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Player 4 Player Engage With Southampton FC


Being part of a Premier League academy can seem like a dream to any young boy. You are on the pathway to becoming a professional footballer. But the stats show that for the majority this will be as close as they ever come to achieving their ambitions.

Half of those that enter professional football at 16 years of age will no longer be there 2 years later, rising to 75% at 21 years old, according to the PFA. It is not only players in their 30s that need to cope with finding an alternative career path after dedicating themselves to succeeding in football.

And whilst the opportunities and rewards for the few that make it can be huge, there are also pitfalls with many cases of well-known players suffering from bankruptcy, mental health issues and discrimination.

These are the realities that have inspired a collaborative workshop between Southampton FC Academy and Player 4 Player.

Southampton FC have built one of the world’s most renowned youth academies having produced stars such as Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and current club captain James Ward-Prowse. As well as being admired for developing talent they are also recognised for the importance they place on player care and education.

Player 4 Player was founded to provide support for career transitions as well as expert advice and trusted services for players at all stages of their careers. We favour a proactive approach where possible so that players can avoid problems and, having prepared beforehand, have a manageable transition to their careers after they stop playing professionally.

The workshop took the form of an interactive online session with five of our founders speaking with their U18 scholars. They provided their experiences and were asked questions about issues where the youngsters wanted former professionals’ advice and perspectives. Some of the topics covered included the importance of education, racial equality, how to impress coaches and the highs and lows of a playing career.

Player 4 Player Founder Stiliyan Petrov

“We really enjoyed engaging with the young players and look forward to working with Southampton FC and other clubs going forward to help players build fulfilling and rewarding futures, whether that be within or outside of football”

Ian Herding Southampton FC Performance Education and Life Care Officer

“The session was really engaging and the Scholars that had the opportunity to listen were thoroughly engaged. It was great to hear a different perspective on academy life as well as being able to discuss key topics that are in football currently. Our thanks go to those at Player 4 Player for their time and honest conversation. We look forward to working with them again in the future”
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