Professional Footballer: MK Dons FC
George graduated with a degree in Sports Science with Management in 2015. Here, he talks about his experiences at Loughborough and his career so far as a professional footballer at MK Dons FC.
Because it is renowned for its sporting excellence! My step-sister also went there when I was young, I remember visiting and from then on it was always somewhere I wanted to go too.
It gave me an incredible platform to develop not only as a footballer, but also as a person. The facilities, coaching staff and players were all fantastic. I found my love for football again which led to significant improvement in my football, whilst also making friends for life! From the 4G front rubber crumb, to the incredible stadium, the best gym I’ve ever set foot in and the brilliant coaching staff, Loughborough provided the perfect platform to go and achieve what I wanted to – becoming a professional footballer.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
Find a good balance between studying hard and enjoying your social life - it’s important to do both.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
I was Rigg-Rut Sports Sec and absolutely loved it. It meant I could stay in halls for a second year, organise, coach and manage the hall in several different sports.
I currently play for MK Dons FC, having signed a two-year contract there in the summer of 2016. This past summer I signed a new three-year contract.
I joined Loughborough on the back of being released from MK Dons FC. I spent my first two years at Loughborough playing for AU Football 1st team. I captained the side in my second year leading to a BUCS gold and being called up to represent GB at the World University Games in Kazan.
In my third year I signed for Worcester City FC, who were part-time in the Conference North. After a good season and a half there, which included a memorable FA Cup run, I was bought by League 1 side Barnsley FC where I signed an 18-month contract. I had one semester left at University, which I completed alongside full time football at Barnsley.
In my second season at Barnsley, we won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley, and it was topped off by promotion to the Championship via a play-off win at Wembley against Millwall. That following summer I signed for my hometown club MK Dons FC – the club who released me before going to University. My first season was an enjoyable one topped off with winning Players’ Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year. I was then awarded a new three-year contract this summer!
Being able to do what I love every day!
Hopefully a long, healthy and successful career in football.
Winning the play-off final at Wembley with Barnsley to gain promotion to the Championship.
You can keep up to date with George by following @George_Willo on Twitter.