Looking for a new team in normal times can be challenging, but add COVID-19 into the mix and it can become nearly impossible.
Player Impact spoke to three players who have been released from some of the country’s most prominent teams; former Chelsea player Ty-Rhys Paul-Jones, 21, ex-Tottenham midfielder Danny Edmead, 16, and former Ipswich attacker Decosta Holness, 22.
All three are still training hard and have not given up yet on their dream of playing for another professional club, but they have found it difficult to get signed during lockdown.
They will all feature in Player Impact’s exclusive documentary series Unsigned Ballerz which will debut online in the coming weeks.
Edmead, who had spells at Charlton, Watford, and Fulham, is finding it hard to get a chance at a professional club.
“Covid has affected everyone, not just me. Trials have been delayed,” he said.
“I’m quite annoyed, it’s just holding back my football, and I want to get cracking on now so and playing games, so it’s annoying for everyone.”
Edmead, who was first spotted by a scout playing for an amateur club in south London, is staying fit by training at home and at the local park.
He has launched his own YouTube channel and hopes to inspire other young footballers.
Read more: Welcome to the new Player Impact website
Ty-Rhys Paul-Jones, who was at Watford’s youth team for a decade, wanted to travel abroad for another opportunity, but the lockdown has delayed his plans.
He said: “I haven’t been able to travel overseas because they’ve banned England and the UK from getting into their country as we’ve had an increase in coronavirus outbreaks.
“So yeah, it’s stopped me from getting into their country also even if I did manage to get across to their country, a lot of teams have stopped training, stopped coming in because they don’t want any outbreaks getting in the team, so what they’ve done is they’ve told everybody to train at home.
“They’ve taken sessions at home on zoom, and that’s obviously not helped people in my situation whether you’re in or outside of football, being unemployed is not helped us in a sense of we can’t do anything about it.
Paul-Jones, who was discovered by Chelsea playing for a local team in East London, added: “We can’t get into or infiltrate that bubble because we’re outside there at home, we can’t actually show off the talents we have.
“It’s affected us very, very heavily, but I’m sure soon it will calm down, and we will be able to get ourselves back into the position we can prove to people we still have what it takes the to get into a professional environment or just to get into a job.”
Holness, who also played for Felixstowe and Walton United and Bramford, told Player Impact it had been difficult getting an opportunity with any team.
He currently works as a security guard, completing around 300 hours a month, but has not given up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
He said: “It’s been near enough impossible to join a club right now because lockdown, Tier 4.
“Nobody’s training, and there’s no, you know, social distancing, and you can’t do anything, so nobody’s having any sessions right now.
“But that hasn’t stopped me from doing my own thing individually and going down to the park and playing and just focusing on myself, so I’m ready for the restart when the restart happens.
“I want to be ready, fit and sharp.”
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