Dual Career: A pathway to
Professional-ism (Age 16 – 21)

Dual Career: A pathway to Professional-ism (Age 16 – 21)

Career Pathways with Doncaster Elite

At Doncaster Elite we provide a framework that can be used by players, parents, and education/football staff to highlight all opportunities that are available within education and football, while pin-pointing key support services at each time-point. Each individual’s dual career pathway is different. We provide a model that can support players in navigating their various transitions successfully and finding the dual career pathway that is most suitable to them.

  • Girls Football Academy

We are proud to introduce our dual career pathway.

A dual career is the combination of an athletic career with education and/or work.

A dual career is:

  • A pathway where sport and education are both valued.
  • Something that players are fully engaged in throughout their teenage years.
  • An opportunity for an individual to reach their sporting, academic, work, and life potential
By engaging in a dual career, players will see the following benefits:

  • Reduced stress through being able to focus on different areas;
  • Opportunity to develop identities in different areas;
  • A more balanced lifestyle;
  • More effective career/sport retirement planning;
  • Higher employability prospects;
  • Increased longevity in the sport.

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Natalie McHale – Anderson
Dual Career graduate and part of Doncaster Elite Alumni

Nat grew up in Doncaster and as a young girl enjoyed playing football with her friends without ever being too obsessed with watching the game. She enjoyed playing and enjoyed the socialising aspect of football.

Nat joined a post 16 education programme in Doncaster organised by Doncaster Elite Head Coach, Ben Mawson and his team.

“I had a great experience, learned the game from fantastic coaches, won national titles and represented my country.”

“Whilst part of the dual career pathway which is now the Football Futures I played football 4 times per week, gained a distinction level education and gained my first coaching licence which helped me to come out here to the USA to firstly study for a degree, play at the highest standard I’d ever experienced and now develop my coaching out here where I and now live and work.”

“I would recommend to anyone wanting to pursue a career in sport to work with Doncaster Elite. They were all a great influence and helped guide my career. I had a great time, made lots of life long friends, won national competitions and it helped me to where I am today as Director of Operations and Girls technical director at Michigan Futbol Academy, Grand Rapids. USA.”

What is it to be a professional?

The following of a profession (such as football) for gain or livelihood.

Professionalism is the conduct, behaviour and attitude of someone in a work or business environment. A person doesn’t have to work in a specific profession to demonstrate the important qualities and characteristics of a professional.

What are the qualities of a professional?

  • Knowing your stuff.
  • Standing for something. This is about ethics and having a moral compass
  • Keeping your word. This is a big one
  • Being honest
  • Supporting others

Many would argue there are a large number of ‘professionals’ in the world of pro football that would make you consider the words professional and football together an oxymoron.

Dare to Dream

We believe that a life in football is and should be allowed to be every young person’s dream. What we challenge is the notion that all efforts should revolve around progression into professional football.

Football education will be the detail, the motivation and the fun element of our experience and at its heart will be a commitment and genuine pathway for EVERY young player in our club into a professional career.

Transferable skills

Many of the skills players develop through football are transferrable into other areas of their life. If the dual career is appropriately supported, these transferrable skills can have positive effects on player’s performance in GCSEs, further education, higher education and in the work environment.

It is highly unlikely for footballers to make a living out of their sport but it is essential that we give every young person a chance to follow their dreams. It is therefore crucial for players to engage in activities that prepare them for a post football career.

This emphasises the importance of engaging in education or personal development during a football career. Engaging in a dual career will not only have short-term benefits for players (e.g. expanded support systems) but will also have significant long-term benefits (e.g. possibility of having a good vocational career and financial stability).

Over the past few years, The Doncaster Elite has been striving to develop a dual career environment in football to offer an alternative to the somewhat antiquated approach of traditional academies in England. At the forefront of this is the continued development of the post 16 and post 18 education offer and routes for career progression. We have education support available for players, particularly for those that are a part of the Leadership Academy.

Career Progression

Our collaborations with Hall Cross School, Doncaster College, Leeds Beckett University, University of South Wales and UK International Soccer allow us to provide guidance on career progression for all young players from the age of 12 on their career path on to University or an apprenticeship in sport. This realistic approach to becoming a pro provides a rounded knowledge of what options are available if the dream doesn’t happen and allows all our players to access courses, workshops and open days at many employers and Universities, some of which have UCAS points attached.