By Full Contact News and Views
Full Contact client Jonny Giles has today completed a remarkable transition from student to professional footballer by signing for League Two club Oxford United.
Jonny, 21, has not ever been at a professional football club instead pursuing a blossoming academic career which led him to the prestigious Durham University where he earned a 2:1 honours degree in Physics. Whilst a youngster Jonny played Sunday league football alongside cricket and tennis but it was at Durham where he started to fall in love with the game. Quickly becoming a star player for Durham’s first team, the University side had one of the most successful eras of their history with Jonny as their spearhead and it prompted local non-league sides Durham City and then Ashington AFC to engage his services on a non-contract basis. The demands of his degree were such that Jonny’s appearances for these sides were limited but towards the end of his studies Jonny enjoyed playing under the management of Stephen Harmison (the ex-England fast bowler). After graduating, Jonny engaged with Full Contact to experience some trials at professional clubs and after impressing at a number of clubs he has chosen to sign for Oxford United – perhaps apt that he moves to one of the university cities.
A left-footed player, Jonny can play in a number of positions although catches the eye with his crossing and dribbling from the wing.
Dan Chapman, senior partner of Full Contact, explained “Jonny’s route to professional football is far from conventional and when he came on board with us we knew it was a challenge that we had perhaps not faced before. Placing players at 18 or 19 into the pro game for the first time is often possible but even then usually needs an impressive pedigree at non-league level so at 21 it becomes difficult even before, as in this case, one had to get over the hurdle that most of Jonny’s’ game time has been in university football. There are only a few clubs in the Football League that are prepared to think outside of the box and recruit players from different backgrounds and we had some interesting experiences along the way! Credit to Oxford for their interest in Jonny and in the end their persistence, as Jonny had done so well over a few trials that options were emerging – but this deal came together at the right time and ticks all the boxes. I have a lot of admiration for Jonny – he had options to continue with a postgraduate science degree, or to start a career earning considerably more than he will as an aspiring footballer but his heart had become set on giving the beautiful game a real go and we are confident it will work out for him.”
Lee Payne, Full Contact’s Head of Football, said “I watched Jonny play on trial for Oxford in an under 21 game away to Aston Villa. The calibre of players on both sides was high but the way in which Jonny eased into his surroundings and looked like a professional footballer from the get go was extremely impressive. It is remarkable that he has not ever been at a pro club and in fact hardly played any non-league football either – to go from where he has been to signing a pro contract in the Football League today is quite some feat and yet again he stands as an example of just what can be done. But in addition to his obvious natural ability Jonny has a superb attitude and tremendous desire and that is why he has earned this opportunity – I think Oxford fans won’t be waiting too long until they get to see him in first team action. I am sure his name will trigger a few memories for people too – the last Jonny Giles did not have such a bad career!”.
For footage of Jonny playing student football for his University see below – perhaps an useful guide for those many aspiring professional footballers as to what it takes to stand-out and to earn an opportunity. All at Full Contact are very proud to introduce……..Jonny Giles:
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Full Contact News and Views includes articles contributed by Associates and professional contacts within the Full Contact team and includes opinion on sports law, PR and media, football agency and more.
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