Love Island winner Finley Tapp cried the day he left his childhood club, MK Dons.

He was 19 and his career was, or thought to be, over before it really took off.

Playing at Milton Keynes’ academy from the age of eight and signing a professional contract at 18, he knew he had made it. He had a long and successful career as a professional soccer player and was about to build his illustrious career.

He was one of the lucky 1% who succeeded. However, he was not, and the meeting took less than 10 minutes to tell him his dream was over.

“I was completely devastated. My father works next door and I pulled over and I couldn’t tell him, ‘I’m done,'” he says.

“We had the same meeting that day with all the young players. hey”

“‘We don’t think you’re ready to go to the first team. You need to get experience in men’s football.’ But the moment he said he didn’t need me next year, I just said yes. I thought, ‘Turn off.

Finley Tapp, captain of the MK Dons U18 team in 2017
Finley Tapp, captain of the MK Dons U18 team in 2017

“You don’t want to hear why. They just don’t want me. It’s been hard. It’s been the toughest time of my life and I’m only 23.

“All my friends at school haven’t started their careers yet, they’re in college or doing apprenticeships, etc., and I’m only 19 and already hit that hurdle. I’ll deal with it. It’s hard to

Now a Love Island winner, an Instagram influencer with over a million followers, and a former professional footballer who recently went through the rejection process, Finley is using his platform to promote football club youth players. used for instruction.

Finley Tapp and Paige Turley, Love Island winners
Finley Tapp won Love Island with Paige Turley in 2020

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He feels the club could do more to get players in the academy to at least think about what they would want to do if they didn’t play.

“I didn’t want to go out because of the frustration that I didn’t pass, but it’s important to tell the boys that only a fraction of them pass and it’s never too early to prepare for the worst. “Whether it’s an injury or a release,” he says.

“It’s about what’s next, what I’m working on, what else is going to bring me a career. I wish we were better prepared to prepare the boys for the backup options. I think it’s very important.”

Finley draws on Love Island experience and believes the club should do more to support young players who have been eliminated

While there are guidelines that require clubs to take care of young players who are taken out of their programmes, Finley thinks there could be more aftercare.

“At Love Island, a welfare officer checked on us. So I would like you to consult with the club about whether it can be done.” The welfare officer has no relationship with the coaching staff. ”

He admitted he was too embarrassed to be released from the club to tell his friends face to face. “People know you like, ‘Oh, it’s Finn, he plays football.’ It’s hard because your news is everybody’s news.”

“The percentage is so small it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone goes through it and they seem to know I don’t play football and I’m going to be seen as a failure. I think it’s a stigma.” We need to shake it off.

“That one setback is not a mission failure.

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