UCLan Sports Coaching undergraduate Ryan Ball is a man on a mission.
After initially struggling to make the transition from college to university life, Ryan has used the knowledge gained on his course to secure a role at Blackpool FC and is now hoping to progress up the sporting ladder.
Ryan takes up the story: "I was a typical student in my first year – not completing assignments and failing to complete some of my modules.
"The penny dropped in my second year and with the support of my tutors, particularly Cliff Olsson, I managed to turn things around.
"Cliff helped me get a position at Preston North End FC and I ended up as first team Goalkeeper Coach.
"The experience and knowledge I gained quickly helped my results improve. I was then put in touch with someone at Lancashire Football Association to do some work on the Girls' Player Development Centre project.
"I'm now in my final year and have worked as a North West regional deaf and partially sighted Coach. This led to an invite to coach at St George’s Park, the FA's new National Football Centre near Burton-on-Trent.
"As part of one of my modules I was tasked with gaining extra experience and found a position at Blackpool FC as Head Academy Goalkeeper Coach. This has given me the opportunity to implement what I’ve learnt, including development plans and programmes, along with elite coaching systems.
"I'm on track to secure a good degree and I’m looking to complete my coaching badges. Cliff's help has been invaluable throughout my time at UCLan. He's a great tutor and a good judge of personality. He doesn't say much, but when he does his words are influential and motivational.
"I've enjoyed the course, but you only benefit from it if you put in the effort. Thankfully I've done that and am now reaping the rewards."
Cliff said he was delighted with Ryan's achievements: "Ryan has taken full advantage of all opportunities that have come his way whilst an undergraduate at UCLan and has fully deserved this role at Blackpool Football Club.
"He has studied hard to develop his knowledge and understanding of the coaching process and taken every opportunity to apply his skills in applied contexts and is now beginning to receive the benefits of his hard work and dedication to his chosen profession."