Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden
Jamie Hardesty

Millennial entrepreneurship in football: Newcastle United’s Isaac Hayden sees a future in business

What springs to mind when we talk about young footballers playing at an elite level in this country?

We’ve all seen the tabloid scandals and we’ve all heard the outrage over astronomical wages but, like in any industry, it would be unwise to tar all young professionals with the same brush.

Newcastle United and England U21 star Isaac Hayden certainly seems to be one young footballer at the other end of the spectrum.

This week, the ex-Arsenal man has hinted at what he plans to do when his playing days finally come to an end, revealing an intriguing passion for business.

A familiar face in Rafa Benitez’s table-topping Championship side this season, Hayden has revealed that a key reason for his quick-adaption to life on Tyneside comes from regular interaction with MYCOMEUP WORLD, a digital network of young entrepreneurs.

The new site, which boasts 125,000 active users, provides a platform for young entrepreneurs, creatives and talents to globally network, collaborate and support each other’s ideas. A site Hayden plays very much an active part of.

As well as providing practical business advice, tools and templates, the site also contains inspirational self-development content to help users improve their soft skills, emotional resilience and motivation.

Hayden believes that much of his on-field success has stemmed from joining the online network, a platform which he says has been brilliant for his mental health.

He explained: “The site has been hugely beneficial for me from a mental perspective. I was at the Arsenal Academy from the age of 13, so to first go out on loan to Hull City and then join Newcastle United meant big changes for me on a personal level.

“I know a lot of players struggle mentally with the pressure and upheaval of a big move, but using some of the self-development and motivation resources on MYCOMEUP WORLD helped me maintain my self-belief and cement my own thoughts and values in a way I can keep building upon.”

Since his move to Newcastle United, manager Rafael Benitez has been impressed by the young star’s intelligence and willingness to learn.

Hayden says that using MYCOMEUP WORLD has also played a big part in improving his self-awareness, emotional resilience and confidence on a personal level that he has been able to use both on and off the field.

Even though he is still just 21, Hayden says MYCOMEUP WORLD has already started to make him think about life after football.

He continued: “The career of a footballer is inevitably a short one, and it is always in the back of my mind that I won’t be playing football forever.

“I would like to think I am intelligent enough to move into other fields of work when my playing days are over, and there is no reason to wait until I reach my mid-thirties to start developing the skills that I will need in business.

“Connecting with likeminded young people on MYCOMEUP WORLD has really inspired me to think about getting involved with or investing in start-ups.”

Leonard Sekyonda, co-founder of the company and a young millennial entrepreneur himself, founded the global audience of likeminded young entrepreneurs who wanted not only practical business advice, but also emotional support.

Sekyonda commented: “We now have more than 125,000 active users on the site, and while I can’t say many of those are professional sports people, it has been interesting to see the parallels between Isaac and other young entrepreneurs.

“On the face of it, playing football and starting up your own business are both exciting dreams for many young people, but both come with immense pressure.”

On the site’s use as a tool to boost mental health, he added: “It is vital to develop the emotional and mental resilience if you’re going to achieve sustainable success in any field, so it is important young people get support in developing these soft skills.”

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