It’s the dream of many youngsters to go on and play football for a living, but it’s a dream that very few get to realise. Some accept it sooner than others – like UCFB graduate Wesley McGrath.

At the age of 15, while playing in the academy for MK Dons, Wesley realised he wasn’t going to “make it”, so he started thinking about his other options. He loved football, so it had to be in that field and coaching seemed the obvious road to follow.

Wesley graduated from the BA (Hons) Sports Business & Coaching programme at UCFB Etihad Campus in 2017, and now works as an Advanced Centre Coach (or pre-academy coach) for the same side he played for as a youngster. His role is to identify and train players who could make the next step up to MK Dons or another club’s academy.

He also undertakes lunch time and after school coaching sessions for local girls’ teams on behalf of the Premier League, and Wesley’s big ambition is to coach within an academy set up. “The beauty of coaching is that every day is different, and every session is different.” He said. “Last week I was coaching at the pre-academy, then the next day I was doing the girls’ sessions. Then later that week I was at another school where the first team sometimes trains.”

Before joining the League Two side, and while still a student at UCFB, Wesley undertook a number of coaching work placements at the likes of Little Sports Coaching where he helped to coach an under-13 side.

Speaking about his time at UCFB, Wesley added: “The relationship I built up with my tutor, and speaking to like-minded people on my programme and from within the industry, helped me massively. I was able to build those relationships and those contacts and then my network which is something you need in the wider industry.”

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