Luke Coulson started his footballing life at Manchester City, signing with them at 7 years old and staying for a 10 year period, which included a 2 year scholarship.
“I didn’t get a professional contract at 18. They told me after a game at Liverpool. I remember bursting into tears.”
On being released, Luke had a brief spell across the pond with Michigan University, before returning to play in the UK.
“After a few months in the US, I had British teams sniffing about so I came home.
It was Stoke mainly, but in the end Cardiff City picked up the phone and invited me for a trial game.”
Luke signed for Cardiff and after a two year period with the Bluebirds as a right back, Luke then decided he needed more first team experience to aid his progression as a player.
“I turned 20 at Cardiff. They offered me another year deal, but I decided to go and find league football - not knowing how hard it would be.”
From there, Luke trialled around until settling with Oxford City in the Conference South, scoring 8 goals in his first 6 months.
“From that I got a bit of attention from elsewhere, but Oxford City offered me another year and pushed me into midfield, so I stayed.”
Eastleigh Town were then alerted to Coulson’s talents and swooped for the midfielder.
In his first full season on the South Coast, Luke scored 6 goals in 4 games, which led to Barnet coming in for his services in the January transfer window.
Since joining The Bees Luke has found minutes hard to come by, struggling for first team consistency following several management changes.
“My playing time here has been limited. But I still believe that I’m as good as anyone.
As long as I’m strong mentally, when I start playing week-in week-out, I know I’ll start scoring goals.”
Luke is now well settled in the area, after a tricky limbo period on initially signing for The Bees, and credits his friends and family for making the change so easy.
“I’ve found it quite refreshing travelling around with football. I don’t think I’d want to be somewhere for 5 or 6 years If I wasn’t truly loving the place.
Now that I’ve moved here, I have family on my doorstep so I’ve settled a lot quicker.”
Already thinking about life after football, Luke gained a Degree in Sports Writing and Broadcasting at Staffordshire University.
“I always had it in my mind, what if?
Using the Degree going forward will be huge for me.”
The contrast from life in the Premier League to life in the lower divisions, has been a humbling experience for Coulson, and admits it has taken some adjusting to.
“In the lower leagues you have to do more yourself.
When you’re in the Premier League, everything is taken care of.
People are sponsoring you, bringing you food, cleaning your boots.
As soon as I started playing lower down, we didn’t even have training gear!
You had to supply your own kit and get yourself to the away games.”
During the times when he was without a club, Luke kept himself focused on self improvement and always believed he would be able to work his way back up the leagues.
“I strongly believed that, yes I was at the bottom of the ladder, but I was on my way back up.”
Despite the testing ups and downs of his career so far, Luke is still very aware of just how lucky he is to be a professional footballer.
“I know it sounds stupid, but we play football for a living - What more would you want?
There’s millions of people who would love to do what we’re doing."