Student Sporting Insight #05 – Matvei Morozov

Born and raised in Estonia, Matvei Morozov moved to the UK at 13 years of age where he has been living and studying since. 

Now a second-year student at Bournemouth University, Matvei is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Sport Management where alongside his studies, is also the captain of the universities men’s Ultimate team, leading the team in practices and competitions.

Matvei recently shared his experience as a student-athlete in the UK including how he balances his sporting commitments with his studies and how as a dual national, he will be representing Great Britain in the upcoming World Ultimate Championships.

Student Profile

Name: Matvei Morozov

Nationality: Russian

Institution: Bournemouth University

Degree: BSc Sport Management

Would you be able to provide us with a brief overview of your background prior to attending Bournemouth University?

My name is Matvei Morozov, I am Russian from Estonia and I have an Estonian passport. However, I classify myself as Russian because Russian is my first language and my family is Russian as well. Even in Estonia, I went to Russian schools.

Before coming to the UK, I lived in Estonia for 12 years and I moved to the UK when I was 13. I went into Year 8, which was a massive step for me as a person who hadn’t practiced speaking English with peers before and I couldn’t spell my name or speak at all on my first day.

However, I passed most of my GCSEs and got good results during my A-levels, including a double distinction star and two merits.

You are currently in your second year studying Sport Management at Bournemouth University, have you had opportunities to practice what you have been learning externally through work experience?

The Sport Management course provides students with many opportunities outside our course and I am actually currently looking for my placement. Bournemouth provides support with placements and there are a number of placement links that they offer.

On my course, placements are mandatory and you have a choice of a short one over the summer or a longer one-year placement. Bournemouth University also provides many events and links which you can interact with.

Also, during studying my units, I can see the things that I study in real life. For example, we had a unit about fandom where we had to look into people we know that are fans and explain their behavior and where it comes from. The more I study, the more I look at things differently, especially in sports and having different opinions and perspectives.

What first got you interested in playing Ultimate Frisbee and continuing the sport whilst studying at university in the UK?

I started playing Ultimate Frisbee in Year 9 and my friend got me into the sport at an after-school club. It started as a hobby and some fun on Friday after school.

What really hooked me was the community and the whole concept of the game. Now, I have been playing ultimate for around six years and have been to many tournaments. I haven’t really witnessed people being abusive or horrible to each other, of course, it happens sometimes but most of the time they come to some resolution.

Another big reason why I am addicted to Ultimate frisbee is that it’s a great team sport.

For example, having the best person in Europe on your team doesn’t mean you are 100% going to win, because everyone has a role on the pitch. It also means you can easily witness and play against the best people in Europe or someone who is higher level than you. For example, in university, I play with people who started playing frisbee in September.

Also, there are many dimensions to the game of Ultimate like throwing, cutting (running), jumping, spacing, and strategy. Once I got addicted and into teams, I could not stop and I don’t think I ever will now.

How do you find it balancing your studies with your sporting commitments in Ultimate and what ways have you found to maintain a good balance?

It can be very tough and time-consuming sometimes and as a captain, I feel some kind of responsibility for people coming to university training and tournaments. However, I am very lucky with my committee which massively helps with organising the club. Shout out to my president Sarah Dillamore who is in charge of organising our club for the tournaments and other stuff. However, when I see our team win or see people play and do something amazing I feel proud of them and happy.

I think to maintain balance is to find and adopt a routine. For example, once training times are all set or there is some kind of protocol on what to do when something happens, that’s when it becomes easier and good. I also think prioritising studying or important deadlines should sometimes happen, to ensure good grades. But exercise should not be completely abandoned.

As a dual national, you have represented Great Britain at Under 17, Under 20, and are set to appear for the GB Under 24s in the upcoming World Ultimate Under 24 Championships in July. How did you initially get selected to represent the country on a national level?

Well, I was very lucky with the coach who was coaching after-school sessions in my school, he is president of Reading Ultimate, and he saw the potential in me and pushed me to get better.

My coach then eventually told me about GB trials which I just went to for experience and fun, but surprisingly I got into the squad. He was the main coach for that U17 cycle as well. So, I would say I kind of got lucky with my coach.

Anyone can start playing frisbee and get to a high level if they want to due to many clubs across the UK, they are very welcoming to new people.

Based on your own experience, would you recommend the UK to prospective international students looking to play sport alongside their studies?

My experience in the UK has been amazing and I am grateful for the people who supported my journey.

If you are looking to play ultimate especially, I would definitely recommend the UK because it’s a great community and fun around the UK. The majority of sports in the UK are fun and exciting and 100% worth a try.

The last bit of advice on sport in the UK that I’d give is just to go out and try it. Go out and see for yourself because you might be missing out.

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