Brisbane Roar’s star keeper on his plans to become Doctor Jamie Young

The classy Brisbane Roar keeper offers a unique perspective on multiculturalism, sport and his plans to finish his Ph.D. and become Doctor Jamie Young. 


  • Jamie Young left Brisbane in 2002 after being scouted by Reading. He subsequently spent 13 years as a footballer in the UK, hence the  English accent.
  • So highly rated, Young was selected for England's youth sides while at Reading, alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney and Tom Huddlestone. 
  • National teams: England U18s-20s
  • Clubs: Aldershot Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Hayes & Yeading, Basingstoke, Reading
  • Young returned to his hometown in 2014 joining Brisbane Roar
  • Age: 32
  • Education: B.Sc. (Hons.)
  • Studying: Ph.D in Sports Coaching at the University of Queensland
  • Ambassador: MDA (Multicultural Development Association)


You see, I’m a footballer in a little bubble.

So I wanted to go out and see what life is like for someone emigrating to Australia – whether it’s a positive or negative experience.

For this reason, I’m an ambassador for MDA.

From living in England, I’ve always encountered people of different races and cultures. I’m a very accepting person as a result. And I’ve got several cultures in my own family [Scottish and Sri Lankan].

I’ve been to MDA events such as Eid, which is a celebration of Ramadan, and meeting the various people there who were so welcoming towards me.

Listening to their stories and the realities of their lives compared to mine, it’s very rewarding.

There’s a lot of media scrutiny around the world about different cultures. So for me, the best way to understand these issues is to actually go out there and find out myself.

And for me, it was a revealing experience as a human being and also trying to understand other people and empathise.

One’s ability to learn from anybody is a great trait to have.

And so if I can understand where people are coming from, without that judgment aspect, then I can get a feel for who they are as people and their identity as a human being.

And it allows me to teach other people in the future with some substance behind my thinking. It’s important to have perspective on other people’s lives.

Jamie Young
Jamie Young has been in stunning form for Roar this season

I’m also studying for a Ph.D. Ironically, I dropped out of school.

This studying stemmed from when I was playing football in the UK and I suffered a pretty serious injury. I ruptured a hamstring tendon around my knee.

It was at this time, I  realised it's wise to start looking into the future for things beyond football.

I've seen other players in football have nothing after football.

I took that injury as a sign and so while playing professionally in the UK I enrolled in an exercise and sports science degree in Manchester, helped by the PFA in England, who were fantastic in helping make this happen.  

That was the start of a journey into my academic career.

I'm currently enrolled in a Ph.D. in Sports Coaching at the University of Queensland. I’ve got about five years to go.

I’ve had my gloves done with “Doctor" on them.

Jamie Young's gloves
Jamie Young's gloves

There’s been a bit of banter about that, but for me, it’s just a visualisation of where I’ll be when I complete my Ph.D.

That will really give me the basis of a career after football. 

The reason why it's helped me so much is that it's all relatable to football anyway.

I find that fascinating because I've never been somebody who's had a Nick Kyrgios-type talent, but I think what I've got is incredible resilience and a real drive to succeed and I think that's psychology-based.

I think a lot of the young footballers that we see nowadays not only in Australia but around the world, are going away and playing their PlayStations or Xboxes and time is passing them by.

Time is so valuable.

I'm now having conversations about the culture within successful organisations, whether it be football or the corporate world or commerce. And what is effective leadership? And how is it derived?

I'm having great conversations with other Ph.D students about what a coach-athlete relationship looks like, and why that is important and the implications of these relationships.

It's been great because I've been the product of those relationships over the last 17 years as a professional footballer.

Jamie Young
Young keeping in the snow for Aldershot Town in 2013

I'm thinking more about it in a much more complex and detailed way. So it's really helped my understanding of what cohesion means to a football club and also how I can help be part of that in the future.  

It really has added value to my career and my life as well.

I think deeply about the culture within an organisation. One of the reasons why I got into the Ph.D. of sports coaching was because of that, looking at why some managers succeed at some clubs and fail to succeed at other clubs.

Look at David Moyes at Everton and David Moyes at Manchester United. Or why a player will do well at one club and why they'll struggle at others.

There's the psychology behind that.

I think definitely there are principles and characteristics which are universal, whether it's student-teacher relationship, manager-employee relationship, parent-child relationship; it's really the dynamics of two people for the greater good of an organisation.

It's something that we can all relate to and I think that will help me understand things as I move on into coaching or lecturing, or if I have kids one day.

Jamie Young
Jamie Young in action in 2012 for Aldershot against Northampton Town

A lot of the managers – and I've had six Premier League managers in my career - the ones that I've enjoyed the most are the ones who let me express myself as a player.

The ones that I really struggled with were the ones who focused on the opposition. Emphasising “don’t fail” as opposed to “go out and win”.

The more a coach thinks about what they do want, as opposed to what they don’t want.

It's just a mindset.