Find out more about Lola's experience on the Arsenal Gap Year.
Pre Gap Year: I am a qualified lawyer and Pre Gap Year worked for one of the top investment banks in London. I played football socially as and when my work commitments would permit.
Post Gap Year: I recently secured a job as a football coach in one the largest providers of grass roots football in Beijing, China. More recently, I have been appointed to oversee Female Football Development at my new club called ClubFootball China.
What did you gain from doing the Arsenal Gap Year?
I gained invaluable experiences on and off the pitch. I obtained my Level 1 and Level 2 FA qualifications, in addition to skills that enable me to deliver P.E. and school sport for all ages. I also received an introductory certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) which was handy when I coached football abroad. I made lifelong friendships with individuals I wouldn’t have met, purely because of our mutual love for football. I was fortunate enough to receive coach education and network with some of the most experienced and outstanding coaches in the game.
What was your favourite part of the programme?
It’s difficult to choose. I loved phase 1 in London because meeting other Gappers and being coached regularly throughout the summer was awesome. There is no better feeing than waking up each day knowing you’ll play/coach football. Phase 3 was also a highlight but for different reasons, I love to travel and being able to combine 2 of my favourite hobbies was amazing. I coached in London Mozambique South Africa and Australia. I was also lucky to meet the Arsenal players too, which isn’t a guarantee but as an Arsenal fan it was phenomenal experience and one that will stay with me forever.
How would you describe your overall experience on the Arsenal Gap Year?
Pre- Arsenal Gap Year I worked within the legal/investment banking sector. I had always played football and wanted to pursue it further. Unfortunately, my dedication to studies prevented me from doing so. I used the Arsenal Gap Year programme to transition from law into football, with a reputable club, gaining qualification and real hands on experience. In my view the Arsenal Gap Year was positive and insightful. I learned more about myself and football in that year than ever before.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of doing the Arsenal Gap Year?
If you are considering the Arsenal Gap Year Programme, I would really suggest reflecting on your objectives and what it is you want to achieve. It is often said “you get out what you put in” and I believe that was true for this programme. I would also advise being respectful towards your fellow coaches/Gappers. Some may want to become the next Guardiola whereas others may want to combine travel and fun for more of a social experience. Either way it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop and you should 100% consider it.
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