Life in the Manchester United Academy - Dermot Mee (OV2022)
Despite having enjoyed his time at BVGS, the offer to train full-time as part of Manchester United's academy was too good an opportunity to turn down for OV2022 Dermot Mee.
Dermot Mee (OV2022) and Manchester United U18s Goalkeeper
Dermot Mee left Bishop Vesey’s in June last year after completing his GCSEs to take up his goalkeeper scholarship at Manchester United.
Having previously played at Walsall FC, Dermot signed with the Manchester United Academy at the age of 12. Every week he would travel up to Manchester with his Dad four or five times for training. This all changed in June last year when he signed his scholarship to join the club meaning he is now able to play football full time, living and training up in Manchester. He explained ‘this is the next step to becoming a professional footballer.’ The training facilities are similar to those he was using before; however, he now has greater access to a gym, as well as being around higher quality players on a more regular basis.
Dermot knew most of the players from the Academy before moving up to play full time, and there are players from France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Holland, Spain, Slovakia and beyond. Whilst there were a few new signings, Dermot notes that everyone quickly settled into their new team. Proof of this is the friendship Dermot has created with his roommate. In his spare time, he says he ‘goes out with my roommate and try not to be stuck inside all the time. I still enjoy playing PlayStation and doing the normal stuff that teenagers enjoy doing.’ This ensures that what once was a hobby can still be fun, despite the higher standards that Dermot must meet each day.
A typical day for Dermot includes a pre-activation session followed by goalkeeper specific training and then training with the whole squad. After lunch, Dermot either goes to college - where he is doing a BTEC in business studies - has a gym or a video analysis session. Whilst in Manchester, Dermot has been lucky enough to have a couple of short shooting sessions with first team players, including Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Fred (Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos). As well as this, he has regular contact with the senior goalkeeper coaches. These both provide invaluable advice and experience.
Dermot says that ‘this year has been a lot more difficult than previous years as the physicality has increased.’ He is training and using the gym more than ever to enhance his performance and there are earlier mornings and later nights that require more dedication and commitment than before. But he does say ‘it has been one of the most enjoyable years of my life despite moving away from home, because it’s what I have always loved doing and I’m able to play at a high level every day.’
Dermot recognises the importance of Bishop Vesey’s in his life. He made friends for life and whilst he does not see them as regularly, he still manages to stay in touch. He ‘doesn’t overly miss school because he is following his dream, however the time he spent there [at Bishop Vesey’s] were the best years of his life and he would love to be able to redo them.’
Since being at Manchester, Dermot has played in the U18 Premier League and U18 Premier League cup, where he played 4 games and kept 2 clean sheets. He also attended a pre-season training camp in Austria this February, a mid-season training camp in Portugal with the U23s and an indoor 5-a-side tournament in Germany.
Internationally, Dermot plays for the Northern Ireland U19s team. His team beat Germany on penalties where Dermot stopped the deciding shot. He has also played against Portugal, Norway and San Marino with Northern Ireland.
Since the lockdown has been enforced, Dermot has moved back home to his family. Manchester United have provided him with a specific training programme that requires little to no equipment so it can be done easily at home. He has also started an online football marketing course to fill his spare time and he has weekly calls with his coaches to keep in touch.
In the future, Dermot would like to get a professional contract with Manchester United and keep progressing, hopefully one day making his Premier League debut and playing at the highest level.