Jamie Philpot, an 18 year old professional footballer who made his debut for Millwall in the Championship last season, braced his first goal within minutes of coming onto the pitch. His story of hard work, dedication, and professionalism can be an inspiration and lesson to us all. A lesson that teaches us we are never too young to achieve, no matter how big we dream. Do not take these years for granted, for they are the years we should be working our hardest in order to achieve the goals we set out for ourselves. I caught up with Jamie, to find out a little bit more about his story so far.
Jamie, first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm 18 years old and have been playing for Millwall for 10 years from U8's to U16's academy then leaving school at 16 to start my 2 year scholarship with Millwall where it was 4 days of football and 1 day of college doing a BTEC in sport, with a game on the weekend. I then was offered my professional contract and now into my 3rd month of being a professional.
Tell me, just how much work have you put in to reach this stage so far and how hard has this journey been?
It's been a lot of hard work, from being an 9 year old travelling into London three times a week for football and games, imagine doing that for 40 weeks a year for 9 years. Personally, you miss out on a lot of things that you could do with your school mates because of the travelling, then progressing to being a scholar, leaving at 16 and going into effectively full time work was a bit of a challenge because at this stage, for me especially, you miss out on a lot of social gatherings because you have football the next day and you can't get away with drinking with your mates the night before so in that sense you have to try and be as good as possible, however there were people who used to go out and get drunk and not really care, but those types of people get found out and now they don't have a job which is quite a good life lesson in my eyes!
Were there any times you thought of giving up or moving on to something away from football?
I have never really though of that as I had good support from my family and friends and I was quite self determined to succeed, so I never thought giving up was an option!
In terms of your working day, for those who want to know a bit more about what footballers get up to, what would be your typical routine from start to finish?
This is probably the best part about being a professional footballer and that most people are envious with. As a first year pro I have to report into the training ground by 8:45 where we have a chef, and we have breakfast. We then either have a gym session or rehab session at 9 which lasts for about 20 minutes. Then, we go back to the dressing rooms and chill for about an hour before we start at about 10:30. We'll have 45-90 minutes training session depending on what type of day it is, finish that about 12 and then have lunch at the ground. So at about half 12 we can either leave to go home or do a bit extra in the gym. Wednesday's we have off in a typical week and there are also some things I can't reveal, but it's a great job!
What advise would you give to the students of Brunel who aim to become professionals within their chosen sport?
My advice that I would give them is; not to give up on their dream to be professional and think about that dream in every decision that they make, be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices to pursue your career, stay self motivated which can be hard and when training, it's pointless if you don't give 100%.
How do you handle the nerves before a match? Or do you not get nervous?
It's not so much getting nervous before a game or not, for me I think about if I'm going to have a good game or not and I know this in the warm up before the game and during this time I alter my mind-set to make adjustments to better my game, for example when I do practise my finishing and I score every goal in the warm up I just tell my self to continue what I'm doing and if I miss some I cool myself down mentally and tell myself to relax and that usually works.
Finally, where do you see yourself in 10 years, is there a special club you dream of playing for or are you just taking it step at a time?
For the future I just hope that I stay fit and injury free during my career so I can do the best I can and also have my fingers in several other pies so I can prepare my self for life after football, and that is the most important thing not just for footballers; to have a plan B to fall back on when things don't go to plan. But in 10 years time I hope to be a millionaire and I think everyone in the world should have that ambition or an ambition as high as that and work towards that goal!
Thank you for your time, Jamie.
If you want to follow Jamie through his journey you can follow his twitter @jamiephilpot9. We wish him the best of success for the future.