Each month we profile a FirstPoint USA Staff Member to give you some insight into what we are all like, what we do and what experience we have.
The majority of our staff have all been through the American scholarship process themselves and have studied and played sport to a high level in the States.
Barry Neville, from our Clearing Department is certainly no exception! Barry secured a soccer scholarship to Binghamton University in New York where he achieved a great deal, both on the pitch and in the classroom….he also met his wife there (Nicole Montoya from FirstPoint USA Client Services!)
Barry is now a key member of the FirstPoint USA team as well as being a FirstPoint USA Hall of Fame inductee! He works very hard and is always willing to share his knowledge and experience to our clients who are going through the process themselves.
We caught up with Barry to find out more about his experiences:
What did you do before coming to FPUSA?
Before working at First Point USA, I spent four years out in the States at Binghamton University in New York. I secured a scholarship with the help of First Point USA and had a very successful time there. I graduated with a degree in Economics in 2009. Soon after that I returned home whereI actually worked an internship here in the office for about 3 weeks prior to being offered a permanent job. Needless to say, I guess I made quite the impression!
What’s your sporting background?
My sporting background is in Football (Soccer). I spent a number of years playing with Motherwell FC and spent a year playing with Stirling Albion FC before departing for the US. While out in the US, I was fortunate enough to have experienced much success with my team. I was individually awarded with the team MVP a couple of times, All-Conference accolades, as well as All-Region. In the end, I was given a very prestigious award by the university for my contribution to the school’s athletic department for my success on and off the pitch. Til this day I feel priveleged to have been chosen for this. Since being back in Scotland, I have played for a couple of Junior Football Clubs, but nothing special has landed for me as of yet.
Describe what your job involves
My job involves the placement of our clients at the US Universities and securing scholarship opportunities for them. I work in a team of four with Grant, John-Paul and Craig. We are in regular contact with coaches from the US to promote our clients to be part of their athletic program. We also assist our clients with the admissions process, Visa process, insurance questions, and any other questions to do with making the move to the USA.
What might you do in a day?
In a regular day, you will most likely find me getting back to numerous emails and phone calls from coaches, clients, and their parents. I watch our clients’ footage, determine their eligibility, and find those schools which suit them best.
What do you like most about your job?
The great thing about my job is that I am always working with new people. Unique situations still arise as every case has their own variables so it never is boring. A lot of people always tell me I’m lucky because I get to watch football all day and get to talk sports, so I enjoy that part of it as well. The people I work with are easy to get on with, we enjoy a good laugh, and all share similar interests.
Being able to play some part in these young men and women’s choices which will change their lives is the most rewarding part of my job.
What are your ambitions?
I would like to get into coaching young athletes eventually. Though to be honest, I haven’t thought too far in advance in regards to my ambitions.
What’s your claim to fame?
I scored winning goal to win the conference tournament to put us into the national championships. I then went on to score a goal in the NCAA tournament as well. A big blow-up action photo of me is up in the soccer stadium at Binghamton University.
What do you do in your free time/ what are your hobbies?
I enjoy beating my colleagues in FIFA, it always makes good chat for the next day at work. Since my wife is a fan, she has converted me to follow an American Basketball team called the Los Angeles Lakers so I do enjoy watching their games.
What is it really like working with your wife!?
She drives me crazy! Just kidding. It actually isn’t as bad as you would think. We are still a very young married couple so we are still at the stage that we like to talk to each other! Haha. It is nice to have her around and go to lunch with everyday.
Barry, tell us some interesting Facts about yourself:
1. I am the first to graduate university from my family.
2. I have a dream one day to go into outer space (It’s a long shot)
3. I was a Ball Boy at the 1999 Scottish Cup Final when Rangers beat Celtic 1-0
4. I am currently learning Spanish
5. A massive picture of me is printed on the Walls of the soccer stadium at Binghamton University
Testimonial from Craig Hughes, Clearing Department
“Barry is a bit of a perfectionist, he takes pride in his work and is very thorough in everything he does. He is honest, hard working and reliable. He also has a genuine interest in all of his clients – he goes over and above to assist them.
Barry loves his football (soccer), he is known as somewhat of a journeyman of junior football. Barry models himself on his favourite player Kirk Broadfoot who he affectionately nicknames “the Paisley Pele”.
Testimonial from Nicole Montoya, Client Services (a.k.a Barry’s wife!)
“There’s a lot of things I could say about Barry Neville, but I will keep it short and sweet as I don’t want to embarrass him! Barry is a very humble person so he won’t like me saying these things! We first met at University in New York, so I had the pleasure of watching him play soccer at his best. He had a very successful collegiate career and even though he would not admit it, I believe he was the most beloved player in his 4 years there and could possibly still be!
Barry was awarded the team MVP a couple of times, was the team captain, won conference championships, made it to the finals just about every year, scored a goal in the NCAA tournament, scored a winning penalty to win the conference championship, awarded numerous conference accolades for his performance on the field and in the classroom (All-Rookie, Honour Roll, First-Team etc). He was awarded all-regional achievements, most outstanding player for the conference tournament, and his final award as a senior was the most prestigious – which was given to the male athlete who had an outstanding contribution to the entire athletic department at the university and showed great leadership.
All the while he was a great athlete and soccer player, he was an excellent student who was recognised by the conference and the university. I can’t say enough good things about him – but then of course I’m biased! “
We would like to thank Barry Neville for taking the time to talk to us about his experiences and achievements at Binghamton University and beyond. We would also like to thank Craig and Nicole for the testimonials.