Paula Sage has always had a passion for the beautiful game, but even she might not have dared to dream that as soon as she finished her degree at the University of Worcester, she would be snapped up by the Football Association (FA) to play a key role in developing the next generation of footballing talent.
On completing her BSc in Sport & Exercise Science, Paula successfully landed a full time post with the FA, as a coach on their Tesco Skills Programme. She is responsible for coaching young footballers across a range of abilities.
Paula explains: “We run coaching sessions in schools, during the holidays and in the evenings. It’s not just about being a better footballer, we want them to have fun and build their confidence. Hopefully that way we can help them explore their full potential.
“I am learning so much all the time, and I get to meet and work with lots of great people. I am very lucky to work in a job that I love.”
Paula believes her experiences at University, both inside and outside the lecture theatre, have helped her stand out in the jobs market: “Being stretched out of your comfort zone helps you. It's definitely helped me following University - going in to a role where I try to encourage open learning.
“I also had great opportunities to apply what I was learning. I worked extensively with the University ladies football team, and also as a Team Leader on the University Summer Schools, which aimed to raise educational aspirations amongst young people.
“All these experiences were invaluable in helping me decide what I wanted to do next, and how best to achieve it.”
With a dream job working for the Football Association already secured, Paula is certainly content with how things have progressed since she completed her studies. This hasn’t stopped her from considering what might come next however, and a possible return to university life.
As she explains: “For now I'm really happy in my role as a Skills Coach, working for the FA is an amazing opportunity, and not one I'm keen to move on from just yet! In the future I would like to go into lecturing, so I’m hoping to do a Masters in Sports Coaching.”