Five players who completed an innovative football business course talk inspiration, e-learning and making the most of your precious free time.
When a handful of players with an eye on their future were invited to take part in a football marketing and management course, they didn’t have to worry too much about fitting it into their busy schedules. Run by the Sports Business Institute in Barcelona, this PFA-supported course is delivered entirely online for maximum flexibility.
The eight-week course combines web-based materials and online video seminars covering topics including athlete representation, strategic football marketing and social media. According to the first cohort of players, it’s a great introduction to the business side of the game, no matter where you are in the world, or what stage you’re at in your career…
Why did you do this course?
DEAN FURMAN (DF): I had just completed a Sports Science degree through the PFA. At the end of the course I said I was keen to continue learning.
DANNY PUGH (DP): I wanted to do something in football but not directly down the coaching route. I wanted another string, really. Oshor (Williams, of the PFA Education Department) put this in front of me and it seemed ideal for what I was looking for.
PAUL REID (PR): I’ve been a footballer for 18 years and I’m coming towards the end of my career so I was just really looking to upskill myself.
LUKE JOYCE (LJ): As a PFA member I’m always lookingfor further education. At 29 I know I can’t play forever. If I can’t stay in football through coaching it’s another experience and something else I can put on my CV.
ADAM BOGDAN (AB): I wanted to do something next to football and this was ideal.
How did the online delivery of the course suit you?
DF: I’m based in South Africa so that was definitely a factor! We had the content online that we had to study and then once a week we had the webinar. It was brilliant, completely interactive. The other guys really got involved. We got stuck in and did our research.
AB: The time required was perfect. It was tailored around us – one hour every Thursday. It required one or two more hours every week and that’s something I think everyone can do.
PR: They accommodated me massively because of my work commitments. I wasn’t able to view all of the webinars online live at the time. They supplied me with recordings and a lot of the lectures online – so even if you can’t commit yourself to being in a certain place at a certain time, you can still take part in the course.
LJ: I thought it was brilliant. I’d log in on Sunday and screenshot all the information on my iPad. With playing at Carlisle – and travelling up to play with a group of lads – when I wasn’t driving I was able to look at the information on the journeys. I have two children and I haven’t always got time at home, so I was making use of that time in the car.
What experiences have influenced your planning for life after playing?
DF: As footballers we’re blessed with a lot of time on our hands. One thing I’m very keen not to do is come to the end of my career and have nothing to fall back on. So the studying option was something that always interested me. Sports Science is an area I love knowing about and it related to what I was doing in training so it wasn’t as if it was a complete stab in the dark – it had direct relevance in how the body was reacting in pre-season or after a game. It was great to have a deeper understanding and it was definitely worth it.
DP: I went on the PFA’s Making the Transition course last year. To be honest, at this age I did think I’d have an absolute plan of exactly what I want to do but I don’t really have that – just ideas of certain routes I want to go down. Without having that plan I want as many options as possible to broaden my horizons. That was a big thing for me, to learn without pigeon- holing myself in one expertise. I want to get as much of an understanding of the broader aspects as possible. Has the course influenced what you’ll do next?
PR: It has definitely boosted my confidence to study further. My next step would be to take a degree that starts in February. I’ve been looking at that for a while now. The course with the SBI has given me an introduction to learning again and given me a thirst for it. Having taken the course I’d love to expand my knowledge in areas like marketing and management. I’m 99% certain I am going to do a degree in business management – in sport and football.
LJ: I’m not sure I’ll go into marketing but I did really enjoy the course. I’d like to be hands on, to be coaching and to pass on a bit of experience. But the course has opened up a different area I didn’t realise existed in that much detail. If I go into coaching or management, it’s important to learn about the internet and social media and you can use that as a strength.
DP: It has influenced me. I’d looked at a few things and it was quite daunting when it was a three- or four-year course. In the situation I was in I couldn’t really look that far down the line or I didn’t want anything that long. So the timespan and the type of learning was perfect. It has definitely given me the confidence to do that kind of learning down the line.
AB: What interests me is staying in football after my career, but I was never sure what type of thing I would do. This course covered most of the topics you could do in football-related business. The aim was to decide which road I would like to investigate more seriously and after this I will do another course.
Would you recommend the course to other players?
AB: If you’re not sure what you’d like to do but you want to do something with football, this course was brilliant. We had a moderator who was the director of the institution, he asked questions and the material was online. It was understandable and very interesting. The way the course was designed was a big success.
DF: Yes, it was a really fun course to follow and I’m glad I took part in it. It was great how interactive it was. And anything we were unsure of Diego (Valdes, who runs the course) was there to help.
DP: Currently I feel good and I’m still thoroughly enjoying the playing side of things, which is why I’m not going to throw myself into something academic completely. But that’s why I liked the course, the length of time it was and the fact it didn’t take too much time away from the playing side of things – and when playing is still the main focus, that’s important.
PFA Assistant Director of Education Oshor Williams on the importance of flexible learning and the success of the online course from the Sports Business Institute: “We’ve explored courses that provide greater flexibility, portability and accessibility before through the distance learning Sports Science programme at Manchester Metropolitan University and the blended learning Sports Journalism course.
“Some players can’t commit to long programmes and we looked at the SBI course as a way to brain train players who have been out of the academic loop. The subject is interesting and the innovative way it’s delivered makes it accessible to anyone in the world.
“The online webinars facilitated by course director Diego Valdes are a key aspect of the course. You see a high drop-out rate on online courses generally. But having someone there facilitating discussion meant you had to do the reading. And, like undergraduate seminars, if you miss things the other learners help to fill in the gaps.”
- Course Start Date: August 28th (with first live class on Thursday, August 31st)
- Time of live sessions: 4:00pm, BST.
- Maximum number of participants: 15 (places are strictly limited)
- Cost: £530, which is fully redeemable to PFA members upon successful completion of the course.
- Web: To find our more information about the program click here
- Contact: For more information and application details, contact: Oshor Williams