Community Football Degree Led to Full-time Role at Championship Club

Former electrical engineer Mark Reynolds, 34, graduated from the Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development in 2016. He is now a Community Coach at Bristol City FC, and also the Club’s Foundation Degree Mentor.

What is your job?

I am a Community Coach at Bristol City FC, delivering sports sessions across Bristol which help enhance the reputation of the club in the community. I am also the Club’s Foundation Degree Mentor. With my experience of the course I can hopefully guide other students successfully through the course.

Why did you want to do the Foundation Degree?

Before I started the course, I was an electrical engineer for Rolls Royce. I wanted a complete change and hoped that the course would help me start a career in the football industry. I’d played football for many years and thought I would enjoy helping others develop their ability and confidence through coaching.

Did the course help you get your current job?

Absolutely. The placement I had at the football club as part of the course gave me the opportunity to put the content of the course into practice and also impress the people who would eventually employ me. I have been a fan of the football club since I was young so it’s great to now work here.

Tell us about the placements

I did a placement on a Walking Football programme, which is aimed at the over 50s. It was really important to understand a community project as part of the course and this gave me great insight into community needs rather than just youth football coaching.

What were the most valuable aspects of the course?

I would say being able to use lecture content in a practical environment; it’s great to see the theory work in practice. I learned so much. Although I had some football knowledge, what I learnt about the methodology of coaching was huge. It has made me much more adaptable and understanding of player needs.

How was going back to University as a mature student?

Being a mature student was interesting – I had to learn to learn again! I really enjoyed it though and adding theoretical knowledge to life experience has been invaluable. Learning online was great, and I found it very beneficial to be able to go over lecture content to check over detail. The teachers were fantastic and their knowledge of coaching is superb as are the facilities at USW Sport Park.

What are your plans now?

I am very open minded about my future, but it certainly lies within the football industry. I think the qualification helps to open doors that can lead to many different paths.

Read more here.

Clean Sweep for Wigan Athletic Community Trust

Wigan Athletic Community Trust took home all of the spoils at the recent USW Foundation Degree in Football Coaching & Development awards evening. Along with the big awards, the outstanding students from each club involved in the foundation degree were awarded for their hard work, as the programme celebrated another successful year.

As well as being named Club of the Year for the second year in a row, two members of the Community Trust’s teams were highlighted for their individual work on the course; Chris Baxter as Student of the Year and Adam Sherratt as Club Mentor of the Year.


Six coaches from Wigan Athletic Community Trust have spent the last twelve months studying year one of their degree, with nine completing their second year and one completing his third, whilst they all also worked and volunteered as sports coaches for the Community Trust.

Tom Flower, Head of Community at Wigan Athletic Community Trust said: “We are extremely proud of the hard work that everyone involved with the University of South Wales degree has put in this year and to be acknowledged by receiving these three awards highlights their achievements.”

“Not only have the coaches successfully completed year one of their degree, they have all continued to deliver high quality coaching throughout the year across a number of our projects.”

Adam Sherratt, Education Officer for the Trust, said: “When we won Club of the Year last year, I said that we wanted to continue the good work with our second set of students; to receive three awards is a real credit to the effort put in by everyone involved with the course.”

Jay Probert, course leader for the foundation degree at USW added: “We have been really impressed again with how the students have performed on this programme all across the country, with Wigan Athletic again setting the standards in how they support their students to achieve in their academic studies and also in their work based learning”

The foundation degree is delivered by the University of South Wales in partnership with EFL Trust, with students combing their Higher Education with work placements at 32 EFL clubs.

To find out more about the University of South Wales foundation degree, please click here.

Congratulations to the following students, who won student of the year on the night for their respective clubs:
Liam Yates – Blackpool FC
Dumisani Madhlazi – Brentford FC
Emily Stephens – Bristol City FC
Jimi Brock – Bristol Rovers FC
Connor Richins – Burton Albion FC
Daniel Clark – Cardiff City FC
Georgia Smethurst – Carlisle United FC
Aaron Lowe – Cheltenham Town FC
Christopher Hill – Crewe Alexandra FC
Niall O’Grady – Derby County FC
Brian Noble – Grimsby Town FC
Joseph McCann – Liverpool FC
Ieuan Baldwin – Newport County FC
Billy Warburton – Nottingham Forest FC
Luke Clarke – Portsmouth FC
Luke Prior – Portsmouth FC
Josh Tomlinson – Preston North End FC
James Payne – Rotherham United FC
Zach Meadows – Scunthorpe United FC
Jordan Wildey – Sheffield United FC
Josh Blunkett – Sheffield Wednesday FC
Ryan Lockley – Shrewsbury Town FC
Josh Harkness – Southampton FC
Tyler Maloney – Southend United FC
Christopher Baxter – Wigan Athletic FC
Jack Bowser – Wolverhampton Wanderers FC


A-Level Graduate & Football Fanatic?

Got your A-Level results and not sure where to go next?

Are you a football fanatic?

The University of South Wales offer a degree that was created with you in mind! The Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development was designed in conjunction with the EFL Trust, and will equipt you with knowledge about children and youth coaching, sport coaching, football development, social inclusion, and sports management skills.

What’s better, you will be based predominantly within your own football club, with a minimum of five days per year at the USW Sport Park, our £3.7m state-of-the-art coaching and performance development centre, and will be enrolled as a student at the University of South Wales.

Completed within the professional football clubs, you will undertake a work based learning programme in year two, providing opportunities to gain experience in areas such as social inclusion, school and grass root club development, football development, and coaching.

You will also study towards your Level 2 Football Coaching Certificate and will have numerous opportunities to undertake additional vocational awards.

For more information and to apply for the course, please click here.