Graduate, Alex Pope is a Youth Development Phase Lead Coach & Development Centre Coordinator for Exeter City Football Club and completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degree here at USW as well as his FAW UEFA ‘B’ License, FA Advanced Youth Award and FA UEFA ‘A’ License Candidate. Here, he explains how an MSc taught through blended learning has improved his confidence and prepared him for a range of career opportunities.
"Having completed my UEFA B License with The FAW, I had already encountered many of the tutors who were involved with the MSc. From this experience I discovered that first and foremost, the tutors care about you as a person, and are always just a phone call away. Secondly, I felt reassured by their delivery. The tutors seemed to have a great blend of experience in their field as well as having a vast knowledge of literature and research to underpin their way of working. These were all characteristics that I was hoping to develop so USW was perfect for me.
During this stage of my journey, the blended course was exactly what I needed. It enabled me the freedom to continue working and developing the on-field part of my career, whilst the residentials allowed me to feel connected to the university and experience some of the wonderful facilities that were available.
Due to the holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to the course I have since felt very confident and prepared for virtually every opportunity that has come my way since (and there has been a few!). As a Lead Phase Coach, I must host multi-disciplinary meetings to discuss how we can best utilise our resources. Having an insight into curriculum design, the physical pillar, analysis, etc, has allowed me to look at what we as a club have, through the lens of my colleagues who work directly in those roles. This enables me to spot potential opportunities, but also be empathetic and understanding of their role and workload. Building relationships like this have been crucial in all our development, not just the players.
The course and tutors left me full of enthusiasm to go and practice my new skills, sharpen my current skills, and continue to explore new ideas in and around football. However, one of the best parts of experience was the networking. I was lucky enough to meet some like-minded people and others that would stretch my understanding and take me out of my comfort zone, and that was just my course mates! The tutors worked very hard to build a rich cohort, as well as introducing us to some world-class guest lecturers, most of which I have been able to stay in contact with and we have all continued sharing ideas and experiences as we have moved up the footballing pyramid.
I have met and been contacted by people who are looking to do this course, I can never speak highly enough of it. For me it is clear, if you get the opportunity, go for it!"
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