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PRO INSIGHT SERIES: The Pro Player Project

Enabling Ex Professional Players To Rejuvenate Their Playing Career's

We are super excited to be working with the English Professional Football Association to help ex-Professionals & Youth Team Scholars from the UK. This programme will provide an opportunity for players to rejuvenate their playing career, along-side coaching young developing players, all whilst living in this incredible part of the world, New Zealand.

 

The initial idea came to me over a coffee with George Bowyer - Head of Youth Advisory for the PFA (with whom I used to Coach years ago) in my hometown village Gatley, Stockport.  

 

George's role is to help players who have been released by professional clubs in the UK on how to transition into the “real world” and what to do next. This is something that used to be my biggest worry as a young player. Like many others I had a clear vision of being a Pro, and worked for years to make this happen however, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that I might have to step away from football at some point and look at other options.

We then linked up with Pat Lally - Director of Education at The PFA and Anthony Cato at the LFE (League Football Education) who is the transition officer, helping players adjust to life after football.

 

My biggest achievement in football to date is managing to be full-time in the game, and doing what I love as a 'job'. No day or session feels like work to me and I'm able to share the pitch with young ambitious players that I hope to inspire or help along their football journey. 

Now that I have settled with my partner and 18 month year old twins & residency, I never saw New Zealand as an opportunity for myself, however it has worked out for both my playing and personal life.

Enabling other young English players to have this experience is our main motivation and we hope to make this a success at a range of clubs throughout NZ. 

 

"If you can find something that you enjoy doing, that is in service to others, that is when you are going to be happiest"

 

I'm thrilled to make this idea a reality, as we now have 2 lads that have made the move and have currently been in NZ for 2-3 months.

 

INTRODUCING: 

 

SAM HANLEY

A former Rotherham Scholar currently playing and coaching at Fencbiles United.

Sam has the opportunity to coach one of the strongest Junior & Youth clubs in the country, along-with playing his games at a brand new facility with a new 4G pitch with the aim of promotion in the top league. Sam is also coaching a team at Saint Kentigerns College.



 

JOE RIDLEY

A former Middlesborough Pro, Joe is currently playing for Auckland City FC, arguably the biggest club in NZ, and is training 3-4 times a week.

Joe will be playing in the Club World Cup at the end of 2024 and in 2025, against some of the most famous clubs in the world.




Both Joe & Sam are also coaching for The Pro Project and we're grateful to have them on board. (Another player is making the 30+ hour round-the-world journey this week, keep an eye out by following our socials)!


You can book a session with the above player/coaches through our website and get to work with them/hear their story in person!

 

If you know of any top players who are struggling to find their feet in the game, please ask them to contact us. All it takes is an opportunity.

I look forward to helping where I can.

 

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