Trent Alexander-Arnold has completed football at the age of 24. Well, at least according to some of his biggest Liverpool fans. He is privileged enough to have won all the major club-related trophies in his career.
Indeed, the right-back has won the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup as well as the FIFA Club World Cup with Liverpool. He’s probably yet to hit his peak either. Amid the divisive opinion on his playing style and how good a defender he really is, Alexander-Arnold is trying to use his position of privilege to help those who couldn’t achieve a bit of what he has.
Indeed, the Englishman has launched his own youth academy – the After Academy – that strives to help young players who aren’t as fortunate as him to make it to the top of English football.
The academy is inspired by Alexander-Arnold becoming affected upon learning so many youth footballers in England, who are released by youth academies and go on to experience mental health issues and face major challenges in securing jobs.
Last year, Trent released a Twitter video where he sympathized with the youth footballers, who are mostly released by the academies from the age of 13 to 16 and promised to do something to help those who fail to become a professional like him.
He’s stayed true to his word by launching a new initiative via the After Academy program. The After Academy has the backing of the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and will aim to provide help and support to those teenagers who have dropped out at the academy level in elite football clubs.
Alexander-Arnold has invested a large chunk of his own money to get this initiative underway, and secured help from his personal sponsors Red Bull, Under Armour and Therabody. These brands have vowed to offer jobs, work placement and internship opportunities across various departments to those children that are associated with the After Academy initiative.
Liverpool are also supporting their right-back’s admirable initiative and will try to help in whatever way possible to improve the livelihood of the young footballers who are let go at such an important age in their childhood.
Alexander-Arnold was disturbed to realize that the young footballers who fail to go professional did not get any help from clubs or any particular organizations and did not get any guidance on how to progress in their lives after their footballing careers prematurely ended.
He spoke about his involvement in this project and said: “I loved my time at the Liverpool Academy. It gave me everything I have today and I’m so grateful to be in the position I’m in. That feeling of lifting trophies for your childhood club is magical and I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world, but if things didn’t work out the way they did I could have been one of those being told the dream is over.
“I’m fortunate to not know what that conversation is like but I know from my friends and other former players how hard it hits and how tough it can be. I’m proud of this programme as it looks to give another chance to those who didn’t make it, and I hope it is just a first step towards a brighter future for these young players.”
Alexander-Arnold has been doing charity work ever since he got his breakthrough at Liverpool. He also volunteers as an ambassador for a Liverpool-based charity ‘An Hour for Others’, which helps underprivileged members of the community by providing them with food hampers to toys or even science lessons!
He’s also doing his best to help underprivileged young footballers get the chance to make it to the big time in his time, having initiated plans in 2019 to purchase various plots in Liverpool and construct new football pitches for the community.
But his latest initiative shows that Alexander-Arnold is not just a highly-intelligent footballer, but a real philanthropist outside of the pitch – whose initiatives should inspire his teammates to find smart ways to help individuals like non-pro young footballers from become afterthoughts in the community.
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