This time last year, Jose Ferreira was a BA sport business student and found himself a couple of weeks away from submitting his dissertation.

The full-back spoke to Mersey Sport Live to tell his pandemic story and the rather eventful year he has had in his continued pursuit of breaking into the football industry.

With his degree coming to its concluding stages and Coronavirus being a minuscule concern back in February of last year, his next step was always going to be chasing his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

However, the sport as a whole has been deeply wounded by Covid-19 and has certainly impacted the 22-year-old’s pursuit.

Despite Monday’s promising Coronavirus update and national plan in moving forward, the beautiful game is still in a state of wavering uncertainty.

Fewer scouts are able to roam the globe, national protocols are prohibiting trials, and ultimately, chances for players on the cusp of professional football are seemingly diminishing.

The Portuguese full-back spent the spring and summer of 2020 emailing football clubs around Europe in pursuit of earning a trial, and he is not letting the rigours of the pandemic affect his professional football endeavours.

“The amount of negative responses was ridiculous,” he said. “I must have sent around 300 emails trying to find a side, but with the pandemic, clubs were unsure whether they could take me on.

“I am constantly trying to progress, I am definitely working towards that, on the pitch, at the gym, I am doing everything under my control to further my career.”

Ferreira’s persistence was eventually rewarded with an opportunity at FC Oliveira do Hospital of the Campeonato de Portugal – the third tier of Portuguese football.

The full-back is finding first-team opportunities rather rare at present, but he believes that his move back to his homeland has certainly aided his development: “Game time has been a bit scarce so far, but I am continuing to grow as a player and I am improving week by week.

“My manager has been impressed at the rate of my development since joining, and that for me is what this season is all about.”

Despite his Portuguese heritage, Ferreira believes he is more suited to the English game, with his four years of non-league league experience proving to really get the best out of him.

“The style is very different, I am a bit more of a physical player so I adapted quite well to football in England.

“Over the four years I played non-league football, I got used to the tough-tackling and physicality that was there week in week out.

“I have had to learn a completely new style since returning and I think that has certainly helped me as a player.”

The 22-year-old’s focus may solely lie in forcing his way into playing professional football, but his time at university was certainly well-spent, gaining contacts within the media industry and gaining experience at both Fleetwood Town and AFC Fylde.

Sport media remains an option to pursue in the future for Ferreira. During his time at Fleetwood Town, he helped the club’s International Football Academy by targeting possible partnerships.

Ferreria may be in Portugal but he still played an important role within AFC Fylde’s media team before the National League North season was curtailed, creating content for the match-day programme and aiding the club however else he could.

(Photo courtesy of Jose Ferreira)