Amateur footballers Ashleigh Artwell, Liam Baker and Jose Figura are the UK
representatives in Nike’s The Chance Global Final. And to ensure they are in the
best condition possible for the competition’s climax, Nike arranged a three-day
mentoring programme at one of the world’s most iconic clubs, Manchester United.
Ashleigh, Liam and Jose have been selected by Nike from more than 5,000 UK
players. They are among 100 of the world’s best unsigned players who will compete
in The Chance Final at Barcelona FC.
Following a week-long trial, a 16-man squad will be selected to go on the ultimate
football experience, travelling around the globe to train at the best facilities in world
football. One player will ultimately win a life-changing opportunity – a place in the
prestigious Nike Academy.
To fully prepare the UK contestants for success in Barcelona, they have undergone
an incredible mentoring programme at Manchester United’s Carrington training
The three-day schedule of jaw-dropping experiences included unprecedented
access to United’s expert coaching staff and state-of-the-art training facilities.
SoccerBible met up with the UK Finalists in Manchester to wish them good luck and
hear the inside story of their incredible journey.
United Assistant Manager Mike Phelan led the boys in an hour-long video analysis
session examining the mentality and movement of Old Trafford greats Rooney,
Scholes and Giggs.
The finalists caught a glimpse of the high standards required to become a top
professional as they watched the first team in a pre-season training session
supervised by Sir Alex Ferguson.
First-team Fitness Coach Tony Strudwick put the players through their paces in an
intensive physical work-out. The club’s yoga guru, also taught
the importance of maintaining a healthy core. Red legend Ryan Giggs credits yoga
as the key to his never-ending career.
The boys took part in a training session with star defender Chris Smalling in which
the United and England centre-back passed on tips about how to make life difficult
for the opposition.
And in a phenomenal turn of events, a planned two-hour training session with the
Reserves was extended by a further two days at the request of Reserves Manager
Warren Joyce. He said the three young hopefuls did not look out of place and
believes they could each enjoy a great future.
Ashleigh, Liam and Jose have lived the lives of professionals by staying in the
same Cheshire mansion that ace striker Chicharito rented when he first arrived in
Manchester from Mexico.
The boys have also attended exclusive events including a shopping event at
NikeTown and had a VIP table arranged by Rio Ferdinand at his Rosso restaurant.SoccerBible will keep you updated with news of the Global Final and how the UK
contestants fair up against the World’s brightest football talents. It's the chance of a lifetime, let us know what you think and join the conversation online, on Twitter and on Facebook.