As a BA (Hons) Football Coaching (Blended) student, Sam Pateman studies the majority of this degree online through UCFB’s dedicated Online Hub, with two weeks of each academic year at our Wembley Campus.

The flexibility of studying online enables Sam to maintain two part-time jobs alongside his degree, one of which involves working as a coach at Leighton Town FC. Here, he shares how he’s risen to the challenge and why online learning was the only option for him…

Tell us about how your BA (Hons) Football Coaching (Blended) degree works and some of the highlights so far.

The degree is split into modules, in which we have assignments to complete on certain topics within each module. For example, last year we had Mental Wealth as a module and on the flip side we had a practical module where we were assessed on our coaching delivery and understanding.

Some of the highlights of the degree so far are simply meeting new people with a common interest and networking with fellow professionals whether online, through meeting them in person or taking part in the events put on by UCFB.

You also work as a Coach at Leighton Town FC and have another job on top of this. How have you balanced these roles alongside your degree?

I set myself targets that I want to achieve and the only way to do this is to maintain my own standards. With that in mind, I understand that I have to sacrifice certain luxuries in life. It was my birthday recently, I woke up at 05:30am, got to work for 06:30am, did a full shift until around 16:30pm, went home briefly to get changed and eat, then went straight to football for training with Leighton Town FC.

That is the reality of an aspiring football coach, one that I don’t begrudge. The degree alongside this is going to propel me forwards, or that is the plan at least, so it is easy for me to manage my time and organise myself to provide the balance needed to succeed.

What is the main advantage of primarily studying your degree online?

The main advantage for me is I set my own pace and I work to my strengths when it comes to the degree, whilst still being allowed the freedom to earn a living and travel in my daily life. As I said before it is not an easy lifestyle because I am 100mph always but it’s an opportunity that I wouldn’t necessarily have if the online degree wasn’t an option.

You worked for several years before starting your degree programme. What inspired you to study for a degree at this point?

I never really enjoyed school from an academic perspective, hence why I never did a degree beforehand. However, the opportunity to further my career in the industry I want to work in, whilst still earning a living was one that I couldn’t turn down at this stage of my life. Knowing people that have been successful through UCFB also helped with my decision to do this for myself.

You also attended the 2022 GIS Miami Summit. Tell us about this experience and what you learnt about the sports industry.

I had a fantastic experience in Miami and created memories for life. Meeting new people, experiencing the environments that I want to work in and getting the insight into what is to come if I work hard enough were all major positives to come from the experience.

What I learned was it is important to dream big and work hard to achieve it. Stepping out of your comfort zone often and making sure you are a name everyone talks about and respects within your profession is very clear to me since listening to the guest speakers.

What was your favourite part of the Summit?

I have many stories from the summit that contribute to an amazing experience, so it is hard to pinpoint one specific favourite part. I would just say that I have met people that I know I will work with for years to come and had some great advice from industry professionals that really inspire me to go on and achieve what I want in life. Also, culturally Miami is an amazing place, so I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the summit.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to study a Blended degree at UCFB?

My advice is simple. Do your research and make sure you understand what you are signing up to. The course itself is extremely insightful and enjoyable. You must be able to manage your time well and remember to enjoy it. All the help is there from the staff should you need it, so if you feel like it is right for you, go for it.