Casian Anghel graduated from UCFB's Football Academy this summer in BA (Hons) Football, Coaching and Management. He has since gone on to play professional football for Leganes FC, in Spain.

 Tell us about your Experience at the UCFB Football Academy Etihad Manchester?

Personally, it’s been a great experience and everyone there can confirm this, because it was easy to notice that I truly enjoyed being part of the academy. I believe the academy itself is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to keep chasing their dream while studying a degree. For us, the players, it was great because we had access to some facilities we didn’t have at our non-league clubs. Examples for that would include: a physio being available 5 days a week for our needs; an hour of performance analysis every week; Hudl game review, GPS tracking even in training sessions and a S&C coach who would be happy to help us get extra gym sessions during the week. Another positive aspect for me was the coaching staff who were very professional in everything they did, and they looked at us, the players, from a development perspective. It was great to have coaches there who were not only looking for results but also seeking individual improvement from all of us because that, ultimately, was making us win games. Overall, the UCFB Academy offered us everything we needed to focus on playing football and help us achieve our dreams.

Tell us about the Day to Day football Programme?

We used to train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am until 11am. Wednesday used to be the game day. University lectures were carefully organised in a way that would make all the players able to attend their lectures without missing any. Most days we would go straight to the lectures for about 2 to 4 hours and the commuting was less than a 15-minute drive which was great. After that we would end up in the library or we would train again with our non-league clubs. I consider the university was allowing us enough time through this programme to carry on with our studies and even work part-time roles, which I did.

You were previously in the UCFB First team squad that went unbeaten and were crowned champions of the 2019-2020 season/ what was that experience like?

It was a great experience but, honestly, since the first day I stepped into training I could notice the winning mentality of the whole group. From day one we had clear objectives and the whole academy knew how to help us get there. I also knew that no other university in our league was offering anything near to what UCFB Academy was giving us in terms of facilities. We worked hard for the whole season to go unbeaten and win the league, but a big part of this was the coaching staff who had a vision from the start and implemented their philosophy very well in just a few weeks. Obviously, having access to a physiotherapist five days a week and the sessions done with the S&C through the season were a big advantage too.

Tell us how your Football Coaching & Management degree at UCFB set you up for the role. What skills did you develop on the course?

To be honest, for the first few months at UCFB I was a bit concerned that I didn’t make the right decision by choosing to study instead of fully focusing on playing football. But then, I started to enjoy the information I was given through our modules and I began to understand the coach more clearly. In my second year, I had a motivation boost that came from one of the guest speakers, David Moyes, who said that while he was playing he started to work on his UEFA Coaching Licenses so he could become a better player. After that, I realised how much I can use the knowledge from the course in my playing career. Overall, I consider I developed not only a variety of skills, but myself as a person through the course, too. It helped me develop my ability to lead and it made me have more empathy to the person next to me which I believe is vital in coaching or playing. Also, it made me aware of amazing tools which elite clubs are using for performance analysis or talent identification which helped me expand my understanding of the whole football industry. Listening to guest speakers’ experiences was also very beneficial because they were sharing great insights of what it’s like to be in elite football and occupy certain positions. They motivated me to keep going and made me realise that nobody gets anything for free, it’s all a matter of hard work and everyone gets what they deserve. The more effort they put in, the bigger the rewards will be.

 What made you choose to study at UCFB?

I liked from the beginning the location of the university and the fact that it offers sports related degrees. I want to work in the sports industry in the future and I considered it was the right place to network and meet new people that I can build connections with for my future. Knowing that there are guest speakers coming in quite often was a plus too.

What are your UCFB highlights?

My main highlight at UCFB is the journey I had from winning the league with the 3rd university team in my first year to winning the league with UCFB Academy while being on a contract with a non-league club in my last year. In September 2017 I didn’t know anyone in Manchester and I am grateful for the way I have been welcomed here and the friends that I made who highly supported me to continue playing football and finish this degree.

What advice would you give to any young footballer thinking about studying at UCFB?

I’d suggest them to understand that life is more than just playing football and their development requires a holistic approach. An improved understanding of football can translate into a better performance on the pitch. Also, having a degree and interacting with people that want to work in the same industry as themselves can open so many doors in the future. Being part of the UCFB Academy can be highly beneficial for their growth, it’s one of the best programmes that allows them to continue chasing their dream of becoming an elite footballer while getting a degree.

Since leaving UCFB can you tell us about your Football experience?

Even though I left UCFB in a strange global pandemic situation, I tried to continue working on my own while team training was off. I had to fly back home early in March and until August I didn’t train with any club but I had personal objectives that I tried to achieve through individual training. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to trial at a pro club in England, but things didn’t go as exceptional as they should have gone to make me sign with the club. After that I got an opportunity to come to Spain, something that I was following for a few months and hoping it would work. I came here and all the individual work during the summer has paid off. My personal goal after graduating was to get back into a fulltime club and focus only on one plan for a while to see what I can take out of it. I have only been here for about 4 weeks now and I think I need more time to give a full impression of how it is like in Spain compared to England. However, I am grateful I have the chance to experience the Spanish methodology and having it while playing for a club like Leganes makes it even more enjoyable.

For more information on UCFB'S Football Academies click here