Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard spoke about his passion to help youngsters fulfil their dreams after the football college that bears his name announced an exciting new partnership.
Liverpool Football College has helped transform the lives of hundreds of teenagers across Merseyside, including many who have been released by Premier League academies.
Courses for 16-to-19-year-olds combine securing A-Level equivalent educational qualifications with top-level football coaching from their experienced staff.
The first college of its kind in the city has gone from strength to strength since opening in 2011. Now it’s poised to go to the next level after joining forces with LLS, an award-winning sports education provider in the UK and be renamed as Steven Gerrard Academy.
“The reason why I got involved is because I was a young lad on a council estate who had a dream. My dream was to play for Liverpool Football Club,” Gerrard says.
“If that hadn’t happened for me then this is exactly the type of opportunity I would have been after to try to better myself education wise and also try to make something of a career for myself playing-wise.
“I first met Dave Rowe more than 10 years ago. He brought this idea to me and asked me for my honest feedback. At the time he was risking everything for it. I told him to believe in himself, go for it and commit.
“It has grown so much over the years. They have put so much time and effort into this. The time is now right for me to get more involved. The city needs it, the local communities need it and the kids need it.”
The partnership with LLS will see Steven Gerrard Academy expand across the UK and globally, benefitting many more youngsters. A two-year course is being offered at selected sites across England, Wales and Northern Ireland from September 2020 to help teenagers secure careers across the sports industry.
“It’s huge for us. LLS are a fantastic organisation and it makes total sense to join forces,” Gerrard adds. “Both set-ups have got incredible staff with a lot of experience — skilled teachers and coaches. Both organisations are going to benefit and more importantly so will the kids. That’s what we’re all doing it for.
“We’re there to support, guide and help shape these kids so they have a better future for themselves. It’s important that we take it step by step over the coming months and years. It’s exciting to be able to make a difference in terms of giving young kids, not just locally but hopefully globally too, a fantastic career and a better way of life.”
The Steven Gerrard Academy boast a full-time football consultant who helps secure scholarships for students at US universities. The link-up with LLS will offer coaching roles in Qatar, USA, Sri Lanka and Tenerife.
Director David MacDiarmid said: “We are delighted to team up with LLS. They are a highly trusted partner of schools, universities and elite-level sports clubs. They have more than 30 full-time industry professionals committed to giving youngsters life changing opportunities.
“We’ve been working with LLS on many projects and have been blown away by the impact they have on thousands of young people around the world.”
LLS deliver sixth form sports courses across the world, from Liverpool to Qatar, giving school leavers the chance to continue their studies and secure careers within the sports industry.
The post-16 courses launch in autumn 2020, with 500 aspiring football professionals working towards graduate pathways which include full-time football, university degrees and professional employment at home and abroad.
Students will study A-level equivalent qualifications alongside a football programme which will be led by elite level coaches.
Former FA chief executive and LLS patron Brian Barwick adds: “I have worked with LLS over the past decade and have found them to be dedicated, driven and determined to deliver for their students. This merger and a global icon involved like Steven Gerrard will take this to the next level, I am looking forward to being on the same team.”
School leavers are welcome to apply for one of the final few places available for by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are now also open to Year 10 pupils for September 2021 and interested young people are encouraged to register their interest via email. To find out more call a member of the LLS student engagement team on 0151 294 3229.