A few years ago, Lee Warren, a sport and exercise science student at the University of Bedfordshire, was volunteering on weekends with just two or three people turning up to his football sessions.
Now, he’s a masters level graduate with an enviable job, running the football development for British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).
How he got there, via stints at Luton Town and Stevenage football clubs, is a tale of perseverance.
“Volunteering on a Saturday with so few people turning up was very disheartening but I believe these experiences have made me come out a better individual,” he said.
Lee’s passion for football kept him going and likeminded people started to trickle in. Eventually, Lee’s activities became oversubscribed and the way was paved for a serious university futsal (small-sided, indoor football) team.
Last season, the side claimed the league and cup double, winning every game on their way to the BUCS Midlands 2B and Midlands Conference Cup titles.
Lee, who still manages the squad and has since initiated a Friday night futsal league at the University, is proud of his coaching achievements, which prepare him well for the UEFA coaching licence he plans to obtain in the future.
He is now employed by the University, as its Football Activator.
He is also now Football Development Co-ordinator, while futsal has become engrained in the BUCS programme.