Football trials and tribulations of a pro footballer Part 1
Journey into football.
On my journey into the world of football and talent ID I have reached out to many thinking I would never get the chance to speak to them! This was one of those occasions. I asked Northampton Town wonderkid football player Scott Pollock. I had asked him if he would be keen to have a quick chat with me, and for us to talk through his thoughts on the pain of release, his experience of playing for Hashtag UTD and becoming a professional football player. When he responded with ‘’yes, I would be happy to talk to you’’, I was immediately taken aback and surprised, to say the least. It appeared to me that not only did he have a fantastic attitude to helping others, but he was also professional, and respectful. When talking to him I found him to be so much more too. He was calm, reassuring and confident. It was safe to say I took an instant liking to this young man, as I am sure everyone does that meets him.
I started the conversation with ‘’what was your journey into football?’ I wanted to ask this as I thought his journey may not be the most conventional, and certainly was very interesting. Scott told me about his father being a scratch golfer, and that he had wanted to be a golfer when he was younger. He went on to state that he started playing football at a bit of an older age, but then he started to get pushed towards playing for fun on a Saturday/Sunday team by his teachers as they could see he had some talent. Scott as a child enjoyed playing football--- it was fun. And he carried on playing Sunday league football until he was 17. But then he was eventually scouted by the Northampton Town Education Programme and the Academy (see more here), which brought the rise to his ultimate success.
I was really intrigued by this answer and so I pressed on to ask about his unique journey and to explain a bit more about Hashtag UTD. Scott explained that he was always apart of the academy structure at Northampton Town FC (in the shadow academy from 14 onwards) but that he also trialed with Leicester and Crystal Palace FC. This was very impressive to hear, and Scott managed to play it down with a very humble but quietly confident attitude. He then went on to describe how he got involved with Hashtag UTD.
It started with just a bit of a punt and he said he didn’t think he would have a chance, and it was just a bit of fun. Over 20,000 applications were received for the competition, but Scott made it through to last 200 applicants. As a result, he went to London to trial, and did not really know what to expect from the day. There were many other players, and the standard was very high with a lot of players being quite a bit older than him. But this didn’t phase him! He played his football, had fun with it and displayed his exceptional attitude. The latter in my opinion is one of the most striking things about Scott. He spoke so highly of others, he presented a calm demeanor and most importantly he went into it without any expectations. This all accumulated in a fantastic attitude to all that he does, so when you think about why he got picked, I don’t think it was just his amazing talent on the pitch, it was also how he interacts with others.
He went on to explain that he was eventually selected to go through to the final and was up against ex-apprentices (so a high standard of football). He was ultimately pitted against another young man named Jack, when it came down to a vote for either player to win the competition. And Scott won the vote quite overwhelmingly. He even stated ‘’I really thought they will never pick a young lad like me’’ so he really didn’t expect to get that far. This really got me thinking about talent ID in the UK and how Hashtag did a fantastic job by creating this event to find talent. The outcome for Scott has been fantastic, and he is now a professional football player and doing well.
Virtues of a young professional
I wanted to speak to Scott about mental health, wellbeing and more about released players and maybe how his unique journey related to this. But in all honesty, I was fascinated with the whole journey Scott had, as it is an exceptional story. I found myself just discussing with him how this all impacted on his life, and how it felt not being selected by the academy until such a late stage. He said that Northampton Town had been excellent, the coaches were brilliant, and all the staff helped him loads, but there was an element of frustration at not being selected, when he maybe knew he had something different about him. But he said he just remained patient and kept working hard. Again, I was very impressed with this young man’s brilliant attitude.
We continued discussing his unique story and being selected for the academy and his talent being noticed. You see the talent ID process really captivates me, and Scott had a very different progress into the football world. The thing that intrigues me is why are people successful in anything they do? For instance from what I have read it appears that some of the most successful people in the world have 3 commonalities. They all exercise, they all meditate and they all get up early in the morning. This got me wondering how many footballers have these commonalities, and if they have something different as a football player. For instance, do they all play FIFA to know all the teams/players, do they research the FA talent ID models, do they travel to get trials, do they do something different like enter an online competition? All questions worth pondering over I think, especially if this captivates you.
I did press on and ask Scott more, about release, mental health and options available for players but for now I will have to leave you wanting more (hopefully). Therefore please do check in next time for the part 2 of this interesting journey of a young professional football player.
Pitch is also conducting some research with scouts, if you are a interested please do take 1-2 minutes to take our quick survey please see here
Check out Scott on Instagram @scott_pollock12 or on Twitter @Scott_pollock12
Check out Pitch on Instagram @pitch_football_talent or on Twitter @RateRmt