The event i covered was for current youth football players from tons of football league clubs from around the north. The event was set inside the velodrome’s inner conference type circley type thing. It was divided into small rooms on the outside where two different clubs of players would sit and listen to ex and still working professional athletes giving a short talk about the dangers of getting too complaisant in sport and not being offered a professional contract.
The youth football system works like so: at the age of 16 young players at clubs enter the apprentice scheme which is operated by the LFE (League Football Education) where they play for their clubs for two years while at the same time gaining qualifications through various education establishments. At the end of the 2 years the LFE hold assessment trials where players play 2 or 3 games of football in one evening, in a kind of exam scenario. I spoke to one of the exhibitors at the event who told me that many people where not happy with the system and that it is flawed, an opinion i sympathise with.
The players also get involved in different games with the athletes that are geared toward the players mingling with each other and with different clubs. They are also assessed on their confidence levels and asked how they would feel about going for a job interview and other real world scenarios they may face if they don’t achieve a professional contract.
After these short interactions with the athletes they go into the main hall to speak with the different exhibitors. These exhibitors all attend these events to try and tempt the players into looking into their companies as future employment back ups. The exhibitors range from Barclays to Colleges in America to the British Army to Plumbing companies and so on.
After the players had done enough walking around, mingling and signing up for things (the sexual health exhibitor stand was the busiest by a long shot, oooooooh footballers) the players were all seated in the main seated bit in front of a stage. Two ex footballers and an ex olympic swimmer gave a talk about their own experiences, their thoughts on the events and the opportunities the footballers had open to them.
The one cool thing about the day was the Olympic team GB cycling team training on the track on the outside of the conference space. Chris Hoy and all them lot, it was mad seeing how fast they go even when they’re not going flat out.
Geeky stuff: I used a D300s, 24 – 70mil f2.8, 85mil f1.4 and a 35 mil f1.8. Had some problems with the taking pictures bit to be honest, they wanted pics of the players engaging with the exhibitors but the lighting was that poor and the space that tight that it was nion impossible to get images of the players facing the lens while still including the exhibitors signs. Anyway heres the images i managed to get of the event, most of them are un edited as in some of them have just had the white balance sorting and levels maybe thats about it. You can also find the images for this event on the Create Your Legacy facebook page here.