Creating a pathway…
Alex Pugh joined Volenti Academy as a fifteen year old, having previously been coached by Academy Director Bobby Bowry at his grassroots club. He went onto join our under 19 Football & Education programme, graduating in the Summer of last year and is currently nearing the end of his second year on a football scholarship at the University of Houston-Victoria in Texas. Alex pays tribute to the role that the Volenti Academy has played in his life.
“My time at Volenti Academy was full of great experiences both on and off the field. Attending their under 19 scheme was an absolute no brainer for me; I had been in the younger age groups in the Academy so I already knew just how good was the standard of coaching delivered by Bobby and his staff. The programme allowed me to continue playing full-time football at a good level but it also enabled me to gain the qualifications I needed to get into University.
The two years I spent on the under 19 programme were fantastic. I really enjoyed working hard with other great players and this really helped develop my game. The environment at Volenti is that everyone can achieve great things, but only if they are willing to put in the work for it. Training and playing five days a week and travelling all around the UK for games really gave players on the programme a professional and elite experience.
The coaches at Volenti demand and expect perfection. They sacrifice a lot of their time and resources to help scholars grow, not only as players, but as people too. This I am truly grateful for.
Volenti gave me the idea of continuing my playing career by suggesting I look into getting a football scholarship in America. This is because I wanted to go to University and get a degree but I also wanted to continue playing full-time football. So it was a perfect combination of the two.
After going to a showcase trial event which was put on by Pass4Soccer, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship offer from Houston-Victoria University in Texas.
Moving out to America was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The football side of things is incredible. The facilities are first class and you get treated like you would do at a pro club. The RRAC conference which our team plays in means that we have to travel far and wide for away games. This lets us experience all different parts of America which is a great bonus. Last season our College team won the league; we went undefeated all season long and we ended up qualifying for the national tournament.
The lifestyle change has been perfect for me. Putting yourself in that environment means you will meet loads of new people, make new friendships and create experiences that you will keep for the rest of your life. I’m really glad I made the move out to America. I really would recommend it to anyone who is prepared to work hard at University and who doesn’t want to give up playing football at a high level.
“I will always be grateful to Volenti Academy for opening up these opportunities for me.”