Find out more about the inspiration behind the football project that gives unearthed talent another shot of making it into the pro sphere
Football at the highest level may be awash with more cash than ever before, but the sport has also seen its greatest boom of late developers over the last decade.
On January 1, 2010 – the first day of the last decade – Jamie Vardy was still six months away from leaving Stocksbridge Park Steels in the Northern Premier League, approaching his 23rd birthday. By the end of the decade, he led the Premier League goalscoring chart for Leicester City, having already helped fire the Foxes to a stunning title victory, played in the Champions League and retired from England duty.
Charlie Austin, Andre Gray, Troy Deeney, Rickie Lambert and Max Kilman all followed similar paths from non-league to Premier League, while young stars currently thriving – Dwight McNeil of Burnley, West Ham’s Declan Rice and QPR sensation Ebere Eze – were picked up later in their youth careers by other clubs. Eze, a standout player in the Championship two seasons ago, was dropped by both Fulham (aged 16) and Millwall (at 18) before finding his ideal surroundings to shine at Loftus Road and is now shining at Crystal Palace.
The case studies are there. While limited patience at the highest level means clubs want finished articles, ProChance know that young players are very rarely ready-made. Some just need a little more time and another chance to stake their claims in the game.
That’s why we believe we are developing a vital project, adding value to the industry by working with aspiring players on the outside of professional football – particularly those born from January to August (like Rice and Eze, for example), who need a home to reset and re-energise their minds after release from pro academies.