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News > General > Alumni stories: James Fotheringham and the Kinetic Foundation

Alumni stories: James Fotheringham and the Kinetic Foundation

Read all about James' journey from Sutton Grammar into the world of football.
4 Jul 2024
Written by Will Humphries
James Fotheringham (OS 01-08, left) at Real Madrid
James Fotheringham (OS 01-08, left) at Real Madrid

I left Sutton Grammar in 2008 and pursued my passion for football, especially the impact that our beautiful game has on society and culture. I went to Southampton University and rekindled a partnership with an ex-teammate that has gone on to shape my career since.

After graduating university, I worked in academy football and qualified as a football coach, working with elite youth players at top football league clubs. I combined my tactical football knowledge with my passion for coaching and teaching and have been lucky to work with players who are gracing our television screens on a weekly basis.

At the same time, I co-founded the Kinetic Foundation, a football and education charity that helps disadvantaged or disengaged young Londoners stay in education, improve their aspiration and football talent whilst making them more employable by cementing a strong academic grounding. What became apparent early on, was that backgrounds and family circumstances had a huge impact on access to facilities, good coaching and opportunity. Simple barriers that, with some donors and supporters, could be easily fixed. To this day, 74 young people have signed at professional football clubs from our programme, and 95% of graduates progress onto higher education, employment or training. Opportunity is everything.

The charity has made me realise how much of a sheltered life I lived at SGS, and the real hardship that some families are suffering right under our noses. I often reflect upon my own fortune, a solid family upbringing with many opportunities given to me all because I passed the 11+. But I was lucky to get my opportunity and SGS gave me exposure to so many pupils and teachers that I learnt so much from. I may not have been the most gifted academically, but the teamwork, communication and camaraderie gained through my love of football and the fantastic PE department has helped shape the person I am today and the skills I have taken into business.

Football is such a diverse industry, with more and more departments popping up every season. When I first started, the use of strength and conditioning, analysis and data was insignificant, but we are now working with analytical brains to get the best out of our players and make them the best they can be. Football doesn’t just have to be a hobby; there are roles out there for anyone. I did work experience as a football coach in Year 10 and have never looked back.

We are always looking for support at Kinetic Foundation, so if you want to connect then give us a quick Google!

James Fotheringham - OS 01-08

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