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The Voice of the Black Community
Independence's Hugh Roberts takes holistic approach to athletes' prep
Takes personal experience to launch Footy Academy
Published Friday, January 8, 2021 6:10 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Charlotte Independence center back Hugh Roberts (center) launched Footy Academy, a four-week course to help athletes navigate off-the-field work toward professional careers.

Hugh Roberts is taking a holistic approach to help aspiring professional athletes.

The eight-year USL Championship veteran and Charlotte Independence center back created the Footy Academy, a four-week course designed to help players navigate their off-the-field journey. It includes five learning outcomes: what it takes to become a professional, nutrition comprehension, business and post-career considerations, significance of academics and the importance of mental toughness.

“This journey has made me wiser, and I am at a point now where I feel like it is definitely time to share my experiences and continue to create change,” Roberts said.

Roberts, who also coaches youth soccer with the Charlotte Eagles, wanted to create greater change in the Charlotte soccer community.

“I want the youth to be able to learn from my experiences, and not only mine but other professionals and collegiate athletes who used the college game to become successful with their degrees and do something else in the corporate world,” he said.

This is the latest evolution in Roberts’ BackYardFooty brand, which also includes a podcast as well as philanthropy. Roberts recently launched the Footy’s Got You Foundation, where a portion of proceeds from the academy will benefit local organizations such as Block Love Charlotte and the Creative Player Foundation, both of whom address disparities in communities of color.

“I want to continuously give back to the community,” Roberts said. “That is my whole vision and plan—to continuously grow the foundation, and to continue to make a difference here.”

Footy Academy will offer two separate four-week courses for group or individual sessions. Both options start at $30 per hour and sessions will be held via Zoom.

Heading toward the summer, Roberts intends to launch clinics as well with the goal of creating affordable and accessible training opportunities for the next generation.

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