I set up my first business aged 19. Having just been released as a young professional footballer, I went to University to study BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching & Performance on scholarship at University of Hull. Immediately, without me realising it, I set my bar high in terms of expectations and what I wanted to achieve.
I said from the off I wanted to become the next England Manager starting with becoming recognised as a world leader in maximising youth development in football. This may have seemed a bit too ambitious, but I ended up becoming a scout a Bradford City FC. I was responsible for running Development Centres for East Riding County FA, working with girls aged 4-10, and coaching the University of Hull Football Teams.
This was when I decided I could go it alone, do things my way and around Christmas during the first year of my degree I began to set up my own business. Gérard School of Football Ltd (GSF) was born in February 2009 and at age of 19, from humble beginnings, GSF grew to become recognised as the number 4 in the UK for Best Local Activity for Children Aged 5-12 2010. It received £5,000 sponsorship from multi-billion pound organisation, British Land Plc, through the St Stephen’s Centre and featured in local, regional and national press, BBC Look North and BBC Radio Humberside. To add to this GSF was nominated for several business, sports coaching and enterprise awards.
GSF grew to become the largest coaching provider in the Humberside & East Yorkshire region, working with over 1500 pupils each week, and attracting the attention of some of the biggest coaching organisations and professional football clubs in the world. We eventually signed a contract with Arsenal Football Club. This means that GSF now features in the Top 100 Best Business Start-up List in UK for 2010.
I’m now an Enterprise UK Ambassador and Speaker for leading motivation and inspirational speaking organisations throughout Britain. I am also the youngest director of football in Arsenal Soccer School’s history and following on from my TV debut on BBC Look North, I’ve got odds of 1000-1 to become the future England Manager!
The best advice I could give is, if you really want to do something, if you’re ambitious, determined and willing to work hard, then ride the set-backs and get up fighting, and then anything is possible!
Gérard Jones, Enterprise UK Ambassador and Arsenal Soccer Schools Head Coach.