Alex Avenell joined All Saints’ Academy Sixth Form as part of the U19 Development Programme with CTFC.
As part of the U19 Development Programme with Cheltenham Town FC students study at All Saints’ Academy Sixth Form full-time alongside being coached by UEFA qualified staff and compete in weekly EFL league and Cup fixtures.
Alex finished Sixth Form in 2020 gaining good grades in Sport and Business. He is currently studying Sport and Business Management at the University of Worcester. He recently made his debut as goalkeeper for Gloucester City’s First Team against Gateshead!
Why did you choose the U19 Development programme with CTFC and All Saints’ Academy Sixth Form?
It was a great choice for me because it allowed me to combine football with education. It also gave me opportunities to play with Cheltenham Town Scholars and the First Team.
What have you been up to since finishing Sixth Form?
I went to the University of Worcester to study Sport and Business Management. Alongside this I played for Kidderminster Harriers full time and gained opportunities with the first time squad and on the bench.
Can you tell us about your journey at Gloucester City Football Club?
In the summer I moved to Gloucester City FC and started with the U21s and worked my way up to the first team. I recently made my debut for the club in the first team against Gateshead. I’ve also been on the bench numerous times in the squad and I am training every day full time.
How do you balance being part of a club and university full time?
With a lot of hard work and dedication. Similar to when I was at All Saints’. I have to regularly contact the lecturers to catch up. Sometimes I go in for presentations and in person stuff but most of the time I have to train, so I have to keep up to date with lecturers and what they need to tell me.
How did All Saints’ prepare you for university?
The school really helped me along my road to university, not only in applying for it but also by helping me achieve really good grades and giving me the edge over other applicants at university. All Saints’ also helped me socially, I moved from a different town and all the teachers and pupils were really welcoming towards me and helped me settle in really well. All Saints’ Academy was very supportive and helped me combine my education and football together to make me a better player and also progress on to a future career.
What were the benefits of a full-time football programme alongside completing your education?
The football and education programme mixed well for me because it allowed me to get an education which is important for me to move on to university. The football programme is one of my passions and something I love to do, so it gave me the opportunity to progress as a person, player and student.
How did the football programme enable you to progress as a player and a person?
The football programme gave me lots of skills to develop as a player and allowed me to do full time training every day and gave me opportunities to train with the scholars and first team. It enabled me to be able to progress on to Kidderminster Harriers and gave me a good foundation to go there and do well, and now on to Gloucester City. Without the U19 Development Programme I don’t think I would be in as good a position as I am now.
How has the football programme supported with your coaching career path?
After I left Cheltenham Town I contacted them about a work experience placement and they had me back for work experience for 6 months. This was a brilliant opportunity for my coaching and university placement. This then led on to a job working in the Academy Development Centre which has been really good.
Any advice for players looking at their next steps post GCSE?
I would 100% recommend to come to All Saints’ Academy and join the CTFC U19 Development Programme. I feel like you will progress as a person and a player if you are interested in sport. They will teach you valuable skills that will help you progress in life and whatever you want to do next.
How did you find being involved with the U18 Scholars and First Team training?
It allowed me to progress because of the exposure to being around professional players every single day and it played a major factor in my development as a player. It also gave me experience of being exposed to different situations and pressures and held me in good stead when I moved on to different clubs.
What are your future plans?
To continue playing for Gloucester City full time professionally. I also have an interest in teaching so I want to complete my degree in Physical Education with the potential to go on and be a teacher.
For more details on how to apply to be part of the U19 Development Programme please contact Calum.Wands@ctfc.com