My journey so far...
Student at the University of Birmingham
Former Youth International Footballer
Former clubs: Leicester City, Accrington Stanley, ACR Messina, AFC Telford United
Robert, it's great to have you come by. Can you give us a brief timeline of your career within sport...
Sure, I signed for Leicester City FC at the age of 13, and signed a 2 year contract to take me through to the under 16's. I was then fortunate enough to sign a 3 year scholarship and professional deal at the club.
I went on to captain the youth team and developed into the club's under 21's and in 2013, helped the club finish 4th in the U21's Premier League Tier 1 which was a great achievement. In 2014 I was then released by Leicester and signed for Accrington Stanley on a short term contract, before moving to Italy! where I joined ACR Messina (Italian Serie C).
I then moved back to the U.K at the start of the 2015/16 season where I played for Telford in the Conference North. On top of this, I represented Australia at the FIFA U17's World Cup in Mexico.
How did you first get involved in your sport? And when did the opportunity come to start competing at an elite level?
I always played football as a youngster, but took the next step in my career by deciding to move to England to aspire to play professionally in one of Europe’s top leagues.
And to date, what’s been your biggest sporting achievement?
For sure it was playing professional football for Leicester City's Reserve Team (2014).
Great, a fantastic achievement. So having left professional football, can you tell us a little bit about what you are currently doing now?
Having left professional football, I'm now studying Law and playing university football at the University of Birmingham, competing in the top tier of university football.
So you still compete at a high level with the University. How do you manage competing at an elite level, whilst in full time education studying Law?
It is difficult, especially when I was also managing semi professional football at Telford, whilst studying Law. The key is managing your time and enjoying what you do. This makes a lot of the hard work and time, worthwhile.
Having grown up and developed through professional clubs like Leicester City, what are the key behaviours you have learnt through competition and training?
There's a lot, but I think you only really realize the importance and value of them when you are outside of sport, when you stop playing and have to apply yourself to other things. For example;
Interpersonal skills – Learning to get on with different people, especially as you change teammates/clubs/management often in sport is vital to be successful, and this can be really important outside of sport also.
You get the benefits of working within a team and communicating effectively with different types of personalities, and in any sport at an elite level, you need to be disciplined and hard working to earn and reap rewards. All of these are definitely transferable skills.
Do you have any advice for other students who are currently involved in elite sport, who are going through career transition from elite/professional sport?
It's always going to be a difficult, and even though you may feel as if you are at a disadvantage from gaps in your educational background, your university degree will equip you with the key skills you have missed from this.
Ultimately, you have an advantage because elite sport helps you develop unique experiences in applying fundamental skills which employers look for, which I believe you can't learn through short internships or summer work experiences.