Posted 1 years ago

Soccer General

Trent Alexander-Arnold's advice for aspiring footballers

Trent Alexander-Arnold's advice for aspiring footballers
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The England international and Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold has launched a new initiative aimed at providing careers for footballers who don't make it as professionals.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has spoken previously of the need for more support for those who come through the academy system but fail to make the grade as top-level professionals and has now launched 'The After Academy,' an initiative that aims to provide help and support, as well as career opportunities, for such youngsters.

For all the success stories of academy graduates starring in the Premier League, there are countless more forced to leave the game after failing to earn a professional contract.

Those who spend their youth in top academies can see their education impacted, with knock-on effects on career prospects after giving up on their football dream.

Alexander-Arnold is one of a number of Premier League stars to have come out of the academy system and made it to the very top, but the majority of youngsters aren't as successful. The 24-year-old has made reference to this when explaining his motivation to set up 'The After Academy.'

Statistics published in a release announcing the launch of The After Academy lay bare the challenges facing academy talents.

Just one of every six players offered a scholarship aged 16 is still playing professional football at 21, while more than 99% of those who join an academy aged nine will not make it as a pro.

Trent is an academy success story, but he is the exception to the rule, with over 99% of those who sign for an academy aged 9 not making it as a professional footballers. 

Widely cited research showed that, even of those who make it into the elite scholarship programme at 16, five out of six are not playing professional football at 21. These players, who have spent their formative years with football as their main ambition, have often made sacrifices that have impacted their education and other career pathways.

Trent credits his career to his years at an academy, having grown through the ranks of the Liverpool FC Academy before breaking into the first team and winning the Premier League, Champions League, and The FA Cup for his childhood club. 

However, his time at the Academy showed him the other side of the system too, seeing first-hand the effect that being released can have on those who don't make it.

There are many organizations working in the UK today to tackle some of these issues including the PFA, Premier League, and The FA, who provide support with education and well-being, but through 'The After Academy,' Trent hopes to provide a new way of thinking about post-academy career pathways. 

The programme will focus on the issue of career prospects by providing options for a new path for those players who don't make it as professional footballers, allowing them to utilize their transferable skills developed in the academy.

Trent's club, Liverpool FC, is leading the push for continued improvements in the academy system, with their alumni project ensuring ongoing support for former players.

As a key supporter of the initiative, Liverpool FC will work with The After Academy through its alumni programme.

Trent is also working with his partners, including Red Bull, Under Armour, and Therabody, to offer opportunities as part of The After Academy initiative including jobs, work placements, and internships across various departments.

The PFA will join The After Academy as a supporting partner. As a body that regularly works to support former academy players, the PFA will not only ensure these opportunities get in front of the right people but are further equipped to provide education, career, and well-being counseling for all former scholars.

Enter the After Academy

In conjunction with the PFA, its primary focus will be supporting ex-academy players from all clubs into sports-related careers.

The project will identify and partner with employers to create jobs that acknowledge and make use of the transferable skills academies equip you with. The hope is to offer a route to an alternative, attractive future for young men at a time when they might otherwise feel helpless.

This is the first phase of a major undertaking by Alexander-Arnold. He isn't just attaching his name to a campaign, or throwing cash at a cause. He sees it as a responsibility. 

Alexander-Arnold statement

I tell my story and people react by saying, 'Wow, it's so special, blah blah blah.' But there were 16 of us on the same journey in my year. And I'm the only name you know. The rest just got forgotten. I feel I have a duty to make sure these lads are heard and supported. It could have so easily been me.

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