BY HEATHER WOOD
If finances are keeping your teenager from pursuing a football career while studying, talk to Corey Hill.
The former national team footballer, who also coached for Hamilton Parish, lives in Leicestershire, England, where he is a recruiting agent for Brooke House College’s Football Academy.
Playing there puts footballers in sight of scouts from professional clubs in the UK. The school offers scholarships that can shave as much of 40 per cent off fees.
Mr Hill got involved two years ago when his son Deniche Hill, joined the co-ed boarding and day school in Market Harborough.
“I’m managing my son who’s in school in the UK and while I’m doing that, I’ve also set up a partnership with his actual school. I actually scout boys and do consultancy for boys that want to come to Brooke House,” he said. “I help those families transition from Bermuda to Brooke House and then those boys that come here, I’m also a coach, so I mentor them while they’re here.
“And because I’m here permanently, the Bermuda Football Association have reached out to me to help scout boys with Bermuda ties in the UK that they can include in international programmes, from the youth right up to the seniors. So basically I’m scouting for the BFA while I’m here as well.”
Students can apply for either an academic or sports scholarship. The latter is only open to Bermuda footballers who are part of the national team. Verification would have to come from the BFA.
Brooke House is a football academy and a boarding school. So if a young man aspires to further himself in football then Brooke House is a perfect fit.
“If they were to receive both scholarships, then they can get up to 40 per cent off school fees,” Mr Hill said.
“Right now we have four boys, including my son, that are on a sports scholarship, and one boy has sports and academics. Especially for people whose parents are in Bermuda and who are boarding, it’s not a cheap transition for them.”
As a year’s tuition and board at the accredited football academy costs about £40,000, a scholarship can be the deciding factor in whether or not a student is able to attend.
“It’s a very important choice that you have to make. A lot of people are trying to deal with the immediate situation, which will be getting their kids into a decent [football] institution. They’re not even thinking as far as college yet and how they will be able to pay for it.”
As a school, Brooke House offers a fantastic opportunity to young football players with their sight set on a professional career, Mr Hill added.
“Brooke House is a football academy and a boarding school. So if a young man aspires to further himself in football then Brooke House is a perfect fit. There’s no other distractions; you’re not involved in any other sport, so you can concentrate on football, and school.
“It’s a high quality programme. All the coaches are UEFA-qualified [and there are] a lot of eyes on Brooke House, there’s a lot of people looking at the talent at Brooke House whether it be a professional club or a university. It’s different from a boarding school where you [play a range of sports], where the focus is not primarily on football.”
Students are assigned to teams based on their ability on the field.
“Anybody could come to the school. You don’t have to be the best player in the world to attend the school,” said Mr Hill. “You get here and you will be put in the right team based on your ability. But for scholarships, it is an advantage if you’re a part of the national programme. If you’re training with the Bermuda national squad, the Under-15s or the Under-17s, then you can apply for a scholarship that obviously will help you financially.
“At Brooke House it’s football six days a week and they’re playing against high quality opposition. In order to develop, you need to be in that type of environment. You can’t just be playing every other week. That’s just not going to cut it to get to the top level over here. So you’re giving yourself a chance if you pick the right institution.”
It is the type of consideration that also goes into awarding sports scholarships at Brooke House as, “they don’t pick average players at the professional clubs”.
“That’s the key,” Mr Hill said. “Obviously, you have to be good enough. They don’t pick average players. You have to be the cream of the crop.
“I speak to parents and I let them know that if that’s what their kid believes they can achieve, then you have to be in the right environment. You can’t go to a regular boarding school if you want to become a professional football player; no matter what, you have to be in the right environment.”
For more information on Brooke House College contact Corey Hill: [email protected] gmail.com | 011447918147087