Story/Interview October 21, 2021
Joshua Andrew | Rising football star
His fierce dedication to football and developing his raw talent encompasses our mission brilliantly: giving students the freedom they need to thrive.
We spoke to Joshua alongside his mother, Sami, and football coach, Konye, earlier this month to talk about Joshua’s football career and his motivations for joining us at King's InterHigh. We explored his biggest achievements, the challenges he faced at his previous school, how Sami nurtured her son’s football passion, Konye’s support for Joshua’s personal and professional development, and their hopes for the future.
"This is a really big opportunity for me. I’m proud to represent King's InterHigh and raise awareness of the flexibility it offers. Working independently will help me as an athlete, as I can focus on my sport. Other athletes might also find it beneficial."
Rising football star
Joshua, can you talk us through your football journey?
I’ve played football for as long as I can remember. I started practicing with friends at my local park, until I realised it was more than an activity for me: football is a passion and something I wanted to pursue. To help me develop as a player, I began training at Soccer Shop Window. It was there that I was scouted by both premier league and championship clubs. When I told my mum about it, she could hardly believe what she was hearing! We chose to go on a six-week trial with Queens Park Rangers, due to their proximity to London, and I was signed after the first three weeks. I play left wing, left back and have the ability to play as a wing back when necessary. Since then, I have also represented England for the Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA), where I played against many countries, including Japan.
Joshua, what made you interested in football?
I’ve always been interested in football. When I was five, my mum tried to take me to ballet, but the instructor said I was better suited to football as that’s where my passion and enthusiasm shone through. When I was in Year 6, I received an email from Crystal Palace saying I have elite potential. I was invited to trial, but the dates clashed with my SATS so my mother declined as she wanted me to focus on my education. Instead, I joined Crystal Palace development, where I soon met my mentor and development coach Konye, who has accelerated my journey and cemented my interest and love for the game.
Sami, what role have you played in Joshua’s journey?
I’m a qualified social worker and have always supported and encouraged young people. I have worked very hard to keep Joshua engaged and focused both in and outside of school, and football has been an obvious channel because he has natural talent. Football has kept him going. His commitment to thrive is exceptional and I’m so proud of him.
Joshua, did you find it challenging to juggle football training and games with traditional schooling?
Yes, I wanted to be part of extracurricular clubs, but they would often overrun. Consequently, I had to turn up late several times to training or games. It was really hard to juggle the two.
My mum also felt the current structure I had at mainstream school didn’t give me the flexibility or freedom I needed to reach my full potential as an athlete.
After a bit of research, it was Konye who found King’s InterHigh and it seemed to be the perfect fit; balancing education with the space and time to fulfil my football career. It meant I could easily balance the two, and never miss out on a lesson. Mainstream school is not for everyone, and I’m looking forward to new levels of independence and freedom, plus the opportunity to get a better education.
Joshua, why did you decide to become an King's InterHigh ambassador?
This is a really big opportunity for me. I’m proud to represent King’s InterHigh and raise awareness of the flexibility it offers. Working independently will help me as an athlete, as I can focus on my sport. Other athletes might also find it beneficial.
People don’t realise what goes into being a successful athlete. There are times when you feel fatigued. It is brilliant to be able to mould my studying around my training schedule and the effect it has on my wellbeing is positive. I can also make the most of good weather, which enables me to train outside. Importantly, teachers at King’s InterHigh understand and encourage this. They can support me and in turn, help enhance my career trajectory.
Sami, did you have any concerns before Joshua enrolled at King's InterHigh, and do you still have them?
As a parent, you always have concerns – particularly when it doesn’t fit the ‘traditional mould’. Firstly, I wondered if pulling Joshua out of mainstream school was the right decision and whether now was the right time. Secondly, I wasn’t sure if online schooling was suitable, however after seeing how long King’s InterHigh had been running for and conducting my own research, this put my mind at ease. I concluded that it provides Joshua with the environment that will help him further build the skills required to thrive, not only academically but personally too. The benefits outweighed any initial concern, and we all see this as an exciting opportunity for him to grow independent responsibility and his football career.
Additionally, I feel the pandemic has normalised online schooling. While Covid-19 has certainly been a challenge, learning online is something many students have adjusted to, including Joshua, and in some instances, have responded better to their studies than before. It fits with Joshua’s lifestyle, and we want to continue making the most of this experience. We are really excited to see what the coming months and years have in store for Joshua!
If you’re a parent and feel your child might benefit from the flexible online education we provide at King’s InterHigh, please visit our website for more information: parent information