By Michelle Cooling, Sydney Swans Media with UNSW Sport
James Rowbottom
James Rowbottom has committed to his future after football through this studies at UNSW. Photo: Sydney Swans

Coach John Longmire has often spoken about the 20-year old’s attitude, level head and willingness to lead. Swans great and Head of Player Wellbeing & Development, Brett Kirk has also spoken highly of the 28-gamer.

“When you first meet James, you understand that he is really driven and really knows where he needs to get to,” Kirk said.

Wise beyond his years, the young midfielder is just as driven off the field as he is on it and is studying a Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW whilst living out his dream of being a professional footballer.

“As much as I love footy, no matter how long your career is and how much enjoyment you get out of it, it’s going to end at some point,” Rowbottom said. “I think to chip away at the this degree and to tick the box once it’s done will be massive for me after footy.”

Rowbottom studies at UNSW alongside teammates Dane Rampe, Joel Amartey, Will Hayward and former Swans star Nick Smith and he told UNSW Sport earlier this year that he chose UNSW because of the great relationship the Swans have with the University.

"The Elite Athlete Program has also been a huge part of keeping me going, it has helped me balance my uni and sporting commitments because of the great work the staff do to assist me," he said.

Rowbottom, who attended St Kevin's College in Melbourne, enjoyed and excelled at English, economics and accounting during his secondary school education. It was the latter two subjects that led him down the commerce pathway for tertiary study.

“I chose a commerce degree as that had linked in really nicely with what I had studied at school,” Rowbottom said. “It was just an interest I had probably had since Year 10 and then I continued through to the end of Year 12 and it was the pathway that I wanted to pursue. I’ve got a really great interest in economics and I think that’s where my degree will take me in the end.”

With the day to day pressures of football, Rowbottom uses his study as means of ‘escape.’

“I think (especially during the hub period), having uni was a good escape, I didn’t have to think about footy the whole time, I could go up to my room for an hour here and there and just take my mind off footy and I found that really helpful. I don’t really get too stressed out about much that goes on, I am pretty relaxed and can deal with things as they come and can allocate time accordingly to what I value as most important.”

Despite a bright future in footy and plenty of years ahead of him, Rowbottom is already making sure he has a plan post-footy.

“I want to open up the pathway for me to work after footy,” Rowbottom said. “I really like the routine of life at the moment so if you finish footy, you may lack that routine so having a degree will allow me to get on with life and not be lost. I definitely want to keep working in this industry so I feel if I can open up an economics or accounting pathway, I could remain in the industry to some extent. I’m sure it will open up many opportunities for me to find a job and be able to keep myself busy after my football career is done.”