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Lawrence's life-changing journey

Young goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux will be taking to the White Hart Lane pitch on Thursday night having been on a unique journey.

The 18-year-old has just signed a one-year deal at the Club and is set to feature in the NextGen Series clash with Barcelona.

But just two years ago, such an opportunity would have seemed a million miles away as Lawrence completed his GCSEs at St Thomas More School in Wood Green, having been released by Brentford earlier that year.

It was then that the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s Education and Football Development Centre programme changed the North Londoner's life.

“I’d finished my GCSEs and wondered what I was going to do next,” said Lawrence, “then I decided to take this course because it enabled you to play football if you work hard in class.

“I always wanted to play football and try to get into the game, so I stayed on at college, did well in the games and got the opportunity to come here and try to become a better player.”

The Education and Football Development Centre programme, nominated for a 2012 Sports Industry Award, aims to directly address the high level of unemployment amongst young people today.

It sees the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation work in partnership with three local colleges to engage 16-18 year olds classified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) back into education using the hook of Academy-standard football coaching and regular matches with other colleges.

“A lot of the other students on my course have now gone on to University having completed all the units,” Lawrence continued.

“I wasn’t as academic, I was more of a footballer, but having a good education as back-up is probably the most important thing as you never know what might happen. You’re always going to need something to fall back on.

“The programme has changed my life and I would like to thank everyone who helped me get to where I am today."

Lawrence was between the sticks for the Nextgen Series opener three weeks ago, a 3-2 win over Wolfsburg in Germany.

And he insists the squad are full of confidence going into a game against the world-renowned name of FC Barcelona.

“We can’t wait for the game to start now. This is the big stage but we have to treat it as a normal game. We can’t let the nerves take control. But it will be good to have the crowd cheering us on.

“We’ve done our homework on Barcelona but it’s more about looking at how we play and doing what we’ve got to do to get the three points.”

It will be an unforgettable occasion for Lawrence, and one he believes he has proved is never out of reach for any young person.

“My advice to other young people who are not in education or employment would be to work hard and try to get into any college that you can.

“If they have an interest in sport, in particular football, then try to get onto one of the Development Centres at either Southgate, St Thomas More or Waltham Forest.”

To find out more information on the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Education and Football Development Centre programme, CLICK HERE...

For ticket information on Thursday night’s Nextgen Series game with Barcelona at White Hart Lane, CLICK HERE...