Brandon-raised former Mildenhall College pupil Adam Whybrow enjoying ‘best of both worlds’ after Luton exit
Like a large number of hopefuls, former Mildenhall College Academy pupil Adam Whybrow saw his chances of becoming a professional footballer dashed.
It was back in 2015 that the goalkeeper – then aged 19 – learned that he was being released by Luton Town as they adapted to life back in the Football League.
However, rather than drag his heels and wallow in self pity, Whybrow dusted himself down and put his plans for the future in place.
The Brandon-raised shot stopper knew that he still wanted to play football to a decent standard alongside his studies – and to do that he decided that a move across The Atlantic was required.
First it was Indiana, then on to Quincy in Illinois, where he has been able to balance the time spent between the posts for his college team with completing his exercise science course.
“I got released (by Luton). If you are not good then you are not good enough, but I knew that I wanted to continue playing. I looked for other avenues,” said the 23-year-old.
“I was a late bloomer because I did not join Luton until I was 16. I had only been there a little while and all that time it felt like I was stepping up, rather than somewhere I belonged and had been for a long time.
“There were things I knew I needed to get better at and maybe to really make it as a goalkeeper, I was not tall enough.
“I was preparing, even going into my last year, I knew I needed other avenues in case it did not work out.
“I never took the mentality that I was going to be a professional footballer and get the contract. If I had been like that, and then it did not happen, that takes a lot of getting over.
“That is how I dealt with it. You can never prepare to be told you are being released, but I felt I was best placed to hear it mentally.
“Out here I have been able to play virtually every day for the last four years and study at the same time. It has been a great experience and I would recommend anyone to do it.
“My options back at home after Luton were limited. To keep playing I would have to sacrifice the education, but here you get the best of both worlds.”
Whybrow is now coming up to decision time again, with graduation set to take place at Christmas.
He intends to return home for a stint, but the long-term plan is to head back to the States for further education and more football, albeit in a different capacity.
“I want to do my Masters alongside becoming an assistant coach,” added Whybrow.
“More and more teams are popping up around here and because of that there is more of a market for coaches.
“I am looking to primarily do some coaching – that is the next step. I was like that at Luton, always looking at what I wanted to do next.
“I got in to tactics and things like that while I was at Luton – the stuff you do not see behind the scenes.
“That is lacking a bit in the States because they have not been exposed to it. It is still pretty new. Hopefully my knowledge will give me an extra edge.”
Whybrow’s journey has been aided by the guidance of former professional goalkeepers, including ex-England international David James during his time at Luton.
Another is Dean Greygoose, the most successful manager in Mildenhall Town’s history, and now academy goalkeeping coach at Cambridge United.
Whybrow said of Greygoose’s influence: “Dean was my goalkeeping coach from about the age of 11. Everything I have learned has been from his experience. He has played a very big role and his honesty helped me a lot.
“You get a lot of coaches that tell you what you want to hear and make you feel good about yourself, but if there was something wrong Dean would tell me.
“If he had not done that then I would not have been able to fix it.”
More by this authorLiam Apicella