BALANCING a career with playing football is a juggling act performed by the majority of players in non-league.
There might be millions of pounds swilling around in the Premier League but lower down the pyramid that couldn’t be further from the truth.
With the exception of players on the books at full-time clubs in the Conference Premier — and a handful below, including Hereford United — salaries in the non-league game are seldom enough to live on.
They’re certainly not going to make players millionaires, which is why many have full-time jobs and their football supplements that income.
It is rarely the other way around, although it is not unheard of.
Worcester City’s players are no different. None of them, or the management, are full-time.
But, all have one thing in common — they love their football and are determined to find a happy medium with work.
That is crucial. After all, the football won’t last forever.
Jacob Rowe is a fine example. While the centre-half is desperate to be a success for Carl Heeley’s side, he is very much focused on the future.
He is currently working towards a career as an investment banker and is on a placement in London with an asset management company as part of his final year at the University of Worcester.
Last season he had to put his football boots to one side on a similar posting on the south coast but now he is back in Worcester and aiming for the best of both worlds.
He explained: “It was a good career opportunity and it was something I had to undertake but at the same time I was really enjoying my football at Worcester.
“I started off trying to play for Poole last season but the nature of my work is from 7.30am until 8pm, it’s pretty full-on, especially when you’re at the more junior levels.
“It didn’t lend itself at all so I had to say to the manager that I couldn’t make training and he understood. I jumped at the opportunity to return because I wanted to come back and I didn’t want to leave Worcester any way but work dictates.
“I’m in my final year at university and I’m working for an asset management company for four weeks, which isn’t too bad.
“I still train once a week and travel back from London every Friday. I’m trying to get back in the Worcester team now and really enjoying myself.”
Rowe continued: “We’re on the cusp of full-time but some players have dropped down and are picking up money playing part-time football but you need to try to balance work with that because it’s not enough a lot of the time by itself.
“It is particularly important to focus on your career away from football but equally, at the same time, I know all the lads in the changing room really enjoy playing football, especially at Worcester.
“I have been down in London and Bournemouth trying to build up my CV and there are opportunities around the Midlands area as well.
“Hopefully, because I’ve put lots of work and effort into that career, I will have more opportunity at graduate level and hopefully that will enable me to continue to play for Worcester.”