Kick-starting a new opportunity: South Yorkshire football star embarks on three-year law degree
Training to be a lawyer takes commitment, skill and a lot of hard work.
The same could be said for an athlete striving to be at the top of their game - something Bethany England knows all about.
The South Yorkshire footballer, who has previously represented England at under-19s and under-23s level, has taken on her biggest challenge yet, an intensive three-year law degree.
The move has left the 20-year-old juggling her career in football with her studies at BPP University in Manchester, something she readily admits is a challenge.
“There are times it’s really difficult to juggle everything,” admitted Bethany.
Without taking risks, you will never know how capable you areBethany England
“But I believe the hard-graft will pay off in the future. I think any footballer playing at a high competitive level finds it hard to do many things. You want to be the fittest, fastest and strongest player but you can’t devote all of your time to training, particularly if you’re a semi-professional footballer, like myself, who has to also factor in time for studies and full or part-time jobs.
“I’m not a quitter and I intend to continue down the career path I have chosen.”
And Bethany doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration, as England women’s international footballer and Chelsea forward Eni Aluko qualified as a lawyer at the end of last year.
Bethany said: “Eni clearly managed to get the balance right, as she is a great footballer and I can imagine she excels at her job.
“She is a great role model for younger, aspirational footballers who also have ambitions like myself.”
The opportunity to pursue a dream career in law actually came via the Doncaster Rovers Belles, for whom Bethany has played since she was 16, when BPP Professional Education Group, a European private education provider, began sponsoring the club in 2013.
Bethany was the first beneficiary of a BPP University sponsorship deal, which gives £30,000 to the club and scholarships for players.
“I genuinely believe my path is law,” said Barnsley-born Bethany. “I was initially doing a social work degree before BPP gave me the opportunity to kick-start my law studies. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and I’m excited to pursue a career in family law.”
Bethany travelled hundreds of miles from home to complete a Pathway to Higher Education course at BPP University, Shepherd’s Bush, London.
Having passed the fast-track course, the Belles midfielder was awarded a place on the LLB law degree course at BPP University’s Manchester site.
Now she trains nearly every day for the Belles, as well as cramming in hours of intensive study.
Despite a few initial fears, she’s attacking her qualification head-on.
Midfielder Bethany, who joined the Belles from Sheffield United Academy in 2010, and lives in Kingston, Barnsley, added: “I was scared that I wouldn’t be smart enough, but I’ve come to realise that without taking risks, you’ll never know how capable you are and what you can achieve.”