Second Chance Programme goes from strength-to-strength
The Second Chance Programme gives players that have previously been released by Club Academies a ‘second chance’ in their footballing career.
The two-year, full-time education and football development programme for those aged between 16-18 has been hugely successful over the past season, with four trophies being won in oneyear.
Frankie Taylor, 17, joined the Second Chance Academy at the beginning of the summer. As a lifelong West Ham United fan, Frankie was thrilled to join the Foundation’s programme and things got better when he was offered a trial period at the West Ham United Academy earlier this month.
This huge step forward in his footballing career meant the world to Frankie. “I’ve always supported West Ham and I have had a season ticket since I was four, even when we were relegated! So, to be able to train here in this programme is brilliant. It gives me the chance to follow my ambition to become a top footballer as well as continue to get qualifications.
“Mark Noble is a role model to me because of where he’s come from and the age he started competing at an elite level is similar to my age currently. He is a leader and is passionate about the game which is how I strive to be.
“When I came to the scheme, we were training alongside the team from the U18 Academy, being able to look over and see them training was incredible experience. You could see what level you are at and what level you need to get to.
“I was then at the Academy for two weeks and I felt as each day progressed, I got better and better, I integrated with the boys, the coaching was great, the whole camaraderie was a fantastic experience.
"The routine was to train every day from 8.30am to 5pm. It got me into the routine of being a professional footballer and working hard all the time. They gave me some really useful feedback, so now I know what to work on and how I can improve my game.
“My attitude as a player has massively developed, I knew when I joined that I had to be completely professional as they won’t tolerate any rubbish at all.
"My fitness also has improved, to be at the top level you need to be as fit as everyone there. Joining the Second Chance scheme and then going onto the Academy pushed me to be fitter and faster which has made me completely different player.
“Before this summer there weren’t many opportunities and now, I have come to West Ham United I’m getting phone calls from clubs such as Watford and Charlton. The programme has been a great stepping stone and has helped me get noticed and I am very grateful.
"The coaching on the Second Chance programme has been brilliant, Jim always wants what’s best for the players, and I have really enjoyed my time here."
Jim Hampsheir, WHU Foundation Senior Academy Integration Officer, coaches on the programme and spoke about his experience with the teen: “The first time I saw Frankie play I knew he had the ability to progress further with his football career. Frankie has a great attitude and is a defender who fits well into the modern game. He is hungry to learn and strives to improve in every single session.
“Frankie’s success once again demonstrates the positive impact of the Second Chance programme, which has such a great effect on so many players’ lives. Once players get released they can often feel lost and unsure what to do but this programme opens up other ways for them to find a path to success.”