Non League to Grass Roots,
NLFA Support Footballers
Founder - Chief Executive - Dean Holdsworth
Having played football and been involved in football, both professional and Non-league for a huge percentage of my life, I have experienced the joy of winning and the pain of losing. Having major knee surgery (Cruciate, Medial and Lateral Ligament reconstruction) at the age of 17 nearly stopped my career before it had even started. It made me realise serious injury can dismantle the dream through no fault of your own, wrong place and wrong time or just fete? We don’t prepare as a footballer for a bad hand of the cards. We live the dream, one things for sure though there’s nothing quite like the adrenalin of a dressing room that’s just won a match, a league or a cup final. I am honoured to have played in Wimbledon’s notorious ‘Crazy Gang’, I say honoured because we relied on team spirit, playing to the maximum, giving everything you can for each other and feeling ‘Us against the world’ mentality. We had defeats but made teams earn the win they knew what was coming before the game. When we won we lived and lived hard sometimes taking things beyond the rules but the strength of the team came from the defeats, we wanted to win so much and were a team scared of being average. The feeling of team spirit amongst the group that you have given everything you can for each other, looking in the eyes of the person next to you and knowing you can trust him to give you his last bead of sweat is beyond anything we find when we leave the game.
Sam Kennedy - Head of Player Recruitment
We are delighted to have Sam as part of the new Player recruitment team.
Once a member has registered to join the Player Directory, they will be able to work alongside Sam, to find a club in this country or maybe in another. Sam has excellent knowlledge in overseas football and careers.
Sam started he's Career at West Ham United then moved to Stop Out SC in New Zealand before taking the offer to play at the collegiate Level in the USA. Sam was a 2008 NJCAA National Champion with Herkimer College and a 2009 NCAA Runner Up with Lees McRae College, a 4x Conference regular season champion, 2x conference tournament champion, 2x regional champion.
In 2006 Sam was a ranked 12th in the Nation in NJCAA for points, a 3x Conference selection, 2x Regional selection, 2007 Region 3 All Star team selection and 2009 NCAA Final Four All Tournament selection.
Sam also played one season with DFW Tornadoes in the USL/PDL in 2010 and with Forest City London in 2011.Sam graduated with a BA degree from Lees McRae in 2010 with Sports Management.
Advisors to the NLFA
Ben Rees LLB(Hons) FPFS (Opus Investment Management Ltd)
A qualified lawyer, Ben is also a highly experienced Chartered Financial Planner and Investment Manager. Ben is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and a regular contributor in the financial and investment management press. With over 10 years' experience of advising professional footballers, athletes and media personalities, Ben provides expert advice which ensures his clients remain in control of their finances and avoid the horror stories so commonly seen in the press these days.
Ben also oversees the investment committee and Trustee board of the NLFA Pension Scheme, which assists ex-professional and non league footballers with their retirement provisions and finding lost pensions.
Andrew Ford FMAAT (Opus Accounting & Tax Ltd)
Andrew is an experienced and commercially astute Accountant with over 10 years' experience, who works proactively with clients to reduce their tax bills and save tax. He specialises in dealing with HMRC enquiries and also advises many current and ex-professional footballers.
Andrew dislikes the high costs and complexity associated with many accountants, and prefers to offer clients a straightforward, 'one stop shop' accounting and tax service at a sensible price.
Andrew encourages all members of the NLFA to take advantage of a free tax consultation to see if they can save tax and reduce their accounting bills at the same time.
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