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Jake Henry (BSc Sport & Exercise Science, 2011)

Jake Henry (BSc Sport & Exercise Science, 2011)

After graduating from Leeds Met in 2011, Jake relocated to the USA, where he worked for Red Bull New York coaching football to 3-17 year olds. He returned to England in 2013 to continue his coaching qualifications and joined Nottingham Forest Football Club as a coach in the youth academy.

Jake was initially attracted to our University when he attended an open day and learned about the research that staff and current students were undertaking across a broad spectrum of fields: “It was the potential to conduct research within football and the impact it could have that attracted me to Leeds Met, as I felt that this would benefit me in the future and set me apart from other graduates. This aim was realised in my final year, when I was lucky enough to conduct original research through my dissertation. I also wanted to feel comfortable at my university, outside of my studies, and Leeds Met offered me that.”

Coaching was always a dream for Jake – he was working towards his coaching qualifications and coaching at a local private school throughout his time at university. He saw the opportunity of coaching in the USA advertised and decided it was too good a chance to pass up “I worked with Red Bull New York, the major league soccer club based in New Jersey. I coached boys and girls aged 3-17 across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania as part of their Training Programmes and Regional Development Schools scheme.
“Whilst working for the club, I lived around 20 minutes from Times Square in New York before moving further south to an area a similar distance from the infamous Jersey Shore. Living so close to the Big Apple showed me the fast-paced lifestyle that people lead in a city of that size – something of a shock after having only just graduated! I really valued that time in the States, as it gave me the chance to see life from a different perspective and learn from a variety of people every day.”

Jake decided to return to England in order to pursue further coaching qualifications, and joined Nottingham Forest FC. He still works there on a part-time basis as the Under 12 Academy Coach, which fits in perfectly with his full-time role as the Coaching Research Assistant with the Football Association. He reflects on how his time at our University has helped him in his career: “I aid The FA with ensuring that research makes a positive impact on policy and practice within coach education, a role that is always growing. I feel that the experiences I gained at university and through coaching both here and abroad opened up the opportunity that allowed me to apply for this role, and I certainly wouldn’t be working for the sport’s national governing body without it.”

His love of football means Jake enjoys sport as an activity outside of work too. He managed to see some NFL, baseball and basketball while in the States, and is hoping to try and follow the Formula 1 abroad at some stage, having seen the Grand Prix here several times. His first love is always football, though: “I would love to work abroad again within football – maybe in a country where English isn’t the first language. That would give me the challenges of learning a vastly different culture, language and way of life!”

Jake would highly recommend Leeds Beckett to other students, but highlights the need for it to be a personal decision: “I would advise people who aren’t sure if Leeds Beckett is for them to consider how they feel as they walk around it and talk to the current students and staff. If you’re comfortable and like to get involved, there are plenty of experiences available to you at university that will help you find the path you want to take in life.”

Last December, Jake accepted the position of Coaching Research Assistant with the Football Association, where he helps provide support to internal staff with evidence-based research into coaching practice and the profession of coaching, through FA commissioned projects and further research.