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Football pitch

Garry Halsey

BA (Hons) Football Studies

Graduated 2014

Garry Halsey headshot

This course is for you if you have a passion for football, and are interested in learning about the many different sides of the game: coaching sports psychology and sports massage, to name a few.

University helped me to gain invaluable work experience and contacts within the professional game, as well as knowledge surrounding both professional and grassroots football. Without my time at Solent, I would not have the confidence I now have in my abilities and understanding of the game. 

Thanks to Solent’s excellent contacts within professional football, I was given the opportunity to complete a season's internship as a first team performance analyst at then-league two side Aldershot Town FC. This opportunity allowed me to make contacts within the professional game, leading to a role working as a performance analyst within the first team goalkeeping setup at AFC Wimbledon the following season.

I was also coaching Solent’s own ladies football club during my final year, alongside two of my course mates, which is one of my best memories at Solent.

The first break in my career came when I was offered a role at Wiltshire County FA. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my role, it was short-lived as just a few months later I was successful in applying for a job within the professional game team at the English FA, where I remain almost 18 months on. Alongside my full time job, I have had the pleasure to coach at a number of different clubs including AFC Rushden and Diamonds, Northampton Town FC and currently Burton Albion FC.

Based at St George’s Park, the National Football Centre, I currently work right in the hustle and bustle of the English FA. My job is to support a number of FA Youth Coach Developers (FAYCDs) and National Coach Developers (NCDs) in their work throughout the country, in addition to collating and reporting the data they collect. I also assist in the running of FA coaching development programmes such as Pro Licence, A Licence and Advanced Youth Award courses. My working days often vary, from primarily admin days to more hands on support. Every day is different in my job, something that always keeps me on my toes.

For me, football has progressed from a hobby, to a degree, to a career, to a way of life. Cliché but true!

If you want a career in football industry, I'd advise you to build contacts whenever you can, as you never know what opportunities will arise. Be persistent but patient; travelling long distances and working long hours will all be worth it when you land your dream job.

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Women's football

Katie Wakelin

BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Physical Education

Graduated 2020

Katie Wakelin headshot

What I enjoyed the most about my studies were the endless opportunities to get involved with external organisations within the community, (such as working with schools in the Southampton area and working with Local NGBS and local partnerships such as the Saints Foundation), as well as being able to create and run our own ‘Sport for social change’, project in the local community as part of my undergraduate course project, 'Community Innovation Programme', (CIP). 

Since graduating I have been working as a support worker for adults with disabilities, as well as working in schools (both coaching and as a teaching assistant), and am a student on the MA Physical Education and School Sport post graduate degree.


My advice to future students would be to take every opportunity possible, enjoy your time at solent and network! 

My favourite experiences at Solent included being in the Womens football team and the unique opportunities to take part in Varsity due to the sense of family you get, the fun and the chance to watch and support friends on other teams.

Solent helped me prepare for my career in so many aspects, for example, the variety of assessments helped me with both written and verbal communication that is so amply needed within my career and industry, as well as being able to build my CV through the variety of extracurricular activities such as participating in team sport, societies and volunteer opportunities.  

Through Solent I have had the chance to be a part of the FA and BUCS Womens leadership Program for 2020/2021 which has been an amazing way to build my own skills, network with individuals working in industry (mainly the FA), and get an insight into higher roles within industry.

My advice to future students would be to take every opportunity possible, enjoy your time at solent and network! You can network outside of your course, with lecturers, joining sports teams and with alumni. Solent has such a wonderful family ethos and everyone is so happy to share their experiences and stories, so never be afraid to ask how someone got to where they are.

Solent provides you with every tool possible to succeed and you get out 10 times more than what you put in - work hard and enjoy your time! It might feel like three or four years is such a long time but it absolutely flies by! 


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Charlie Gamble

BA (Hons) Football Studies

Graduated 2019

Charlie Gamble portrait photo

What made you choose to study at Solent?
The Football Studies course was a major draw for me. The fact I already live in Southampton made it an even easier choice to study at Solent!

What was the best part about your course?
Getting to study the subject that I love every single day made it a pleasure rather than a chore.

What is your favourite memory from your time at university?
Working with some great people that I now call good friends to complete group assignments and achieve top marks with them.

What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your work?
I coach for a private company along with my own grassroots team. I also scout for AFC Bournemouth and I have also studied MA Youth Sport and Physical Education at Solent. I love that I can apply all that I have learnt so far at Solent into my everyday routine.

What has been your biggest achievement in your work so far?
Being constantly taken out of my comfort zone to achieve more and more in everything I do. I can see I am far more capable than I even thought I was.

What are the three most important skills you learnt at Solent that helped you succeed in your career?
-   Maximum effort is the minimum requirement.
-   Education is the most powerful tool an individual can possess.
-   Never be satisfied. Always strive to do more!

How did you change as a person during your time at Solent?
I believe I matured from a boy to a man as I was so driven to achieve my very best. This is because I was so fixated with being the best at what I do.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying at Solent?
Embrace it by taking every opportunity available to you. The university has a number of first-class facilities so make sure you utilise them all to perform at your very best!

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Sport coaching

Dan Janowski

BSc (Hons) Sports Performance Coaching

Graduated 2014

Dan Janowski headshot

This course is for you if you want to challenge yourself, if you want to learn from some of the best professionals in the industry and most importantly, if you want to make yourself employable on completion of your degree. Sports coaching is about educating and inspiring others.

How did university prepare you for your career?
Well, it isn't handed to you on a plate, so just your degree alone will not guarantee you employment. However, it WILL present you with various opportunities to volunteer within your chosen industry, working with industry professionals at the highest levels and allow you to research and understand the theories and underpinning knowledge to give you the solid foundations of an accomplished sports coach.

What's your favourite Solent memory?
On our first day, we were asked a very simple question. "Who is here to graduate with a first class degree?" I thought, 'absolutely no chance, not me.  But what the heck.' I stuck my hand up anyway; only two of us in the entire class did.  Needless to say, we both graduated with a first. Self prophecy perhaps, or just hard work?

In one sentence, what is sport coaching?
The capacity to inspire and educate anyone through the medium of sport.

Tell us a little about your career story so far.
I started my company - Active8 Minds - in 2014, on a budget of £5,000 with my neighbour (a former IBM employee). We essentially offer sports education and childcare for children aged 3-16 throughout Hampshire and the surrounding areas. We see on average 2,000 children every week, have nine full-time employees and 14 part-time members of staff. Our current turnover is in excess of £350,000, showing a healthy profit, and we are on target to hit £500,000 turnover by 2019.

Tell us about what you are doing now and what it involves – a typical working day.
My current role as the company director varies from the day to day running of the business, staff salaries and finances, marketing, sales, business development and HR (something I had no experience in at all).

What’s your career highlight so far?
I do not have a particular highlight, as there a many small ones. Being able to to provide a good life for my family is very important to me as is providing an exceptional service to children and schools throughout Hampshire.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?
Don't give up when the going gets tough. Attend every seminar, practical and lab session. Volunteer and help out as much as you can. And, just as important, look smart, be smart. 

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