From a player to a respected coach…..

Seth Dakin joined Volenti Academy in its first year as a Football & Education programme, enjoying a successful two year scholarship. The team in which he played won the League in his first season and, in the second, finished runners up in both the League and the Cup competition. His academic progress was just as impressive; Seth graduated from the programme with a triple distinction star in his extended level 3 BTEC. 

However, during his scholarship, Seth, unfortunately, sustained several injuries which meant that he spent eight months on the sidelines. “It was a really tough period for me,” he says, “and there were times when I honestly thought I should stop playing football altogether.” In spite of his disappointment and frustration, Seth never lost his focus and began to think about ways in which he could remain involved whilst he was not actually able to play. He started having in-depth discussions with Academy Director Bobby Bowry and other Volenti coaches and began to take a close interest in the sessions which they put on and how they worked every day to improve themselves and the scholars. This period proved to be crucial because it opened up a new chapter in the development of Seth’s journey in football. He also particularly remembers a day spent with his teammates at The Emirates where he was given the chance to network with professionals in the football industry including coaches, sports scientists, analysts, agents, journalists and broadcasters. “Volenti Academy opened my eyes to new and exciting pathways in football that I never would have known about,” he says. 

Following the completion of his scholarship, Seth was offered places at some of the country’s leading sporting universities. He was also offered the opportunity of a year’s apprenticeship role as a member of staff at Volenti. Seth decided that he wanted to roll up his sleeves and learn as an employee. He says, “It was an opportunity I had to take. It was a role I would have been looking for after university. Having a daily interaction and constantly being able to absorb and learn from ex professional players and coaches was amazing.”

A year of multiple responsibilities followed and Seth worked on a number of  Volenti projects at different locations including the pre-Academy initiative, the expanding partnership with Folio Education Trust at the exciting new Coombe Wood School in Croydon and the Football & Education programme run in partnership with London Nautical School and the Palace for Life Foundation. Working in these different environments, Seth gained an understanding of the importance of being able to adapt while learning to work with different age groups and taking on board new coaching techniques from a variety of professionals. As Seth says, “It was a crazy year, I couldn’t wait to get started – so much so I didn’t go on holiday, I just wanted to learn as much as I could every day” 

After making outstanding progress and completing a highly successful apprenticeship, Seth was then offered a role as a full time coach at Volenti Academy. He jumped at the chance. “I couldn’t quite believe it. Although I had worked hard, I knew it was a risk for them bringing a young coach into such a thriving and exciting set up.” This further increased Seth’s responsibilities, giving him the opportunity to take teams by himself on both the training pitch and on match days. “I will forever be grateful for the trust and opportunity everyone at Volenti has given me and I hope to continue to progress every day” 

Well Seth, you’ve not stopped doing that since you first joined us!