Edinburgh City's Calum Hall ready to learn his trade
Calum Hall started his first team football apprenticeship with Edinburgh City last summer, and the teenager will begin one in the more traditional sense this year.
Hall is very much part of manager James McDonaugh’s plans, and agreed to extend his deal after initially signing for a year under previous boss Gary Jardine.
Having left school - he shot away from the club’s official home kit launch early to make it to his prom - Hall will soon start as an apprentice heating and ventilation engineer, joining the real world away from football having begun to establish himself on the pitch.
“I’ve been accepted for an apprenticeship at Arthur McKay,” explained the 17-year-old. “It’s a weird one after leaving school. A lot of my mates are going to university but I’m taking a slightly different path.
“I’ll try and pursue my football to go full-time eventually in the future, but it’s good to get a wee job just now and kick on.
“It was something I thought about when I decided to go part-time last summer. A few boys went full-time who were my age but I thought university wasn’t going to be my thing so I had to get my finger out and get a job.
“I started working at Tesco but I wasn’t full-time anywhere so I applied for a few apprenticeships and I got one of them.
“I’ll be working long hours then needing to get the to gym some nights as well as training, but it’ll be good getting out in to the real world and seeing what it’s all about. I’m sure I’ll be alright.”
That won’t be a completely new experience for the former Craigmount pupil, who also spent three years as part of the Scottish FA’s Edinburgh Performance School. “I was at Broughton for three years as part of the Performance School from S1 to S3,” he recalled.
“I ended up moving due to all the travelling. I had to focus on my studies a bit more. When I was at Hibs they were happy that I moved school because they thought I was doing too much during the day and then going to training at night. Craigmount was in my local catchment area as well it ended up working out quite well.
“After I moved I felt a lot fresher going to training in the evenings and it was less tiring not having to get two buses to school. I’d be coming home at about half five then going straight back out to training so I wasn’t getting time to rest or letting my body recover.”
City have a couple of heavy defeats to recover from themselves. They finish their Betfred Cup campaign at home to Stranraer tomorrow after 5-0 and 4-0 losses to Motherwell and Queen of the South respectively.
Despite those results, Hall feels it’s been a decent pre-season for him and his teammates overall. “The Betfred Cup are pre-season games for us at the end of the day,” he admitted. “Some clubs take it seriously, some don’t. We’ve come up against a couple of good teams but lost in manners we didn’t think we should have done - we should’ve been better.
“If we’d held on to the 1-0 lead at Clyde I think we’d have been a lot more pleased with ourselves but it was good to get the extra point on penalties.
“It’s a good learning curve and to try and see where we are. Hopefully we can do a bit of damage against a team that’s only one league above us.”