Bristol Rovers gave one lucky fan a money cannot buy opportunity to learn to Save Like A Pro, alongside their up-and-coming goalkeeping star, Jed Ward. 

Ahead of the new season, Bristol Rovers Community Trust FC’s James Dobson was invited to The Quarters Training Ground, to experience a professional goalkeeping coaching session and get tips on how to save energy on and off the pitch. 

The session included how to control handling and footwork, reactive shot-stopping, how to save energy when moving from one side of the goal to the other and how to preserve mental energy in a tough game. 

The training session was organised as part of Smart Energy GB and EFL’s ‘Save Like a Pro’ campaign, which highlights how getting a smart meter installed can help people make small changes at home to save energy and be more in control of their energy bills. 

Dobson was put through his paces in the early afternoon heat by Ward and Rovers’ goalkeeping coach, Tony Warner. 

Ward, who made his professional debut in a 1-0 defeat away at Blackpool on the last day of the 2020/21 season and was subsequently called up to an England under-19 training camp, wanted to get involved so he could give fans like Dobson a chance to experience a professional standard training session. 

“It’s been great to welcome James to the training ground, and give something back to the community,” said Ward, speaking to encourage Bristol Rovers fans to get a smart meter installed. 

Smart meters put an end to estimated bills and come with an in-home display so users can easily see where energy is being used, meaning they can make small changes to save energy and budget more easily. 

Back to the pitch; “We went through various drills and put him through his paces, with a focus on conserving as much energy as possible in goal, which is imperative as a goalkeeper,” added Ward. 

“You might have had very little to do during a match, and then suddenly in the last minute, a save could be the difference between winning or losing. 

“We went through the importance of catching the ball as much as possible, and finding the shortest possible route to the ball to make sure you’re doing everything you can to conserve your energy. 

“James did really well in the session, and it was great to chat to him about the best ways of saving energy in and outside of football. 

“I really enjoyed learning and talking about how we can control energy off the pitch too, such as getting a smart meter installed. They help people to see where they can control their energy use and in turn could help save money.” 

Having made his first senior appearance for the Pirates 11 days shy of his 18th birthday Ward is being heralded as one to watch at the Memorial Stadium in the upcoming season, and Rovers fan Dobson will be keeping a keen eye on his progress. 

Dobson, from Pucklechurch, ‘drew the short straw’ of playing in goal as a youngster but quickly learned to love being between the sticks, and he counts Coalpit Heath, Mangotsfield and Keynsham among the teams he has represented. 

The 18-year-old is studying for a BTEC level three qualification in sport alongside his playing commitments for the Bristol Rovers Community Trust, and he can’t wait to put the tips from Ward into practice in the new season. 

He said: “Being a fan of the club, I was delighted when I got the call from one of my tutors to tell me that I was going to be training with Jed. It was a brilliant day. 

“Conserving energy isn’t something I’ve thought about too much before as a goalkeeper, but Jed and Tony gave me some key handling tips, as well as advice about keeping my weight forward, my footwork, and shot-stopping. 

“It’s opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas, and I’m looking forward to taking them back to my club now. 

“I was also really interested to learn about controlling energy off the pitch at home and the benefits of getting a smart meter installed, and other small ways I can save energy at home - like turning my TV off standby and not overcharging my phone!” 

Dobson was keen to prove that the gap between an amateur and a professional isn’t as large as some might expect. 

He added: “I’ve obviously always wanted to be a professional footballer, but working with Jed has shown me how much hard work it is. I was very tired after our session! 

“I think I did well with the drills but I’m not sure I’ll be challenging him for his spot in the team just yet!” 

Ealing Times: Ward and Dobson also discussed several energy saving tips away from the pitchWard and Dobson also discussed several energy saving tips away from the pitch

Some of the energy saving tips discussed off the pitch by Ward and Dobson were using fewer appliances and lights during the summer months, hanging washing outside rather than using a dryer, and turning your appliances off standby mode. 

While another is speaking to your energy supplier about getting a meter installed to help control your usage, with prepay customers able to top up using their mobile or online.

Robert Cheesewright, Director at Smart Energy GB said: “Footballers and goalkeepers need to know how to conserve their energy on and off the pitch, and the same goes for our own energy use at home. 

“Getting a smart meter from your energy supplier means, through automatic billing and having greater control of your energy use, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. 

“The in-home display allows you to see in near-real time how much energy you are using in pounds and pence - meaning you can make some great saves, just like our goalkeepers today. 

“Join the energy revolution and help upgrade Britain’s energy infrastructure by getting a smart meter installed at no extra cost.” 

If you would like to register your interest in getting a smart meter installed, contact your energy supplier. Smart Energy GB and the EFL Partnership: Save Like a Pro. For more information visit