King’s Lynn Town footballer swaps goals for gowns

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A King’s Lynn Town footballer swapped goals for gowns during a recent graduation ceremony held at Easton and Otley College in Norfolk.

Young midfielder Ryan Hawkins, 22, is originally from Mattishall.

In terms of the college, he started on a level two course and has progressed to a level six qualification – recently completing an honours degree in sports coaching.

As a youngster he was released by Norwich but has subsequently gone on to play semi-professionally for Dereham and St Neots.

He had trials last year with Peterborough United before a bad injury stopped him in his tracks.

But having fully recovered, he is now back playing with the likes of former Norwich City legends Grant Holt and Simon Lappin in the Evo Stik Southern Premier League with The Linnets.

Hawkins said: “I found the college experience very good. I’m playing football at a decent level and now I’ve got a degree.

“Every member of staff helped me along the way. You have to work hard but if you work hard you can achieve anything in life.”

Hawkins still has hopes of playing football at the highest level he possibly can, yet at some point in the future he would like to become a teacher.

“I’ve now got something to fall back on,” he admitted.

Dan Connelly from the football academy, said, “I’m so proud of Ryan.

“He has been a great ambassador for the college and a real credit to himself.

“He is playing football at a very good standard and now has a degree in his back pocket.

“As an academy and a college we have helped someone get to the highest level they can educationally whilst helping them fulfil their football ambitions.

“I’m sure we will have many more successes like this in the future.”

Also during the graduation ceremony, Hawkins received a special progress award for his educational achievements whilst at the college.

Hawkins first arrived at The Walks in November 2016, having signed for a four-figure fee from St Neots.

The former Norwich City youngster, who first made a name for himself in non-league football with Dereham Town, signed a two-and-a-half deal at The Walks.

He has subsequently found the back of the net six times in 40 appearances.