William Hall and Damani Hunter are both second year apprentices with Watford Football Club. William was relatively late to the game starting with the under 15’s and he has used the apprenticeship to keep playing at the highest level he can whilst gaining full time experience of the football world.
Damani has been playing from a younger age and especially wanted to help his hard working, single parent mum as much as he could. Despite being close to his family especially his twin, he has chosen to leave his home in the East End of London to live in Watford Monday to Friday while he learns and plays at the club.
With both players currently injured, their typical week consists of college on a Monday morning, all day Wednesday and then training or workouts with the club for the rest of the time. Home matches will be watched from the bench.
William says “An apprenticeship is a very good way to experience full time football and to learn what is required of you to be a professional footballer. As I am nearly at the end of my two years with the club, I will now be looking for another professional contract with another club.”
And longer term he hope to remain in the sector. “Whatever I do, I want to be in football, whether that’s as a footballer, a coach, a psychologist or whatever. Our drive and our passion is to be a part of football, that’s why we do it and we love the sport. I now have a place accepted at Loughborough University so if I don’t find another club I will go to Uni and I can still be a part of the football scene. That’s really encouraging for me as I know I won’t fall out of the game.”
Damani has had his contract extended for another year as he has been injured since the start of the 21/22 season, but prior to that he was playing well. The apprenticeship has helped him to cope with the frustration of his injury. “You can never tell what is going through a player’s head and this is my first major injury and mentally it is challenging, but (the apprenticeship) has helped strengthen my mental state.” Damani hopes to also be always involved with the game “I love football with a passion and want to be in it whether as a coach or a player or something else.”
The apprenticeship is teaching them both a range of skills other than playing. William concludes: “For me I have matured a lot in the two years I’ve been here. I’ve grown up. The apprenticeship has helped me turn from a young boy to a young man. With an apprenticeship you get the insight of seeing your dream job, what someone doing your dream job does every day, you understand what is required of you to get to that level.”