Twenty year old Ashley Crank is another great example of why education is important in any footballer’s career.
He joined Stockport County FC as a nine year old schoolboy and became a full-time Apprentice at sixteen. Alongside playing for the Hatters youth team, Ashley studied for his Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (ASE) in a classroom at Edgeley Park.
“I had a great teacher who pushed all the Apprentices to do their education. I wanted to concentrate on my training and it was tough to accept that studies were important.”
“I have to credit my tutor and Craig Skinner from LFE who, between them, ensured I got my head down and took it seriously. Support like that is invaluable within the sport and without them I wouldn’t have the chances I have today.”
Three months before the end of his Apprenticeship, Ashley broke his leg resulting in his release from the club. When he regained full fitness he played in Denmark for a couple of months before returning to the UK to work.
Crank has now decided it’s the right time to take up the place, originally offered to him at 18, to study and play football in the States.
September will see Ashley studying for a degree in Business and playing football for Webber International University in the Florida Conference League before hopefully playing in the internationals.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to study and play in the States. Football is everything to me and having the chance to play every day whilst studying for a degree is great. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t completed the ASE programme, the importance of which was brought home to me by my injury!”
“It’s a huge relief to know I worked hard to concentrate when all I really wanted to do was train, now I can’t wait to get out to the States and start the next chapter.”