Career-driven footballer Bethany aspires to net law degree after completing her Pathway to Higher Education Certificate in Legal Studies

Training to be a lawyer takes commitment, hard-work, skill and a drive to excel. The same could be said for an athlete striving to be at the top of their game – something Bethany England knows all about. The women’s footballer, who has represented England at under-19s and under-23s level, has taken on an intensive three-year law degree with BPP University. She’s also an integral part of the historic Doncaster Rovers Belles who are chasing promotion back into the top tier of women’s football following their much-criticised relegation in 2013.

Juggling the two roles doesn’t come easy as 20-year-old Bethany admits, but she knows that she can’t curb her need to succeed in both law and football. Her opportunity to pursue a dream career in law actually came via the Belles when BPP Professional Education Group, the largest European private education provider, began sponsoring the club in 2013.

“I genuinely believe my path is law,” said Barnsley-born Bethany. “I was initially doing a social work degree before Carl [Lygo – Chief Executive of BPP Professional Education Group and BPP University’s Vice Chancellor] gave me the opportunity to kick start my law studies. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”

Bethany travelled hundreds of miles from home to complete her Pathway to Higher Education Certificate in Legal Studies programme at BPP University’s Shepherd’s Bush study centre. Having passed the programme, the Belles midfielder was awarded a place on the LLB (Hons) law degree course at BPP University’s Manchester study centre. Despite a few initial fears, she’s facing her qualification head-on.Bethany

“I was scared that I wouldn’t be smart enough but I’ve come to realise that without taking risks, you’ll never know how capable you are and what you can achieve,” she said. “I’m not a quitter either so I intend to continue down the career path I have chosen.”

Training nearly every day for her South Yorkshire football team, Bethany couples that with hours of intensive study.

“At times it has been difficult to juggle everything,” admitted the former Barnsley College student. “But I believe the hard-graft will pay off in the future. It’s the same with football, you have to find the time for extra training to better yourself. Without the need to excel, it is hard to get where you want to be. It’s a mixture of emotions but you just have to find that correct balance.”

Bethany doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration as England women’s international footballer and Chelsea forward Eni Aluko qualified as a lawyer at the end of last year.

“I think any footballer playing at a high competitive level finds it hard to do many things. You want to be the fittest, fastest and strongest player but you can’t devote all of your time to training particularly if you’re semi-professional footballers like myself who have to also factor in time for studies and full or part-time jobs,” said Bethany, Belles’ joint top-scorer last season with 14 goals. “Eni clearly managed to get the balance right as she is a great footballer and I can imagine she excels at her job. She is a great role model for younger, aspirational footballers who also have ambitions like myself.”

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