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Professional footballers make use of $1 million in education subsidies

Professional footballers make use of $1 million in education subsidies
April 7, 2021

Professional Footballers Australia has today advised that over 400 Australian footballers - including Matildas and Socceroos along with W-League and A-League players - have accessed its Education Grants since 2015, equating to over an investment of over $ 1 million in players’ lives and careers

Funded by the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) that cover National Team, W-League and A-League players, the Player Development Program has supported hundreds of players to complement their football careers with academic and extra-curricular pursuits.

Following record education applications for 2021, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill stated "the Player Development Program recognises that players are people first. In partnership with the clubs and Football Australia (FA) via our respective CBAs, the industry has become better equipped to support the development of world class people.

“Despite the challenges of the past 12 months, the players’ commitment to ensuring their continued development reflects their remarkable resilience and illustrates the outstanding work of our Player Development staff.

“The upcoming collective bargaining negotiations represent an ideal opportunity to further embed player development into professional football in Australia as we seek to establish our game as the sporting career of choice.”

PFA President, Alex Wilkinson explained “it’s been fantastic to see the players continue to explore opportunities outside of the pitch to help build successful and meaningful lives.

“Our Player Development Managers at each club have been crucial in encouraging and assisting the players to discover new areas of interest and study and there are so many stories that we should be proud of and celebrate.

“The careers of players remain extremely short term and precarious, so it is vital that we continue to provide adequate support to players off the pitch to ensure that a career in professional football provides ongoing benefit long after a player hangs up their boots.”

The most popular areas of study across the past five years have been undergraduate courses, with 51% of applicants undertaking studies at University, while certificate/diploma (15%), Short courses (12%) and coaching accreditation courses (8.51%) account for other areas of study.

With 158 players accessing funding during the 2020/21 season, there are countless players who are exploring interesting careers off the pitch, including:

• Perth Glory’s goalkeeper Tando Velaphi who recently completed the PFA’s work placement program, ‘Beyond the 90’, with Perth Heat, providing real-life practical work in a sporting environment to complement his Bachelor of Business; 
• Sydney FC’s Remy Siemsen and Andrew Redmayne and Arsenal Women’s and Matildas’ Steph Catley who are enrolled in a Bachelor of Education, with ambitions to become a primary school teachers; 
• Adelaide United’s Kahlia Hogg has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering or Melbourne Victory’s Melina Ayres’ studies in Environmental Science; 
• Canberra United’s Nikki Flannery who is studying a Bachelor of Architecture and Environments, and the Matildas’ Mackenzie Arnold who is studying a Diploma of Nutrition through the PFA’s official Education Partner, Torrens University; 
• Lawrence Thomas learning Danish while adjusting to life playing for SønderjyskE in the Danish Superliga, while the A-League’s Loïc Puyo is taking English lessons to help him integrate into Australian football; and 
• Macarthur FC’s Dennis Genreau undertaking a Diploma of Counselling. 

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