High Profile Guest Panel Announced

By: Steve Sutcliffe |
15/03/13 |
Dougie Freedman

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman (PA Photos)

Athletics, Football and Rugby Union will have places of prominence on the panel of guests at Create Your Legacy (CYL) 2013.

Double Olympic Gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes will attend from the athletics world. Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Matt Holland, Reading striker Jason Roberts and Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman will be present for football while Rugby Union will be represented by former Wasps and England flanker Tom Rees and the England Women’s captain Sarah Hunter.

Around 1,000 footballers from 70 professional clubs and other elite athletes will visit the event held at The Football Association’s state-of-the-art training facility at St George’s Park, Burton.

And while Roy Hodgson’s England squad train at the same complex just a few hundred yards away ahead of their World Cup qualifying matches with San Marino and Montenegro, there will be a very different focus at CYL – planning for life after sport.

Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes has already made the evolution from full-time athlete to working across a number of roles in the media, sport and voluntary sectors:

“I know how hard it can be to transition from being a full-time athlete to entering normal life,” said Holmes, who retired from Athletics in 2005.

“The event at St George’s Park is about helping others make the same switch. We hope that by providing a day like this, our elite sport performers will take advantage of the contacts they make and improve their knowledge, self-belief and understanding of the opportunities that are open to them.”

Dame Kelly Holmes & Matt Holland

Former Eire midfielder Holland, added: “It’s a fantastic day and something that wasn’t available when I was a youngster at West Ham United. Being a professional footballer is a short-term career. So many players fall by the wayside as teenagers and even the majority of those that do make the grade will have to plan for when they retire. CYL aims to address that by providing players with options and ideas about what they might do after football.”

“In my late twenties I started doing more and more media work, I got my coaching badges and made sure I left as many doors open as possible because I was conscious that I needed a back-up plan,” continued Holland, who now works as a broadcaster on TV and Radio.