YCDS Student Spotlight - Cameron Dobson - Football, Class of 2020



You Can Do Sport Academy student, Cameron Dobson was amongst the first group of students to graduate from the You Can Do Sport (YCDS) Academy in 2020.

Having just completed a year as a volunteer coach at the Academy, Cameron has now successfully secured a place at the University of Lincoln studying Sports Development and Coaching.

Cameron explains why he chose to dedicate an additional year to working as a volunteer with the academy. “I wanted to stay on at YCDS as a volunteer because I saw an opportunity to work with pro coaches in Gary Charles, Andy Reid, Ian McParland, Paul Hart and Lee Esam. Their combined knowledge, qualifications, professional experience and connections in the game is second to none, and to learn from them was a huge opportunity that I didn’t want to take for granted.

“To learn from Gary, a former England player, and Premiership footballers, managers and coaches is something I never thought I’d be able to say I’ve done. It’s still surreal that I had all of them coaching me for 2 years. I still can’t wrap my head around it!

“Throughout the three years at YCDS, first as a student and then as a volunteer, I learned so much about the sport, both as a player and as a coach. I not only graduated with 3 distinction stars, but also with an FA L1 Coaching badge. I helped prepare training sessions, learned drills and how they relate to game situations and eventually coached some of the training sessions myself. I wanted to learn what it takes to make a good coach, and to understand how to prepare and position myself for a career in this role.

Gary Charles is the Head Coach at YCDS, and as a former Nottingham Forest player, twice capped for England, he has become a mentor and inspiration not only for Cameron, but for the other students at the academy. He said, “I have known Cameron for over 3 years now and have watched Cameron grow as a person and develop his skills during this time. It is testament to his enthusiasm and drive that he remained with YCDS as a volunteer and is now going on to university.

Gary says that the experience Cameron has gained will provide him with the best possible foundation to reach his career goals. “Cameron has the drive and ambition needed to become a quality coach and he took a mature approach to his volunteering role, always leading by example.”

“He not only learned how to coach skills and techniques; but that coaching football involves looking after all aspects of a player’s life. That includes ensuring a players' mental wellbeing, educational wellbeing, and physical wellbeing are supported. I have every faith that Cameron will become a successful coach himself one day.”

Cameron talks about his ambitions beyond university “My future goals are to work within a professional football club as a coach. The dream would be a Premier League club and I am lucky to have the connections I have now made with the coaches at YCDS Academy. As long as I continue to work hard and prove myself, they will help to open doors for me. It will be a hard journey, but I think getting this great experience early on will have really helped me to realise that dream one day.”

Cameron Dobson, YCDS Football Academy student, Class of 202o