About Us

Have you ever heard of serendipity? Those chance encounters or events which bring about a cool outcome? Well then. This will all make sense.

Meet Robbie. Robbie is a professional footballer. Having played with several clubs (Huddersfield, Leyton Orient, Coventry, Cambridge United and, MK Dons) Robbie has met a lot of sportspeople in his time, and from talking to them (he’s a sociable chap) he became very aware of two things. Firstly, a sports career can’t last forever. Through age, injury or just bad luck, most sportspeople’s careers won’t last all that long. Secondly, although there are thousands of sportspeople out there with all these wonderful, employable qualities, there are no (honestly, we’ve checked) NO recruitment platforms out there dedicated solely to helping them find meaningful, fulfilling careers after sport.

Meet Rob. Rob is a recruitment consultant (though he’s never been quite happy with that label, as he does a bit more than that.) Rob works closely with client businesses to help them recruit exactly the right people for them. And he noticed that more and more often, clients were asking him about recruiting ex-sports professionals. He also noticed that those sports professionals usually outperformed their colleagues and went on to have really quite impressive careers. This seemed to be a pattern. Now, hold that thought.

You see where we’re going with this. So Rob and Robbie got chatting, and suddenly LAPS was born.

Everyone at LAPS believes fully in the impressive qualities sportspeople have to offer in a huge range of careers after sport. We know what employers want, and we know that sportspeople are often uniquely suited to excel in business. Our job now is to connect the dots, and provide as much advice, support and technical wizardry along the way as possible.

So there you have it. That’s our story. And we’re sticking to it.

Our Core Team

Robbie Simpson
Managing Director

Professional Footballer, avid dog-walker, spicy food fan and fair weather golfer.

Robbie is a professional footballer. He’s played in all four divisions below the Premier League and graced stadiums such as Old Trafford, Wembley and Anfield. Away from playing, Robbie is co-founder of a players’ agency and an active alumni of Loughborough University’s Sports Science & Maths degree. He is a big fan of cooking and eating out, the spicier the better. On a sunny day he loves a game of golf or walking the dog, enjoys spending time with his nieces and nephews, and is a (self-professed) part-time film critic.

Rob Steed
CEO

Recruitment Expert, music lover, sports fan and grower (and chef) of vegetables.

Rob is an experienced company Director, having held both Executive and non-Executive roles, and has been recruiting for over 20 years. He has worked with companies including William Jackson Food Group (Abel & Cole), Raspberry Pi, Focusrite and The Gap Partnership, as well as founding and running his own successful recruitment and consultancy business. When he’s not doing that he can usually be found listening to live music, watching or playing sport, fulfilling an ongoing challenge to watch one new sport every year, spending time with his family or, most often, a bewildering combination of all of the above.

Ben Mercer
Head of Content

Former Rugby Player, writer, reader and novice surfer

Ben is a former professional rugby player turned writer. He was involved in Premiership academies while at school and during his degree in English at Newcastle University. He then spent several seasons playing in the RFU Championship, one season in Sydney and finished up his career in France, spending 4 years at Stade Rouennais.

Ben’s finally using his degree in his new career and has written a (bestselling) book about his French adventure. His other interests include cooking, reading avidly and trying to find time to improve his surfing around heading up content here at LAPS.

Adam Campbell
Partner Support Manager

Professional Footballer, cat lover, boxing aficionado and coffee connoisseur

Adam knows the north of England football scene intimately; growing up in Wallsend, he represented England up to u20 level and played his academy football at Newcastle United before spells at Carlisle, Hartlepool and Gateshead. Now he leads the line at Darlington alongside his work at LAPS.

When he’s got the energy, you can find Adam refining his golf game. When he’s not got the energy he’s probably developing his future career as a reality TV critic, or indulging his love of the cinema which he tries to hit up at least once a week.

Holly Wood
Partnership Manager - London & the South of England

Former Rugby Player turned referee & military dog re-homer 

Holly represented England in rugby league before realising union was the only way forward, playing in the English Premiership for Richmond and Harlequins before spending her final season playing for Stade Toulousain Feminin in France.

Holly has always worked in the sporting sector, from community grassroots sports to elite level. In her spare time, she enjoys dog walks with her retired military working dogs who are much cooler than her, along with cricket, cycling and surfing.

