Town favourite George Thomson joined Harrogate in 2017 and has since made over 100 appearances in the yellow and black, writes Henry Whitaker.Before his career as a professional footballer began, Thomson studied sports science at Loughborough University, graduating seven years ago with a 2:1.
The playmaker was part of the university football team and played part-time at non-league level. Despite wanting to become a professional from the first moment he kicked a ball, a degree was always in the back of his mind.
“I left school at 16 to do a scholarship (BTEC) and I did extra modules in that to get the required UCAS points to go to university.”
“I think I always had it in my mind that I wanted to do a degree as football is very up and down and you never know what's going to happen,” he explained.
Studying at university meant Thomson moved away from home, experiencing the university lifestyle. It's a period of his life which he believes helped him grow as a person while allowing him to “take his mind off football”, learning about subjects he was interested in.
“I was learning all the time at university, getting a broader knowledge on different subjects. My degree was still in sport but biomechanics and physiology are topics I'd never looked at before.
“Loughborough is sport orientated so they were quite supportive with me playing and studying. The workload wasn't an issue as I got my head down.”
A footballer's career can easily be cut short through injury but with the extra study and qualifications behind him, Thomson knew he had something to fall back on in case circumstances changed.
“I could've played football until I was 25 or kept playing on knowing I have the degree behind me.
“The benefit of the doing the degree at a younger age is that if injuries or circumstances meant I had stop playing, the qualification is there waiting for me.”
Having been there and worn the t-shirt, Thomson believes youngsters wanting a career in the game should keep their options open.
“I think they should always have another idea in the back of their mind and not completely focus on football. The sport is unpredictable and a footballer's career isn't that long.
“Having something there which you can go into once the playing career is over can only be a positive.”
Harrogate Town are hosting an open evening for our BTEC Education programme on Wednesday 26th February (7pm) at The CNG Stadium.
Potential students will get the chance to get to know the education and football programme run by the club.
Any interested candidates should email Joshfalkingham@harrogatetownafc.com with the below form to sign up.
Open Evening Form