May 20, 2024

Football and Education: Webinar Recap

May 20, 2024

Football and Education: Webinar Recap

Didn’t have the chance to watch live our webinar “Football and Education - Crafting a Path to Excellence On and Off the Field”? We don’t want anyone to miss the precious insights from our panel. You can now watch the session, moderated by Pedro Pinto, a well-known figure in the football world and founder of Empower Sports, with Gareth Jennings, Technical Director of the UAE Pro League, the professional football league of the United Arab Emirates, and Senior Academic Advisor of FOCUS Sports Education, who previously served as Director of academies at Stoke City, Leicester City, and Bristol City, Lukas Dorda, eLearning Manager & Director of Online Programs at the Johan Cruyff Institute, Joël Pinson, UEFA Academy Programme & Management Expert, and Gareth Farrelly, former Premiership and international footballer and President of the MIP Alumni Association, on Thinking Football Summit Youtube channel.


Check, below, some of the hottest points from our first webinar of 2024, a vision about one of the most important topics in the industry nowadays, that shapes the present and future of the athletes.



Lukas Dorda - Johan Cruyff Institute

  • “Education gives them the opportunity to see the other side of the industry, of the business and it’s helping the players a lot”;
  • “The most important thing is to guide them towards the process of transition towards the playing days. Help them and guide them to make sure that they’ll be 100% sure that they will enjoy the path”.

Gareth Jennings - Senior Academic Advisor of FOCUS Sports Education

  • “We’re looking at a different breed of player coming through. If you look in the level of investment in player development, there’s almost that need to be a really effective learner. We are recognizing the players in terms of how they learn and can we best support that learning mechanism”;
  • “How do we utilize and engage those individuals in activities that are probably out of the norm for them? Give them a broader network of people that’s not the network that they’ve existed within. We have to connect people to different type of people within the game and different industries that are available to them”.

Gareth Farrelly - President of the MIP Alumni Association

  • “Some of the skills that help you be incredible successful in football can also be disruptive when the football career is finished”;
  • “You have to make mistakes along the way. You can talk about the courses and about the transition, but you have to be quite open. It can be difficult. You don’t have to have the answers, but when you stop playing is important to have good people around you”;
  • “In studying and returning to studying, what education brings you is that you don’t lose those competitive elements, you don’t lose that drive, but is very purpose driven. Mistakes you continue to make them when you retire, but once they open up a different avenue there’s still opportunities there”;
  • “Education is the start of the journey, but there’s a continuous progression around that”.


Joel Pinson -  UEFA Academy Programme & Management Expert

  • “We need to offer a pass for former players to remain in the game, not only on the technical side, but to offer the opportunity to develop skills to be in a decision-making position in the future”;
  • “Players have to figure out how they can use and transition the skills they developed during the career. Gain experience – you’re not going to be a CEO or the best Sporting Director directly after, you might want to gain some experience”;
  • “Mistakes will be made but the first important step is to jump in an education program. A very important step for a successful transition is kind of recognizing that you might not know everything, but to succeed you need to go out of your comfort zone”.