FIFPro Online Academy as not only have I learned a great deal through my studies, but I have also made friendships and connections with people from all over Europe that will hopefully be of benefit to me in my future potential career path.
“I would highly recommend the FIFPro Online Academy to any professional sports person who is looking to prepare for their future after their current career comes to an end.”
Education ranks highly on FIFPro’s priority list. An average career as a professional footballer is a short one compared to a ‘regular’ workers career.
The average length is approximately 8 years, which implies that for many pros a career will only last a couple of years. Most professional footballers will retire at the age of 35 or earlier and almost all of them will need a new career, because only a handful of footballers end their careers as multimillionaires.
A proper education is crucial to begin a new career and earn a living.
“That’s why we launched the FIFPro Online Academy”, says Frederique Winia, FIFPro Online Academy Manager. “As a players’ union, we also have the obligation to help our members – our professional footballers – prepare for life after their active playing career”.
Many professional footballers would like to combine their active football career with education. FIFPro has developed an educational programme with Danish University UCN, which is particularly appropriate for footballers to be able to follow alongside their football career: the FIFPro Online Academy. This offers a Sport Management programme which takes approximately 7 semesters (3-1/2 years) before the students receive their BA degree in Sports Management.
The FIFPro Online Academy is a virtual class with a real teacher. Lessons are recorded and can be watched online at any time. This gives the students all the freedom to study when it suits them best.
There are currently, more than 100 students from all over Europe following the programme.
Anyone interested in joining Andrew, Scott, Ziggy and Marc at the FIFPro Online Academy should contact Michelle Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07796 171490. Students can subscribe until July 1st.