Why life skills complement love of the game at new Hull football academy

A NEW football academy has been launched with the aim of not only developing young players’ skills but also helping give them a solid foundation for the future.
Liam Hughes: Leading the way.Liam Hughes: Leading the way.
Liam Hughes: Leading the way.

LIFE (Liam Isaac Football Elite) was launched in the summer and held its first sessions when lockdown restrictions were eased.

Founder Liam Hughes plays for non-league Matlock Town and his former clubs include Scunthorpe, Cambridge, Barrow, Darlington and Bradford PA. Set up with fellow coach Isaac Wilinsky, LIFE coaches players aged four to 14.

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Rotherham-born Hughes said: “Our objective is to be that bridge to help players step up to academies with professional clubs but, more than that, it’s about giving young players a more rounded experience to help them learn valuable skills they can use away from football.

“We also want them to learn essential skills such as concentration, work ethic, teamwork, discipline and loving what you do.”

LIFE sessions are based at Soccer Sensations in East Hull and Hughes said: “At the moment, there’s just two coaches – Issac and me – and one of the ways we ensure the standard is high is to have a strict limit on the number of players we register.

“I’m pleased to say we are already seeing an increase in demand as word gets around and the next steps are to recruit more coaches and expand the business.”

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Hughes’s own career as a professional was affected by mental health issues and last year he founded WAND, an organisation dedicated to raise awareness of and offer support to others struggling with similar issues through a series of workshops and talks.

Hughes, 28, said: “There’s a lot of pressure on young people these days and nowhere more so than in the football world.

“I know that from my own experience and that’s why I am passionate about making sure our coaching not only focuses on developing playing ability but also provides a safe and supportive place to enjoy this great game we all love.”

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