There has always been a thriving relationship between universities – or colleges – and sport in the US. Many professional sports stars from the US attend university on a sports scholarship, combining sport with academic achievement. British universities are renowned for encouraging sports such as rugby, athletics and rowing; now, football is seeing a surge in popularity in universities. Contrary to what you might think, some university teams are really quite good!
According to British Universities & Colleges Sport), those who participate in sport at university can command a higher salary when they enter the world of work and are more likely to have developed career-enhancing qualities. Going to university can also lead to a career as a professional athlete, alongside providing the qualifications and skills you need for a life after sport. While football might not seem to be a natural fit with university education, university football teams are increasing in popularity.
How good are university teams?
Historic thinking has been that university footballs teams could not possibly be good enough to provide potential players for the Football League; however, this is changing. University teams from both Wales and Scotland have come close to qualifying for European football and the Scottish Football League respectively. Unfortunately, due to the ownership structure of university teams, the FA decided in 2008 to cap how far university teams could progress in competitions against professional/semi-professional footballers. It remains to be seen whether this will continue.
Can you combine football with a university education?
Only two footballers currently playing in the Premier League hold university degrees, but this could be about to change. Some universities are the perfect place to combine studying for a degree with playing football. Loughborough University, for example, has a football training programme that involves using training facilities that could rival those offered by football clubs. This university is almost in the realms of having a semi-professional team, benefitting from the latest equipment and great football kits from suppliers such as https://www.kitking.co.uk/football-kits/.
If you have enjoyed playing football at school and are heading off to university, your love and enjoyment of the game does not have to end. Find out whether your university has a team; if so, get involved. You never know where it might lead.