As a final year BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Management student, Jack Grimshaw has landed his dream role after signing for Macclesfield FC as an attacking midfielder. Having worked tirelessly to secure a contract at the North West Counties Premier Division club, he tells us what it means to kick-start his playing career full-time and shares his successes from UCFB’s academy team…

 Congratulations on signing for Macclesfield FC! How does it feel?

Thank you. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to represent the club at the start of a new and exciting journey. Macclesfield has an illustrious history in English football and to have signed for the club is an immensely proud moment.

What are you most looking forward to about playing for the team?

I’m most looking forward to playing in front of the fans. Fans are essential in football to provide atmosphere at games and support to the team. I can’t wait to be playing at the stadium, striving to have a successful season and to begin building towards my future in the game.

How has your BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Management degree helped you in achieving this goal?

The degree has helped me gain multiple skills that are beneficial to my footballing career. As my degree is centred around coaching and management, I’ve been able to expand my knowledge in areas of football such as tactics and strategies. The degree has also allowed me to see the game from a coach’s perspective. The course modules of Performance Analysis and Talent Development are directly relevant to performance in football and the wide array of guest speakers at UCFB has provided top insights into life working in the football industry. Ultimately, the degree has helped me maintain my motivation and form a diligent work ethic which has aided me in achieving this goal.

You played for UCFB's elite football academy throughout your degree. How did you find this and playing alongside your classmates?

As everyone on the team is part of UCFB and studying for a degree, this provides a common purpose. It means you can relate to your teammates through the academic activities away from the pitch and this generates spirit within the group and makes it easier to gel as a team on the pitch. It shows you different sides to people which is a positive and I’ve met some highly supportive and encouraging people through both playing and studying at UCFB.

What were some of your personal highlights with the academy?

Winning two league titles back to back in my first two years were my personal highlights and were great experiences. Due to the pandemic, no university teams could compete last season, however we would have been aiming to make it three league titles in my three years at UCFB. When we were permitted to be back playing football this year, training at the academy and playing in organised matches allowed me to keep my match fitness high, to stay ready for this opportunity and now the season ahead.

Looking back to the last season we played, finishing unbeaten as league champions was one of the objectives that we set out together at the start of the season. We managed to win our first nine games and draw the final one so to meet this objective was really pleasing.

 How have you found your time at UCFB? 

I’ve enjoyed my time at UCFB, it has been an experience that has been worthwhile and advantageous to my career prospects both on and off the pitch. I would strongly recommend UCFB to anybody with an interest in sport, as well as anybody thinking of studying in Manchester or London. It’s the place to study for people who want to have a career in the sports industry and gain the tools and experience to be able to work in the football and sports sector.

What advice would you give to other aspiring footballers looking to study at UCFB?

Managing your time effectively is important and gives you balance during your time at UCFB. Building good connections and networking with as many different people as possible is also very beneficial. By working hard there are many opportunities to be taken both academically and in sport. The UCFB Academy has excellent coaches and players and having been a part of the programme from the start, I’ve seen first-hand how the programme has facilitated individual improvement leading to the advancement of the team through an impressive set-up.

At the Etihad Campus there are footballers playing at North West Counties, Northern Premier and National League football clubs. There is the option to complete extra sessions on top of the training and matches with the academy which makes the programme similar to being at a professional football club. As players at the UCFB Academy, you have access to top equipment and facilities, a physio, a strength and conditioning coach and a match analysis team. The combination of many factors has contributed to the production and development of a successful football programme that I’m proud to have been a part of.