Dawes takes university route after release
FORMER Cheltenham Town scholar Will Dawes has turned down several offers of part-time or Under-23s football this summer in favour of starting a maths degree at Loughborough. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder will also be on the university’s football programme, allowing him to continue full-time training alongside his education.
How many other options tempted you before making your decision?
There were a number of clubs that contacted me following the end of season, five or six I’d say. But all of these were either part-time, or part of a 23s programme, like the offer from Weston-super-mare, when really what I wanted was a way of playing men’s football full-time, something I can do at Loughborough.
How excited are you to get started there?
Very excited. There’s a reason why I chose Loughborough out of the options I had following the end of the season; it’s a top five university in the country that invests £2million into its sports programme every year. Ultimately this means I’ll be in an environment with near Premier League facilities, and be able to reap all the benefits of this for up to four years. From a footballing development point I’m excited to see how much I can improve in a programme like this.
What are you expecting on the football side and how will your schedule look with training/ studies?
The football programme is very much full-time, with more on-field, strength and conditioning and video analysis sessions per week than was normal during my scholarship. This is all structured around lecture hours during term time and all fits in without any overlaps. So there are no clashes between training or studies, but I’ll be very busy and not living a typical student lifestyle!
Will you play for Loughborough on both Saturdays and Wednesdays?
I’ll play whenever I’m asked to. I believe there’ll be up to three games a week, but at this point can’t say which ones I will or won’t be playing in. At the moment my focus is in having a solid pre-season, where I do know they’ll be games against QPR, Burton Albion, Derby and Coventry, and after that of course having a good start to the season.
Following from the BTEC I did during the scholarship I felt it important that I do something of academic value that’d serve in my favour should I ever apply for a medicine course. Apart from generally enjoying maths when in school, it’s a really good academic building block and will certainly help me if/when looking to pursue medicine.
Do you still think a career in pro football is possible or are you focusing more on a career outside of football now?
Yes I definitely think a career in pro football is possible, there’s an ever growing list of players that are now pro following on from a degree. The structure of the programme at Loughborough means I can focus on trying to pursue this while also preparing properly for a career either outside or post-football.
I kept in touch with the staff at Cheltenham, and pretty much daily I’d talk to Pete Haynes or Richard Cox to discuss my options and how
Will Dawes is off to university