Cardiff Metropolitan University Director of Football Christian Edwards has said that LFE’s Assessment Trials ensure higher education institutions procure talented players onto their degree and football programmes, providing mutual benefits for both parties.
Over 10 per cent of apprentices go into HE each year, whether in the UK or abroad with the attraction of academic study coupled with good quality football, attractive to many.
Speaking to LFETV, Edwards credited the event, which provides Universities the chance to watch, contact and attract former apprentices.
“They’ve been excellent for us,” he said. “The pool of players that we traditionally pick from are quite limited, but coming to the exit trials have been very exciting.
“It’s given us a different pool of players to look at and players with ability that we think can strengthen our University setup.
“We’ve highlighted and targeted a few players that we’d like to look at and maybe hopefully speak with, but it’s really being able to sell our programme to them which is very hard and it’s important that we’re here at all these type of opportunities to get the best players playing for our team.”
Key to that is the wider life opportunities that academic qualifications can provide to young players who have just fallen short of earning a professional deal, though the level of football is also critically important according to Edwards.
He added: “We’re a unique programme in the UK, this year we’re crowned British University champions and we also have a Saturday programme which we play in the Welsh Premier League.
“We’ve qualified for Europe so that’s the unique selling point that we have. Although these players can stay at pro clubs, which is great, we offer them education, a good degree programme and the ability to go on and play in Europe, which probably they wouldn’t have if they stayed at their current clubs.
“It’s important for the players to get a second chance but it’s also important for myself as Director of Football at a University to look to strengthen our squad. It makes our football club programme stronger, it allows us to attract more students and everybody is then really happy with the product and process that’s gone on here with the trials.
“This is our first year of attending it, we’ll certainly be back and I think it’s been an excellent exercise. We get to see what the academy system is like and how that academy system can eventually feed into our own programme.”
To watch the interview, click the link below: