Liv Johnson and Robyn McKendrick have both enrolled onto our BTEC Education programme this year, flying the flag for girls looking to forge a career in the football industry.
We spoke to both Liv and Robyn about their experience so far…
What made you join the course?
Liv: I have been training at the club since U12 with the PDC and currently play for the U17s, so it was an easy decision for me. I knew Kez as she was helping coach and oversee Harrogate Town U17 girls and knowing she was going to be my coach was the deciding factor, it was really important to have that bond. Playing football on the BTEC course has made me a better player and the quality of coaching and opportunities across all of the girls set up is developing my technical and tactical knowledge. I can already see how much my performances have improved this season, so I'm really happy to be a part of the U17's, reserves and the BTEC side; joining the course was certainly the best decision I have made.
Robyn: Kez was a former teacher and football coach of mine who had helped me in the past, so for her to be involved was a big factor in me enrolling. I first joined the club through the PDC and have gone on to play for the U17s, so this felt like the next step for me. The setting felt like a really positive environment from the start and represented a new opportunity for me.
Find out more about our BTEC Education Programme here...
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What are your favourite bits about the course?
Liv: Everyone is really nice and friendly and want you to achieve your best in class and out on the pitch. I have daily input from my tutor and get to learn from Kez every session who is helping me develop my whole game as well as my confidence. To see her coaching and overseeing the PDC, U17's, Reserves and First Team is really encouraging and inspiring as it means she can help push me through the player pathway so that I can go as far as I can in the game
Robyn: Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming from the start, the club is family orientated and it genuinely does feel like we are part of one big family. I've found the course to be a really good environment to learn in and is inclusive to people from a range of backgrounds. A more relaxed setting with one class teacher means everything is centralised so you can focus on one subject and your studies all in one place rather than going from class room to class room.
How do you manage to balance studying and playing football?
Liv: I think it's a good balance because both are important, but enjoyable too, it feels like the best of both worlds. The education side is in blocks and all in the same venue so it means that you don't waste any time and you have a really settled environment which helps you learn better.
Robyn: The balance has worked really well for me, being able to play football breaks up the day and offers a release and change of scenery from the classroom. It helps that the standard of coaching has been really high, we know what is expected from us in each session and that makes for an environment we all enjoy and can grow as players.
How has it been as the only two girls on the course?
Liv: Everyone has been really welcoming, the lads look out for us and also really encourage us and motivate us to be the best we can be. I don't feel out of place - I feel really comfortable. I thought it might be intimidating being the only girls in a male dominated environment, but I actually think the boys were more scared than me! They're great and have made me look forward to going in every morning.
Robyn: Everyone else on the course has been so welcoming from day one, there's no excluding anyone for any reason and we all get along great!
What would you say to other girls thinking of joining the course?
Liv: If you enjoy football and learning about sport this course is perfect!You have a female coach which is rare and overall it is a really positive environment that helps you develop on and off the pitch.
Robyn: I know a few girls joining next year already and would encourage anyone interested to give it a go! I've felt happy on this course due to being made feel welcome and comfortable in the surroundings and can't wait to see where the course takes me