Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy launched with support from Michael Owen
WATCH MORE: See what Michael Owen and Wrexham FC's director Barry Horne have to say about Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy here.
Soccer superstar Michael Owen has shown his support for a university’s ground breaking football academy.
The former Liverpool FC, Real Madrid, Manchester United and England striker has become an ambassador for the new Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy (GWFA), along with Premier League stars Aaron Ramsay and Neil Taylor, who came through the Dragons’ ranks to play for Swansea City.
Owen is already an Honorary Fellow of Glyndŵr University, which is spearheading the revolutionary project with his former Liverpool FC team mate Lee Jones and Adam Owen, ex assistant manager of Sheffield United.
The Academy will allow professional footballers to study for a degree at the University while training and playing for Wrexham FC or a feeder club based in the Welsh football league.
With the backing of the Professional Football Association (PFA) and support from the League Football Education (LFE), the scheme will provide a unique educational strategy for up to 24 players released from their clubs within the Premier League and football league structure or mature players looking to their educational options whilst nearing the end of their careers; whilst still playing and training within a full time professional football environment.
The players will be both registered with Wrexham FC and students at Glyndŵr University, which owns the Racecourse stadium.
Owen stars in a new DVD showcasing the Academy and believes the GWFA will prove popular with players in the Football League.
He said: “I think footballers in general are quite a lazy breed and they see only as far as their next year or next contract.
“What was always important to me was thinking about what I was going to do beyond football.
“It’s a very short career and I didn’t want to wake up in the mornings and have nothing to do, I wanted to progress in a different business, whether that be the media or representing young players.
“I think every footballer has something that interests them outside of the game but many have nothing to fall back on.
“This opportunity is fabulous, it’s the first of its kind and means you can play football to a good level and go to university.”
He added: “It’s a brilliant idea and one that players should have an eye on when deciding what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.”
A prolific centre forward who was capped 89 times for England, scoring 40 goals, Owen knows that whatever the age a player is they should take their future seriously.
“I think there are two stages to look at; some players are rejected and out of the game by the time they’re 20-22 years old, and there are others at the end of their career who need to get their skates on and think about what life is going to be like after football,” he said.
“I feel very fortunate, I was one of a few that reaches the very top of their profession, but 99% of football players don’t and it’s a fact of life.
“That’s not something to be disappointed about, I think whatever level you’re at, whether you’re financially secure or not, when you finish you’ll get bored and want to get out of bed and get going and do something else.”
He added: “It’s important to pick what you want to do and do it. The added bonus of playing football at a high level and getting paid for it is a huge incentive.
“Wrexham FC is a fantastic club with passionate fans. To do something you want to do while gaining a qualification in another business is a fantastic opportunity.
“This is a really unique idea and if I was still playing I’d certainly be looking into it.”
For more information, and for players wanting to find out if they meet the criteria to join the Academy, view this ebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
WATCH MORE: See what Michael Owen and Wrexham FC's director Barry Horne had to say about Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy here.