Football degrees: What’s the point?

Gavin Chesterfield giving a team talk. Image by Rhys Skinner

by Julie Kissick

THOUSANDS of teenagers up and down the country are counting down to ‘A’ Level results day – and many of them will be hoping to get the grades to study practical sports courses at university.

Sport-related degrees are the preferred choice for many students and the enduring appeal of football in particular has resulted in more and more universities offering a range of courses in it.

According to Eurostat, in 2016 1.7 million people worked in the sport field in the European Union, with the largest contribution coming from the United Kingdom (431,000) and Germany (243,000).

Football finance experts Deloitte released their latest Annual Review of Football Finance last month and concluded that English football, especially the Premier League, had never been as healthy.

They also predicted that Premier League spending could top £2 billion for the first time during the coming season.

Exposport caught up with Gavin Chesterfield, one of the University of South Wales’ key players when it comes to developing football both on and off the pitch, to find out why studying the beautiful game is no longer deemed faddish.

A former professional footballer, Chesterfield runs the MSc Advanced Performance Football Coaching course.

Away from USW, he is a UEFA A Licensed coach and manager of Barry Town United. His side won promotion to the Welsh Premier League in 2016-17.

He is passionate about developing high quality teaching and admits that while studying football at university might not have seemed feasible 15 years ago, the game has benefited from courses like his.

Gavin Chesterfield was speaking after the inaugural Football Conference held at the USW Sport Park last Sunday.

In a wide-ranging interview, he also talked about the challenges facing coaches and the importance of better awareness of mental health in sport. That will be available soon.

Information about USW’s football courses are here.

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