22 March 2017
When Sham Abu Falah arrived in the UK in 2012, he had two dreams - to either go to university to get a good degree, or to become a footballer. He’s now well on the way to achieving both goals at Southampton Solent University and credits his time at West London’s College with starting him on his journey.
“In 2013 I trialled for the WLC Football Academy which is linked to a lot of professional and semi professional clubs. I managed to get through the trial and get a place at the college to study a BTEC in Sport” he explains.
It wasn’t easy for Sham - he had to start at a Level 2 rather than Level 3 because of low grades and struggled with his English, but his hard work and perseverance paid off.
“I had very basic English when I started, but my teachers helped me study the language while I studied for sports. Their help allowed me to achieve a GCSE in English and advance to my Level 3 Diploma. Liam Wild and Miguel de Souza (Sport & Fitness tutors) were the main reason for where I’m now at and for what I’ve achieved in my football career”.
The football side of things also took some getting used to for Sham. In his first season, he didn’t get a start until after Christmas.
“When I first played for the college and started training, I had the skills, speed the technique however I lacked experience with the English style of play. I didn't give up, I kept working and finally after a lot of hard work and a lot of help from the coaches I managed to get my first start and scored 25 goals in less than four months.”
Sham is now studying to be a sports journalist and playing semi-professional football for Team Solent FC - but he fondly recalls his time at West London’s College.
“It was a great to see myself improving with my football and my studies. Hammersmith & Fulham College played a big part not just with my football and studies but also with my personality and who I am as a person.”
Want to have a great future in professional sport and sports science? Football trials for the WLC Football Academy are coming up in April and May. Find out more at wlc.ac.uk/courses/sports-academy