Former Morecambe FC apprentice Dan Towers shared the dream of becoming a professional footballer with thousands of other Academy prospects up and down the country.
For Towers, the professional contract he had been yearning for never came, and whilst it was disappointing, his journey to where he is today highlights the opportunities available for former apprentices to forge a career in the industry,
All apprentices enrol on a two-year BTEC course and, as part of the newly developed SEP Programme, study different areas of the game, including strength and conditioning, human anatomy and analysis. Apprentices also gain a UEFA C coaching qualification as part of the programme.
Dan Towers was on Morecambe’s books between 2013-2015, but has since turned his focus towards a career as an Analyst.
“I’m into my second year now at the University of Salford,” Towers explains.
“I’ve had a year-and-a-half’s experience with England’s Amputee Football Team, we’ve been to the European Championships in Krakow in September, finishing fifth which is quite disappointing, but it goes a long way to say I didn’t think I’d be doing that maybe a year-and-a-half ago.”
Additionally, the 25-year-old is currently working within the analysis department at Sky Bet League Two side Oldham Athletic, an area of the sport he wants to pursue after graduating.
“With Oldham Athletic, there’s been maybe four or five different managers within the last six months that I’ve been there, so in terms of experiences and different learning environments, it’s right up there,” Towers adds.
“There’s the one analyst in Jimmy that works full-time and he does the pre-match, the post-match, during-the-match, and I help out as an intern, learning the ropes within that.
“I really like the opposition stuff, watching an opposition team, seeing what formation they play, strengths, weaknesses, trends, how we can overcome that, what have we got that’d look good in that and focussing on how we can beat that side rather than, if we were to play an opposition, they’re really good at this and this, it’s more about our side and what we can do to overcome that.
“I’m a bit more of a visual person, so creating all the transitions over the videos and trying to make it visual for players and quite simplistic, kind of like the Monday Night Football visuals that show players what’s expected from them.”
Reflecting on his time in the Shrimps youth team, Towers admits that the educational side of the game is vitally important.
“In hindsight, 25-year-old me looking back really thanks the tutors, Gary Kelly and Ian Jones, who we had at the time, for the pushing and the prodding that we needed to try and get the assignments and the work in,” he adds.
“Having that educational background from the tutors at the college and being pushed by Wainy [Neil Wainwright] and (Stewart Drummond] Drummy in the Academy to do it, if the work wasn’t up to scratch or your NVQ or your BTEC wasn’t in, then you didn’t play on a weekend, it was as simple as that, or you’d miss training to go and do it.
“It was education first because them two had been through it themselves haven’t they, they’ve played a lot of League games themselves, so they know the realities of professional football I suppose.”
Story by Morecambe FC