Queen’s Park are to tie up with the University of the West of Scotland to launch a platform for players from across Britain to study for Degree qualifications whilst training full time and playing as a Spider.
Hampden head coach Gus MacPherson and senior personnel within UWS have initiated the creation of a unique football academy that will see both a formal and a footballing education provided.
The ‘QP-UWS Football Academy’ will allow players to study for a degree whilst also looking to break into MacPherson’s League 2 squad.
The programme is available for players who are out of contract from Scottish or English clubs or those that are nearing the end of their careers and looking to enhance their education qualifications before they retire from playing.
The students will be registered as Queen’s Park players with Scotland’s oldest club believing that the time is right for them to lead this new initiative and ensure that they continue to move the game forward in line with their proud 148 year history.
MacPherson said: “Very few clubs within the Scottish game have the facilities that this club has and we want to continue to progress. It is definitely going to be a programme based on quality coaching, playing and education.”
As well as offering footballers the chance to obtain a higher education MacPherson reckons that myths about their brains being in their boots will be dispelled as he explained: “A lot of people think footballers are not the brightest bunch but, believe me, there are many out there who will jump at this chance. When my playing career ended, I was 32 years old and had no idea what to do next.”
“If an opportunity like this had been around, I would have definitely got involved — especially with the chance of gaining a degree and a plan for my future.”
“I’ve been fortunate to have been in the game continually since I finished playing in many capacities but not a lot of players are aso lucky. This opens up more doors for them.”
“We will work football around University commitments to give the students the same hours that a full time player gets in a week.”
general manager Christine Wright added: “This is a win-win situation for the club, the University and the Scottish football community. This is one of those rare situations when you can see no negatives.”
“It gives footballers the opportunity to show that they are good enough to play at a full-time, senior level whilst at the same time, educating themselves further for their longer-term career aspirations.”
“The UWS will be taking on board quality students and Queen’s Park will be looking forward to giving quality players the opportunity to develop. We have a phenomenal track record in youth development, with Andrew Robertson the most high profile in a long line of talent to progress from here. This gives a wider field the chance to develop like that.”
Mrs Wright added: “With the support of the University, the club will also benefit from additional support such as sport science, coaching, psychology, physiotherapy and other resources that the UWS has in abundance.”
“Places are limited and interested students should email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and to register for the open day on Friday, June 12.”
Former Rangers defender David Weir is an ambassador for the QP-UWS Football Academy. He said: “This particular concept is a fantastic opportunity for players who have maybe been released to continue training and playing full-time whilst being able to use their spare time to develop academically. That will provide a stable career pathway for their life after football.”
“I only had the chance to do this in the USA so the fact that some people can do this closer to home is great.”