Dan Towers started out as an academy footballer at Preston Northend from age 6-16. After being told he would not progress to the youth team, he decided to diversify his talents and train in performance analytics, so he could continue working in the game he loves. 

He came to the University of Salford to study BSc Sports Science (Performance Analysis) and graduated in 2023. He is now an Under 21 Performance Analyst at Blackburn Rovers and a U19 Performance Analyst for the Iceland National Team (in the International Windows). We recently caught up with Dan to hear all about it.

When did you know you wanted to work in football?

I always knew I wanted to be in football. Football was my passion. It was something I wanted to be involved in full-time, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like.  

Tell us about your journey from graduating to where you are now?

Luckily, I went to the University at Salford with a clear plan of how I was going to attack my studying. I gained hands-on real-life experience with a role at the England Amputee Football Association in my first year as a student, which spanned my time at Salford. During this, we travelled to Europe and won the Nations League in 2023, the first major international tournament in over 20 years.

In my second year, I joined Oldham Athletic as a First Team Analyst Intern to gain exposure to the relentless schedule of the English Football League.

In my third year as a student, I joined Manchester United as an Assistant Academy Performance Analyst on a casual basis, whilst also linking up with Iceland as their U19’s Performance Analyst. We qualified for the European Championship Finals in Malta for the first time in the nation’s history.

Once I had graduated from Salford, I gained a full-time role with Blackburn Rovers as their U21’s Performance Analyst whilst also working remotely for Icelandic side Breidablik UBK covering their Europa Conference League campaign.

What are you most proud of, and what goals do you have for the future?

It always makes me proud to see young footballers sign professional contracts or be given opportunities to play/train with the first team, as this is a journey I went on but was never good enough so I feel like this is giving something back.

My goals are to just continually improve and get better and work in a supportive multi-disciplinary team.

How did your time at our university and within the Sport Science programme prepare you for your career path?

Having amazing tutors at the university in the Sports Science programme helped me immensely. They gave me placement opportunities, support with assignments and work where necessary and the confidence to kickstart my career in analysis.

Dan and the Blackburn Rovers Under 21 Squad at the Senior Training Centre in Brockhall, Blackburn

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Think about what makes you stand out. What experiences do you have already to help you gain a full-time role? It’s not always easy to volunteer your time but it’s essential to gain a job at the end.

What do you think sets the University of Salford apart, and how has it contributed to your success?

Upon joining Salford University, I looked at the past alumni and graduates and what roles they have gone on to, to help me with my choice around studying there. I wasn’t let down by the humbleness and experience of the tutors who helped get me started in my analysis career.

If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch at alumni@salford.ac.uk.