BRAKING NEWS : Charlton Athletic confirm fantastic star player returned after leaving for 6 good years

Alex Willis, a former academy star, returned to the club this week to offer advice on potential career paths for the Addicks’ current learners.

Willis scored almost 500 goals for Charlton throughout his ten-year career, but instead of accepting a professional contract, he relocated to the United States to attend North Kentucky University on scholarship.

Joe Francis, the academy’s Head of Education, expressed his enthusiasm for the decision. “I’m immensely proud,” he stated this week. “When he left, he was only 18.” He’s returned, he’s 24, and he has had an incredible life experience.

“He’s come back as a man,” Francis said. “Moving 6,000 kilometers across the pond and starting a new life forces you to mature.

“He returned to pursue a career in law and has got a very profitable full-time post in the city. He’s continuing to learn and play semi-professionally after his comeback. He stated that none of this would have been possible without his life experience in America.

Academy star returns for scholars talk | Charlton Athletic Football Club

Willis is hardly the only Addicks expert who has traveled across the Atlantic. Ryan Godding, Sam Nwosu, and Tyrone Kirunda, among others, have enrolled in American institutions thanks to the academy’s collaboration with USA Scholarships.

“It just shows another way that us as an academy can demonstrate success for our young players,” stated Francis. “Even though some of our young players might not turn professional with us, we endeavour to find alternative careers for them.”

“I always say to the lads that I’ll be a colleague and a mentor for life.”

The academy not only provides opportunities for these types of maneuvers, but it also teaches players skills that will make them appealing to businesses and institutions.

Age 'does not concern' Hartlepool United boss Keith Curle but will academy  stars be handed start against Stevenage

“What’s on offer is not for everybody, but it’s just showing what can be possible with the currency that you’ve earnt whilst being a scholar,” Francis added. “What I mean by currency is that they’ve learned so many intangibles from being in a professional atmosphere, such as being punctual, disciplined, leading an athletic lifestyle, being trustworthy, honest, hardworking, and resilient.

“These are all intangibles that the boys don’t necessarily realise that they’re learning, that are attractive to either employers or for further and higher education.”

Francis was pleased with how Willis’ talk went. “What we always try and do with boys that we encourage to return and share their stories is just sow a seed,” he said. “To say, look, ‘this is my journey, these are my experiences, this is what happened to me. I’ve been in the opposition. Don’t just think that your options are only here.’

“It’s always difficult to have that conversation with boys that are still pursuing their professional career here, but it won’t be the last time that Alex comes.”

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club’s academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.