The first cohort of students to graduate from the BSc Hons Football Coaching and Business Management degree course ran by the Irish FA and Ulster University have been recognised for their talents.
Since its inception in 2016 the programme has been making an impact on the football industry and local communities a number of these students have already gained employment in the football industry as football coaches, performance analysts, football coordinators and administrators.
Recent graduate James Goodman noted: "I was nervous about enrolling as a mature student, but this course was far better ran than the one I did 20 odd years ago. Here it felt like the lectures really cared about your grades, further development, and employment opportunities. With it being part time, and delivered in blocks, it fitted in well with my family and work life.
"The course really helped me to progress my football education, on and off the pitch. My skill set has improved considerably, as has my network of contacts within the local game. I'm now working for club in the Irish Premiership and have been working at the Irish FA's Elite Youth Academy in association with UEFA. This degree has opened up opportunities in football that I wouldn't have got otherwise."
The degree programme also provides opportunities for current players offering a dual career pathway with a number of current and former Irish league players enrolled. Two of the graduates have represented Northern Ireland at senior international level, recent graduate Lyndsay Corry who represented Northern Ireland at senior level, said:
“Football has been part of my life for many years.
“I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in the game to enrol. It’s a five year part time course and demonstrates a great partnership between Ulster University and the Irish FA combining educational learning and the practicality of working within the football environment.
“It has been an invaluable experience for me learning from the Irish FA staff on hand while studying at the National Stadium and being supported throughout by engaging and knowledgeable tutors.
“It has enhanced my learning in many areas off the pitch, and confirmed my passion and path on it.”
The degree programme recently achieved 100% student satisfaction in the national student survey an endorsement of the programme value.
Course Director Dr Kyle Ferguson said:
“Our course is unique. We have a range of students who are experienced coaches, former and current players as well as traditional students progressing from school and college, the combination creates a supportive learning environment. Some of the students have extensive coaching experience but have been away from formal education for a number of years, the course provides dedicated support to allow those students to progress and demonstrate their knowledge.
“Those younger students are able to gain experience within the football industry while completing their degree which includes progression through their UEFA coaching awards to create industry ready graduates who can apply theory to practical situations.”
For those interested in the course, applications are open for September 2022 intake, with more details available at: