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Former St Mirren frontman, Junior Mendes, has graduated from University of the West of Scotland (UWS) with a Masters in Research from the School of Health and Life Sciences.

Junior, who is currently the Head of Sports Science at St Mirren, joined the University in 2016 to undertake research on the impact of competition exertion on performance recovery in professional male footballers alongside UWS academic, Dr Chris Easton.

After gaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Science at the Open University, Junior was keen to further expand his knowledge on sports science and conduct research on how to enhance the performance and recovery of football players. It was then he joined UWS in 2016 to work with Dr Chris Easton who became his Director of Studies.

In his footballing days, Junior began his career as an under 18 at Chelsea and has played in a range of clubs including Huddersfield Town, Ayr United and St Mirren, where he spent more than four years as a professional footballer for the Paisley-based club, which UWS already has strong ties with.

Junior, 42, collected his degree alongside 157 of his peers at the UWS graduation ceremony on the morning of Thursday 8th November 2018 at the Hamilton Town House. Right Honourable Dame Elish Angiolini, UWS Chancellor presided over the ceremony with UWS Principal Professor Craig Mahoney, giving the main address.

Professor Mahoney said: “A huge congratulations must go to Junior as he accepts his Masters in Research degree. Junior perfectly embodies what UWS is all about in that our students take varying different paths into higher education. Junior started his career as a professional footballer which is already hugely inspiring, and he will now go on to make a real impact in his field following his studies at UWS. From everyone at the University, we wish Junior continued success.”

"Junior perfectly embodies what UWS is all about in that our students take varying different paths into higher education. Junior started his career as a professional footballer which is already hugely inspiring, and he will now go on to make a real impact in his field following his studies at UWS."
UWS Principal Prof Craig Mahoney

Dr Chris Easton, Reader in Exercise Physiology in the School of Health and Life Sciences, said: “Junior was an absolutely fantastic research student who showed enormous enthusiasm for his sport and bettering the outcomes and recovery of the football players he works with. He’s hugely inspiring, both for his previous career successes as a professional footballer and now for his clear motivation to better his own knowledge of his sport. I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Junior for gaining his Masters in Research degree, he was a pleasure to work with.”

Commenting on his graduation and his time at UWS, Junior said: “I’m extremely proud to have graduated from UWS with my Masters in Research degree. As a former footballer and now a sports scientist, I knew if I could undertake research on best practice for recovery, I could take my findings and make a difference to players both on and off the pitch. UWS has been an excellent choice and, despite being apprehensive before I started, the University gave me the confidence I needed to push myself and go for it. The support and guidance from Dr Chris Easton in particular has also been absolutely invaluable.”

"As a former footballer and now a sports scientist, I knew if I could undertake research on best practice for recovery, I could take my findings and make a difference to players both on and off the pitch. UWS has been an excellent choice and, despite being apprehensive before I started, the University gave me the confidence I needed to push myself and go for it."
Junior Mendes

The full title of Junior Mendes’ Masters in Research degree is ‘Longitudinal Assessment of the relationship between GPS markers of external load during competitive matches and recovery determinants in elite soccer players’.

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