Four dedicated Sports Scholarship students have graduated from Edge Hill University today, and the one thing they all have in common is their passion for football.

They all play for the Edge Hill women’s football team and are now firm friends, supporting each other in all aspects of university life.

Simone Magill, from Northern Ireland, moved to Liverpool to play for Everton Ladies football team in the Super League, and in September 2013, she decided to embark on a BSc Coach Education degree at Edge Hill.

i-qZ3DZV6-XL“When I was applying for university, Edge Hill stood out because of the beautiful campus and the friendly atmosphere I found when I first visited,” said Simone. “I knew I wanted to study Sport and all aspects of the Coach Education course sounded really interesting, and I was over the moon when I found out I’d been awarded an Entrance Excellence Scholarship in Sport.”

Alongside studying and playing for Everton Ladies, she also plays for Northern Ireland and coaches the Women’s University football team, and Simone says throughout her course, Edge Hill have been nothing but supportive.

“As I play in international football competitions, it often requires time away from my studies, and Edge Hill have always encouraged me and worked extremely hard to ensure that I could go and play, and still have enough time to complete my studies through extra work and support from my tutors. I’m now looking to stay on at Edge Hill and complete a Masters in Coach Education.”

Rebecca Foster from Salford, who has graduated with a BA (Hons) Physical Education and Sport, dreams of becoming a PE teacher and will be staying at Edge Hill to complete a PGCE in Physical Education. She also believes the support from everyone at Edge Hill is second to none.

“One of the main aspects of Edge Hill is their support system. Throughout my i-RzSDHmb-XLthree years I have had support from all the tutors, on all my pieces of work and especially my final year dissertation. The nice thing about our course is all our cohort are there to support each other too. I play for the Women’s Football team at Edge Hill and the support from all the
players both on and off the pitch is amazing. Being part of a sports team means other teams support you and come and watch, which is a nice feeling on match day.”

As well as playing for the University football team, Rebecca has played in the Women’s Premier League for both Manchester City Ladies and Preston North End Ladies. She also coaches a girls under 12 football team and works as a lifeguard and swimming teacher.

“It was an honour to have been awarded the Sports Scholarship for Prospective Students and something I haven’t taken for granted,” said Rebecca. “I understand that the scholarships at Edge Hill is a growing department and something I believe without I wouldn’t have been able to do and achieve the things I have in the last three years. Because of this, I have always endeavoured to give something back and volunteered for numerous scholarship events, advertising the scholarships at open days and being part of focus groups to develop new ideas.”

Gemma Jackson from North Wales, who received an Entrance Scholarship, graduated today with a degree in Physical Education and School Sports, and like Rebecca, will be staying at Edge Hill to complete her PGCE.

i-GgXMftW-XL“I have nothing but good things to say about Edge Hill,” said Gemma. “I chose to complete my degree here because when I visited, it just felt so homely and everyone was so friendly.

There were times that Gemma had to be away from her studies due to football commitments with Blackburn Rovers, and playing internationally for Wales U19s, and she has taken on various extra-curricular activities including coaching, mentoring, refereeing and volunteering in the community.

“The level of support I received from tutors was superb, especially Senior Lecturer Sarah Pinder, who was always at the end of the phone to offer advice and to help solve any problems I might have.”

Kelly Bourne from Wales, was one of only three students to be awarded an Edge Hill University Sports Scholarship at Gold standard based on her achievements in women’s football, and has already managed to secure herself a job.

“Since finishing my studies at Edge Hill, I have been offered a full time senior position with Go Outdoors which is based in Bootle, Liverpool. Go Outdoors focuses on providing necessary equipment to all individuals, who not only have specific interests in certain areas of the outdoors, but for families, couples or individuals who wish to take up outdoor activities.i-252DNSv-L

“In addition, I have also been offered a role at Liverpool Ladies Football Club within the academy set up, where I will be required to provide workshops to young aspiring athletes, and work alongside individuals who require one to one work to enhance performance levels. This job specifically relates to my degree, and I believe the help, guidance and knowledge I have gained throughout the past three years will allow me to really shine within this position and make a difference to some young athletes’ performances.”

Alongside studying for a degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Kelly has played for Cardiff City, Blackburn Rovers and represented her country, Wales, at U19s level alongside Gemma. Kelly is also an ambassador for Futsal – a modified form of 5-a-side football on a smaller indoor pitch – and was part of a team who won the Women’s Futsal FA Cup.

“Take challenges and try different things,” is the advice Kelly would give to current students hoping to secure employment before graduating.

“Time is tight during the years at university, but take on extra responsibility, try to get as much experience as you possibly can before you have to leave and enter the real world. Be willing to fail, work hard and remember that the more experience and knowledge you gain puts you in better stead to get a job upon graduation.”

Click here for more information about scholarships at Edge Hill University.