'Another chance' - Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold launches PFA-backed initiative supporting young footballers who don't make it as professionals
- After Academy backed by the Professional Footballers' Association
- Will help and support players released at academy level
- Liverpool, Under Armour and Red Bull all providing backing
WHAT HAPPENED? The England international, 24, has spoken previously of the need for more support for those who come through the academy system but fail to make the grade as top-level professionals, and has now launched The After Academy, a scheme which aims to provide help and support, as well as career opportunities, for such youngsters.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Alexander-Arnold said: "I loved my time at the Liverpool academy. It gave me everything I have today and I am so grateful to be in the position I'm in. The feeling of lifting trophies for your childhood club is magical and I wouldn't swap it for anything in the world, but if things didn't work out the way they did I could have been one of those being told the dream is over.
"I'm fortunate to not know what that conversation is like but I know from my friends and other former players how hard it hits and how tough it can be. I'm proud of this programme as it looks to give another chance to those who didn't make it, and I hope it's just a first step towards a brighter future for these young players."
There is a side to football we don’t talk about enough. The 99% that don’t make it.— Trent Alexander-Arnold (@TrentAA) April 27, 2023
Thank you to Steven Gerrard, Steve Sidwell, Liam MacDevitt & Tash Jordan for being part of this important conversation.
Full video on my YouTube channel tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/aImleBW8Sn
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Backed by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), The After Academy will also have support from Red Bull, Under Armour and Therabody, Alexander-Arnold's commercial partners. They have vowed to offer jobs, work placements and internships for former players, while Liverpool are also behind the scheme, with academy director Alex Inglethorpe a big advocate of clubs offering greater support to its former prospects. Liverpool have had recent success, and excellent feedback, from their alumni programme, which aims to keep ex-players connected and aware of potential career paths, courses and events.
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WHAT NEXT? After making the announcement on Thursday, Alexander-Arnold will be preparing for Liverpool's next match against Tottenham on Sunday, where Jurgen Klopp's side be buoyed a third straight league win against West Ham on Wednesday.