YOUNG Brewer Ethan Vale believes that the emphasis on education within the Academy has played a key role in his journey to becoming the 2018/19 Scholar of the Year.
The Academy midfielder picked up the accolade, which has been won by the likes of Joe Sbarra and Callum Hawkins in recent seasons, after enjoying a successful season on and off the pitch.
Aside from scoring a number of highlight-worthy goals from set-pieces in the EFL Youth Alliance, Vale has also excelled in his education. This led him to become Burton Albion’s first player to be named in League Football Education’s ‘The 11’ since Joe Sbarra in 2016.
Vale believes that the Academy’s focus on promoting the importance of a goof education alongside developing as a footballer has been key in helping him to this success.
He said: “It (being named in the LFE 11) was quite a big honour, to be fair. I did not really know about it before, but I had seen it on the LFE website. To be in the same group as Joe Sbarra, who is playing for Solihull now and has made numerous first team appearances, is quite nice to be fair.
“You can see the pathway that the education brings to the football as well. Education is really important at Burton Albion, that’s why I have tried my best at it all the time for the two years.
“I have just tried to be in the best position that I can for if I do not get a pro contract, or if I was not in the position that I am in right now.”
The 2019 Awards evening was a standout one for the Academy. Along with Vale, Academy graduates Reece Hutchinson and Ben Fox picked up the Most Improved Young Player and Player in the Community awards respectively.
Vale says that seeing former Young Brewers making an impact throughout the club is further proof of the pathway from the Academy to the first team.
He said: “It shows that there is a lot of opportunity around the club. Especially with Reece, he probably didn’t expect to get as much game time as he did this year, but he took his opportunity to show the gaffer and the fans what he can do.”