Two football-mad students with a passion for sport have revealed how England’s European Championship triumph has fuelled their ambitions to pursue a career in the industry.
Sophie Antonen and Millie Hume watched on in awe when Chloe Kelly netted an injury time winner for the Lionesses in their Women’s Euro Final against Germany at Wembley in July.
The pair have grown up playing football in Oxfordshire and decided to chase their dream careers by enrolling onto Velocity Football – Oxford City FC’s full-time educational academy – this summer.
Both teenagers now combine full-time training with weekly matches and education onsite at the RAW Charging Stadium as part of Velocity’s higher education and apprenticeship programmes.
It means Millie, 16, can play, train and study in the company of likeminded girls every day.
“When I started playing football, there were no girls teams at my club so I grew up playing in the boys squads,” said Millie. “It was never an issue, but I would’ve preferred having the option to play with and against girls.
“England’s win at the Euros has already had a massive impact on my generation. It was so inspiring to see them win in front of a sold-out crowd at Wembley.
“Now, I can train every day and play competitive matches each week with girls who all share my passion. Velocity is a great programme and I’m really enjoying first term.”
Sophie enrolled onto the Velocity programme for similar reasons and hopes to use her qualification to fulfil a career in either coaching or physiotherapy.
Other careers the programme explores include health and wellbeing, sports development, psychology and sports analysis with opportunities to learn more about the media, strength and conditioning and nutrition.
Sophie said: “I want to use Velocity as a steppingstone to a career in coaching. Physiotherapy is something that interests me too.
“We learn about both careers in first year so I’m keeping my options open. I knew I wanted to be in and around football when leaving school, so Velocity seemed a natural fit.
“It’s the only place locally where I can combine training with education on one site, and we all have lots of fun working towards the same goal. I’m so pleased I joined!”
After enrolling a record number of female students onto this year’s programme, Velocity is inviting more people aged 16-23 with a passion for sport to learn more about its qualifications.
The programme will host an Open Event on Wednesday, December 21, for prospective students to meet staff, attend a short presentation and take part in a practical session from 4pm.
To attend the open event or learn more about Velocity Football, visit www.velocityfootball.co.uk.