James Craigen
Head of Talent

Professional Footballer, keen golfer and Asian food aficionado

James is a professional footballer spending the majority of his career in Scotland and is currently playing for Arbroath FC. He’s also found the time to get a Sports Recreation Management degree from the University of Edinburgh and represent the Great Britain football team at the World Student Games in Shenzen, winning a silver medal.

Aside from playing football, James is a keen golfer, a youth football coach and general sport enthusiast and likes to take in live sporting events around the globe, at least when he’s not hammering Game of Thrones and munching Asian cuisine.

Terry Moor
Partnership Manager - Midlands & North of England

Business and recruitment expert, sports fan, ex-cricketer and owner of the world’s laziest golden retriever

Terry’s wealth of experience with business partnerships and recruitment, coupled with a love of sport, made him an ideal recruit for LAPS in January 2018. He’s really invested in the LAPS missions of helping sports professionals to find new and rewarding careers after sport.

Since joining LAPS, Terry’s been a big part of fostering ongoing partnerships for LAPS and had a big hand in organising our flagship events. When he’s not working (which isn’t often, as he’s extremely dedicated!) he loves live music, mostly of an indie persuasion, watching his beloved Leeds Utd and attempting to make his incredibly lazy, rain-hating golden retriever go for walks.

Kieran Merrilees
Partnership Manager - Scotland

Former Professional Badminton player, coffee enthusiast and part time restaurant critic

Kieran was part of the GB Olympic program based in Milton Keynes before returning back to sunny Glasgow to finish his career. He competed in 3 Commonwealth Games, reaching 51 in the world rankings.

Now he’s hung up his badminton bat, Kieran likes to take in live boxing and tennis, travel the world and indulge his love of eating out and drinking in various craft coffee establishments.

Jessie Edwards
Social Media and Marketing

Full time performance athlete in Judo, fluffy animal lover and anything chocolate.

Jessie is a full time performance athlete in judo, training 2-3 times a day, 5 days a week. Competing and training both nationally and internationally whilst living onsite with up to 30 other athletes.

Jessie also loves training in the gym and reading the odd murder mystery. She has also recently achieved a 1st class degree in business management, with a key passion for marketing.

Sam Burton
Content Manager

Content Creator, enthusiast of all decades of music, football watcher and Eurovision expert. 

Sam has worked in Content for 8 years and has gained a Television & Radio degree from The University of Salford on the way. Since thenhe has found himself working with the BBC and Bauer Media in Manchester & London on some of the biggest radio stations in the UK. 

When he’s not in the world of content Sam supports Leeds United FC & Leeds Rhinos in the Super League. He enjoys watching every lap of F1, a big fan of 80s music, the occasional boyband and crime documentaries.

Ben Caldwell
Business Development

Full time performance athlete in Judo, mixed martial arts fans and progressive reader!

Ben is primarily a full-time performance athlete at Camberley Judo Club, training 2-3 times daily at least 5 days a week. Ben attends tournaments and training events both domestically and internationally with his team, most of which live onsite with him.

When Ben is not training, he likes to socialise, catch up on a wide array of podcasts or work his way through a self-growth book.

Leon Mckenzie
Workshop Delivery

Former Professional Footballer, boxer, coach and filmmaker.

Former pro footballer and boxer Leon McKenzie joined the LAPS team in 2018 as our Head of Workshops. He is passionate about tackling the stigma around mental health, and works as an ambassador for mental health charity CALM, as well as being a part-time boxing coach. He campaigns tirelessly to raise awareness of mental health issues, making regular appearances at academies across the country to share his experiences.

In what little spare time he has, he enjoys a game of golf, and loves music – especially singing, spending as much time as possible in the studio.

Gail Emms MBE
Associate

Former World, European and All-England Badminton Champion and Olympic silver medallist

Gail joined us as Head of Marketing in August 2018. Following a lifelong love of sport, Gail works extensively to promote the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle among young people and is committed to helping sports professionals transition into new and careers and tackle head on the challenges so many will face in the process.

Outside her ambassadorial work for the Youth Sports Trust and Badminton Sport England, she also works in sports media as a commentator, is an experienced speaker, and writes a health and wellbeing blog. In the little spare time she has left, she loves walking her beloved Westie, Rafa, and going to watch Tottenham Hotspur and MK Lightning