With no team training in over three months, it would be easy to think most youth players have spent their time browsing Netflix or lounging in front of the PS4.
However, that’s not been the case for Dundee United youngster Cole Sharp.
The 15-year-old has been busy completing the EFL Trust ‘Business of Football’ Open University course, receiving a ‘Statement of Participation’ award.
Speaking to YFS, Cole said: “I was really pleased to complete the course and get my certificate. I surprised myself as I didn’t think I would be able to complete something like this from the Open University, as I’m still doing my National 5s at school.”
The course from the Open University, in collaboration with the EFL Trust, spans across three weeks and explores elements such as the business of football, the people/players at football clubs, and football at a global scale.
Cole continued: “I found it all really interesting, but in particular learning about how to identify and understand the factors that help motivate people in different parts of a football business, and also the other business aspects of football and what makes teams more likely to succeed.”
On what attracted him and made him interested in the course, Cole explained: “I enjoy business management at school, and thought this sounded like a great course as it also incorporated my love of football. As I want and am involved in football, I thought it would be best to learn as much as I can which would be helpful in my future career.”
Scottish Premiership clubs are gradually starting to return to training, but a return date is still uncertain for the rest of Scottish football. As a result, Cole, like many others, is still making sure that he spends time keeping himself active.
“As this is an important year for me in the Academy, I need to be using the time I have developing my knowledge both on and off the pitch to help improve my game, so I can give myself the best chance of getting a contract. I have been making sure that I have been sticking to a routine which has helped me to stay focused and motivated.”
Andy Goldie, DUFC Academy Director, was not surprised to hear of Cole’s achievement, and was full of praise for the youngster.
“Cole’s achievement was nonetheless impressive as he has also maintained his engagement and motivation within our Academy at Home programme which has been extensive in itself.
“He has set a fantastic example to the rest of the players within our Academy during this time with full attendance and commitment across all aspects of the programme including technical sessions and analysis workshops through Zoom, his Physical Performance programme and our Virtual Masterclasses.
“To combine this with ‘The Business of Football’ course this highlights his full commitment to his own development both on and off the pitch.”
On the Academy, Andy explained, “Accountability is vitally important for us both on and off the pitch in Our Academy – we can provide as much guidance and opportunity however ultimately it depends on what the player’s do themselves.
“Education is at the forefront of every decision we make in Our Academy and we have a number of our full-time players studying for their Highers as well as pushing for the First Team.”
If you would like to find out more about the DUFC Academy, you can follow them on Twitter @dufcacademy or at https://www.dundeeunitedfc.co.uk/