In another series of introducing sports scholars, we talked to Karel Tvaroh, a 21-year-old football player from Czech Republic. He got a sports scholarship at the University of Derby and shared his journey for OK Student.
Before coming to the UK, Karel played for Czech Republic international youth football team u18-u20. Currently, he represents his university and Mickleover Sports. Being a Sport management student, gives him the opportunity to follow his dream of having a career in sports and the University of Derby makes it possible:
“I saw an opportunity to combine two very different paths I am currently on – playing football and studying. This is simply impossible to combine in my country without neglecting each other.”
On how hard it is to combine the two, Karel says it has not been that hard so far.
“To be fair, I have not struggled so far at all. The support and help I have received to juggle the two – my sport and academics – has been great, and I feel really supported by the University in a whole. I do feel that I got enough support and encouragement and my course is also at times quite enjoyable which naturally helps.”, says Karel.
While Katarina said time management is a keyword when it comes to combining the two, Karel is quite flexible in his schedule. That obviously depends on both his lectures and trainings, but he prefers to be prepared for all options on how the day is going to look like:
“A typical day is something I don’t actually know well. I am used to being very flexible. The times apart from lectures do dramatically change every single week so I am rather prepared to be truly flexible and make sure I am ready for anything anytime. Every single day apart from Sunday I make sure I am training on and off the pitch and do some university work. I do not procrastinate on what is urgent and important. I rather do the most important things with the greatest impact and omit completing many other tasks that I evaluate as less important or urgent. I try to cope with stress by having a powerful system of what is ahead of me and what could be postponed or even eliminated. Making the most of your time should become your priority anyway.”
Securing a sports scholarship means a lot in the life of a professional sports player, having various opportunities both on and off campus. Karel says the facilities offered at the University of Derby are the best he has ever had.
“The access to the gym and the opportunities for strength and conditioning (S and C), physiotherapy and psychological support are awesome. I find strength and conditioning extremely valuable, the coaches are really supportive and I have specific programmes tailored to my sport and individual needs as well. The approach is maximally professional. The best S and C coaches I have ever had.”
Karel has had the opportunity to be trained by John McGrath, a professional football player and coach who has had a long sports career himself. Karel says his coach understands the game and gives him numerous useful advice all the time and sets a good atmosphere among the players.
The University of Derby has been most supportive in achieving both academic and sporting success. Karel would recommend it to anyone who wants to continue their sports career in the UK while studying at the same time, as due to all the support he receives, Karel feels confident in pursuing his goals.
“It is a professional environment supported by dedicated staff that work hard to support our team and individual needs, the team is improving constantly. The growing professionalism and never-ending enthusiasm creates a perfect environment for any student athlete.”
Wanting to become a professional football player in the future, Karel believes his university will help him a lot in achieving that goal.
“The course at the UoD has taught me so many things. First and foremost, it has taught me that I have to be continuously stepping out of my comfort zone, which many people find more as a cliché than indisputable fact. Secondly, I have definitely learnt that anything is possible if I believe in myself and if I am aware of who I truly am and what my real goals are.”
However, pursuing a career in the UK is not that easy. It makes you progress on so many different levels, not just academically and professionally. Moving to a different country means learning a lot primarily about yourself:
“I have learnt so many new things I did not even hear about before. I have made so far a huge step towards getting better in every single aspect. I try to interconnect all things in general to make everything I learn truly transferable. I try to see connections everywhere. This is what I have learnt so far. It doesn’t matter where you learn it, but where you apply it. And you can definitely apply any single principle you learn everywhere you are.”
If you see yourself becoming a sports scholar in the UK and following Karel’s path, make sure you send us an email at email@example.com!