Luke swaps Premier League life with the Blades for University of Northampton

Date 7.06.2021

A sports scientist has swapped life in the Premier League for a role with the University of Northampton.

The University’s new signing, Luke Callis, spent seven years working in professional football with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Barnet and latterly Sheffield United, where he was a physical performance coach at the Blades’ academy.

Luke switched from Bramall Lane to Waterside campus to pass on his expertise to students on the University’s sports science courses, and to push the sports science discipline further, by carrying out research.

“I absolutely loved working in professional football, I was always my dream,” said the 28 year old Applied Sport Scientist.

“I’d been with Sheffield United for just over three years and enjoyed their promotion season to the Premier League and two years in the top-flight. Despite the relegation this season it was a successful year for the academy and I was thrilled to see four players I’ve worked closely with make their Premier League debuts.”

“At Premier League level the sports science is really cutting edge, and I’ve seen it progress so quickly during my time in the game – I’m really looking forward to getting our students up to speed with all of the latest theories and techniques.”

Luke added: “After seven years working in football, I was keen to branch out into different sports rather than just concentrating on football. I want to diversify my skill set and influence the science through research. That really appeals to me and I see it as the next step in my progression.”

After playing a key role in developing elite athletes, Luke will be using the same techniques employed at Sheffield United’s academy for the benefit of the University’s students.

Students on the sports science courses will be putting what they learn into practice, by treating fellow students in University sports teams – and those who are on the institution’s new Northampton Energy Elite Athlete Scholarship.

The Scholarship will see 15 students, studying any undergraduate or postgraduate course, with a higher level of sporting ability to benefit from elite sport development from the Sports Science team of staff and students. In addition, three uni sports sides – the women’s football, women’s netball and men’s rugby league first teams – will also work with the sport science staff and students to improve their performances.

“This is an exciting time for students who want to learn sports science at the University – and also those playing sport with us,” said Luke.

“I was convinced to join the University when I heard its plans for sport science, which is getting a huge push. I want the University to become recognised for excellence in sport science, and I think the plans we have are just the start.”

Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology, Peter Jones, added: “Luke’s appointment really is key for us as in delivering our long-terms plans around sport and physical activity. He uniquely links the academic team with applied practice, working with the Students’ Union, our key regional partners and academics in ensuring a brilliant student experience and supporting the University social impact agenda.

“The impact he has had already is apparent from the numerous student placements he has put in place and the increasing number of external agencies he has built links with.”