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Inspired by the World Cup? Kick off with a degree in football (seriously)

England soccer fans watch the team's first match in the World Cup against Tunisia at Flat Iron Square in London, Britain, June 18, 2018. Source: Reuters/Henry Nicholls

Has Russia 2018 got you feeling World Cup fever?

Perhaps it’s time to take that passion and turn it into an education and profession. As anybody who’s ever seen what some players earn per season will know, football is big business.

The revenue of Manchester United alone was £581.2 million (US$770 million) for the 2016-17 financial year, let alone the hundreds of other teams across Europe and the world, as well as all the associated businesses that sponsor the global industry.

Accordingly, more and more universities are offering football-specific university courses to prepare people for the business.

Most football-oriented degrees tend to emphasise both coaching methodologies and the science of sport, including nutrition, physiology, psychology and biomechanics. Many of them include practical components with professional British football teams.

France’s Antoine Griezmann in action against Australia on June 16, 2018. Source: Reuters/Jorge Silva

The University of South Wales, for example, offers a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Football Coaching and Performance, teaching course content in partnership with local professional sides Swansea City AFC and Cardiff City.

The University of Greenwich, meanwhile, offers a BSc Hons in Sports Science with Professional Football Coaching, with the opportunity to take a structured coaching or sports science internship with Charlton Athletic FC.

UCFB (University Campus of Football Business) is a higher education institution entirely dedicated to providing education for those seeking to enter the football business as well as sport or events industries.

Its three campuses at Wembley Stadium in London, Burnley Football Club, and Etihad Stadium in Manchester, home of Manchester City FC, place students right in the thick of the action throughout their studies.

“If you gauge the value of academic study by the impact on culture, politics, the economy and society generally over a sustained period, then football deserves to be studied,” says Ellis Cashmore, a visiting professor of sociology at Aston University as quoted by The Guardian.

“If you take a more pragmatic approach, you’d argue that there are about 600,000 jobs in football and analogous industries and that puts it among the likes of engineering and the NHS as one of the key employment sectors.”

For those less scientifically minded, Buckingham New University offers a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Football Business and Marketing, preparing graduates to work for some of the world’s biggest brands. Of course, football advertising is associated with companies like Nike, Heineken and McDonalds.

Solent University offers a BA (Hons) in Football Studies which looks at the role of football in society and the world as well as developing students’ coaching skills. It says its graduates have gone on to work for the biggest clubs in England such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

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