A NEW degree aimed at professional footballers has received the support of a prominent former striker.
Glyndwr University’s Wrexham Football Academy (GWFA) will allow professional footballers to study for a degree at the Wrexham university while training and playing for Wrexham FC or a feeder club in the Welsh football league.
Former England, Liverpool and Manchester United forward Michael Owen, who lives in Northop, has become an ambassador for the new academy along with Welsh internationals Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor.
Owen is an Honorary Fellow of Glyndwr University, which is spearheading the revolutionary project with former Wrexham player Lee Jones and Adam Owen, ex-assistant manager of Sheffield United.
With the backing of the Professional Football Association (PFA) and support from the League Football Education (LFE), the scheme will provide an educational strategy for up to 24 players released from clubs in the professional football structure, or mature players looking to their educational options while nearing the end of their careers when still playing and training in a full time professional football environment.
The players will be registered with Wrexham FC and as students at Glyndwr University, which owns The Racecourse.
Owen, whose father Terry played for Chester in the 1970s, believes the GWFA will prove popular with players in the Football League.
He said: “I think footballers in general are quite a lazy breed and they see only as far as their next year or next contract.
“What was always important to me was thinking about what I was going to do beyond football. It’s a very short career and I didn’t want to wake up in the mornings and have nothing to do, I wanted to progress in a different business, whether that be the media or representing young players.
“This opportunity is fabulous. It’s the first of its kind and means you can play football to a good level and go to university.”
Gavin Jones, of Wrexham Supporters’ Trust, said: “We are delighted to partner with Glyndwr University in order to provide young, local and British top-class players with an opportunity to gain a top quality higher education and a chance at a career in professional football with Wrexham FC. The club has an excellent record of developing young talent through its Academy and the club sees this as a win-win situation for itself, Glyndwr and the players.”
Glyndwr sports manager, Anna Marie Brown, said: “All three of them have an association with Wrexham FC and understand it is a club owned by the supporters. Importantly, everyone involved wants to make sure the next 150 years of this great football club’s future are spent here in Wrexham.”
For more information, and for players wanting to find out if they meet the criteria to join the Academy, email firstname.lastname@example.org