Darius helps youngsters on Trust’s post-16 programme

Darius Charles answered questions from budding young footballers on Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s post-16 education programme last week. The former Brentford defender, who now plays for Sky Bet League One Wycombe Wanderers, hosted a frank and informative Q and A online for the teenagers, who are unable to meet up due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Darius said: “Calls like these are extremely important for young men aspiring to become professional footballers. Opening up in a safe space, to discuss uncomfortable topics in a male-driven environment, is never easy. However, for the boys to show great vulnerability and honesty just reflects the strength of character they’re building on their way to achieving their dreams.”

Participants would normally be studying for their A-Levels or BTEC qualifications while competing in the EFL’s competitive Community Education Football Alliance League. The government lockdown has compelled the participants to study from home. But the Q and A with Darius seemed to cement the young players’ passion for football. Along with the Q and A with Darius, participants had a session with nutritionist Ryan Watts and benefited from online diaries from Brentford B defender David Titov and former students Rhys Forster and Ollie Wright.

Jay Haynes, a student on the programme, said: “It was very informative, interesting and inspirational. It was great hearing about his journey to where he is and his attitude. It was particularly insightful hearing about what he gets up to from day to day, and overall it made me feel very positive about getting to where I want to be.”

Benjamin Grummitt, who also took part in the Q&A with Jay, agreed. He said: “The Q and A with Darius gave me an understanding into the life of a professional footballer, and how much time and dedication it takes to progress into the profession. He also gave advice on how we can schedule our time during pandemic, and also how we can obtain the best nutrition in this time frame. I have already taken on board some of his advice and I’ve been improving my daily routine so I can be the best I can be when we get back to playing football.”

The Trust’s post-16 education programme enables students to study for a BTEC Level Three sports diploma or A-Levels while enhancing their football skills. Participants from the Trust’s Kicks programme, funded by the Premier League, also took part in the Q and A. For more information about our football education programme please email rpeters@brentfordfccst.com.