The IFA’s graduates of 2018. What are their plans now?
At the IFA and Loughborough there is an overarching principle that we aim to offer all of our student-players – ‘opportunity’. With an education from a top 5 UK university, regularly voted best in the World for sport, coupled with the elite futsal training from the IFA there are endless opportunities after graduating.
As we bid farewell to the latest IFA graduates, who are starting to define their immediate future, we can clearly see they are taking full advantage of the amazing opportunities they have had. And there’s a common denominator linking all of our graduates: wanting to remain in the game.
Super League Clubs have historically been a welcoming destination to our graduates, with lots of our former student-players spread around the country still playing the game. And this year’s graduates are no exception. Ben Amare is set to head to Southend (formerly known as London City), and Kyle Lilley turns his sight north being announced for Junior Roberti’s York City. Both highlight the amazing FA Cup run of Loughborough’s Development team as their biggest highlight of their time on the IFA programme. The duo are hoping to carry their success to their new teams.
Steven Dovey, who captained Loughborough Development team to that historical FA Cup semi-final and more recently to promotion into Division 1, is set to return to his home town. He hopes to help bring new National League club City of Peterborough into the spotlight of English futsal. Steven has already found a job working in Social Sports for the University of Lincoln Students’ Union. He hit the jackpot in his first job application as a new Sports Science graduate.
Also hoping to improve the chances of a side in the lower divisions of the National League will be Joe Payne. The goalkeeper, who earned his first England cap this year, has accepted a scholarship to study a Masters at the University of Nottingham. He will join a significant cohort of former IFA and Loughborough student-players already in the squad.
Full of excitement is Blaise Gapp, who will be trialling for Portuguese Second Division club ABC Nelas, in pursuit of his first professional futsal contract. After scoring twice in the 2018 BUCS final to help Loughborough bring the National Universities Championship to its rightful home, the hopes are high for someone with the appropriate nickname ‘The Blonde Pitbull’.
The dynamic duo of Ryan Waring-Mitchell and Jamie Hallas are set to find jobs locally to Loughborough. Both want to continue playing futsal with us at the highest possible level, reluctant to leave the bubble just yet.
With degrees from such a top class institute we look forward to seeing how these two get on in the very near future.
Alex Turfrey will also be staying in Loughborough to play for the Super League team. He will continue his coaching career, which saw him gaining promotion with the Students’ second team in BUCS. The next step for him is taking on the challenge of leading Women’s Futsal in Loughborough, as National League and BUCS 1st coach. Taking over from the IFA’s Callum De-Gruchy, who took the team to the FA Futsal Cup semifinal this year, will be no easy feat.We wish all of our graduates a long and prosperous career both in futsal and professionally. We know we will be keeping in touch with all of our graduates, the IFA and Loughborough family will always be their home and our doors are always open.