Do you think you have what it takes to secure a scholarship to study & play in the USA? Apply now for your assessment!
Congratulations to Mitchell Conning who has been nominated by our staff to be “First Point USA Athlete of the Month” for May 2013! Mitchell has been on the programme since the start of last year as a soccer student-athlete and has recently accepted an offer to go to Iowa Central and is very much looking forward to his new adventure where he gets to play the sport he loves which will add to his sporting career.
Mitchell has enjoyed being on the programme and our staff have thoroughly enjoyed working with him.
“Mitch has been first class to work with. Throughout the process he completed all the required steps quickly and efficiently. He has a promising future ahead of him.”
We caught up with Mitchell and asked him how he has found being on the programme and also a bit more about his sport and why he loves it.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your sporting background?
Ever since I can remember I have always been a playing sport, and not only football. Anything I could challenge myself at I would give a go, and this has lead to success across sports such as swimming, football and gymnastics. With regards to football I joined my first team aged 6 as Chickerell United started up their youth team and for me my earliest memory was my first competitive game where I managed to score 6 goals. I played for Chickerell for many years growing up playing with most of my school friends before leaving and joining Weymouth FC youth at the age of 12. After being at Weymouth FC youth for three seasons, me and a few of my teammates decided to go and play in the hampshire league for Broadway Academy and play a year up to challenge ourselves and help our development. I then reverted to playing as a striker again and at 15 I replicated my first memory of football by scoring 6 in one game. Following a few games for the under 18 side and some good performances I was asked if I would like to go for trials with Yeovil Town FC and ended up signing schoolboy forms with the league 1 club. Between the ages of 16 and 18 I played for Yeovil Town FC but also Portland United FC on dual registration forms and in the season of 2009-2010 I had scored 9 goals from 18 appearances in the Dorset Premier League for Portland United, also at this time I was playing for Dorset Under 18′s and in the following two years finally became South of England Champions in 2011. After some personal circumstances I decided to leave Yeovil Town and rejoin Weymouth FC but this time for their reserve side. In which that season we won the league cup and finished second in the league, during that season I had some outstanding games and had managed to catch the eye of the first team manager, and towards the end of that season aged 17 I made my first appearance for Weymouth FC in the Evo-Stick Southern Premier league playing in games against Bashley and featuring against champions that year on the final day of the season Truro FC . After a change of management at Weymouth FC and a frustrating following season made up of substitute appearances, cup games and a loan spell at Bridport Town FC I decided to again rejoin Portland United FC in the 2012-2013 season. This season we sit top by a point with a game in hand and although playing the majority of games out on the wings I have managed to score 11 goals in the league and cup and my aim for this season is to go on and win the league title before I leave for the states in July.
2. How did you find out about First Point USA and what made you want to join the programme?
I found out about Firstpoint USA when I was 16 through FirstPoint ‘Hall of Famer’, Sam Charles. I knew that he was either playing in the states on a scholarship with MSU Billings or had just completed his scholarship. But after a school game in which his younger brother played in the same team as me, his dad and mine got talking about how Sam had gone about his scholarship to the states, and that is where I initially heard of Firstpoint USA. After getting home and my dad relaying the story to me I only had eyes set on doing the same thing as Sam and ever since it was my goal to go to the states one day and play Soccer. After my initial assessment and acceptance to the program in January 2012 I was really impressed with everybody at Firstpoint USA. My interview at Stamford Bridge with Simone Enrici couldn’t have gone any better, in my eyes, and if my mind wasn’t already sure that I wanted to go to the USA it certainly was once I had left the interview.
3. You have just accepted an offer. Tell us how you managed to make that decision? Tell us a bit about the University.
I have just accepted a scholarship offer to join Iowa Central in the coming summer and my decision eventually came easy to me. Although gaining a lot of attention from a lot of colleges and universities my final decision was one which stood out from all the others. Once I understood my eligibility it was clear I was going to have to attend a Junior college for my first two years before transferring to a four year school for my final two years. After my eventual coach contacted me and speaking to him on numerous times over the phone Iowa Central soon became a stand out for me. The soccer program which is ranked in the top 20 nationally and the school really impressed me with the range of academic programs it offered. The facilities look second to none and I really hope to make the best of the opportunity I have been given at Iowa Central.
4. What are you most excited about going to the University you have chosen in the states?
There are many things that excite me about my future move to the USA, mainly looking forward to what I have to experience over the next 4 years. The whole life experience, living away from home, making new friends, being surrounded by new people in a different place all excite me. And now I often find myself counting the days, weeks and shifts at work that I have left until the day I fly to the US and start what will be an experience I will never forget.
5. What are your future goals and what do you want to gain most from going out to America on a Scholarship?
Obviously knowing that I’m going out to the US on a soccer scholarship, it’s obvious that I’m going to set certain goals for myself and have certain things I wish to achieve on a personal level and no doubt I will do all I can to make those ambitions come true. During my time in the US I hope to gain all american status and help my team in both regional and hopefully national competitions. Gaining my degree alongside my sporting success is also a massive thing for me and transferring after my initial two years at Iowa Central to another successful college are things I really wish to achieve during my time in the USA.
6. How have you found being on the programme? What would your advice be to others?
Since being on the programme with firstpoint USA I can’t offer anything but positive feedback about everything associated with the company. Everybody that I have either spoken too or had contact with has been absolutely brilliant, nothing has ever been too much to ask. There are so many people I’d like to thank starting with Simone Enrici and Andrew Kean for helping me all the way through the process, always offering their advice and a honest opinion on what would be best for me. The guys at the media team for getting my footage sorted and everybody else that has had an input into my scholarship process I can’t thank you enough for making my dreams become a reality. There is no doubt in my mind that I would recommend the service that Firstpoint USA offer. Anybody that is confident in their ability and believes that they have what it takes to be a student athlete, Firstpoint USA are the guys to go too.
We want to thank Mitchell for his kind words and hard effort and wish him the best for the future!
Do you think you have what it takes to secure a scholarship to be on your way to the USA, like Mitchell? Apply now for your assessment!
Do you think you have what it takes to secure a scholarship to study in the USA while playing your favourite sport? Apply now for your assessment!
We’re pleased to see recent soccer scholarship recipient, Gary Giffin, has been featured in the East Kilbride News!
From the article:
The American dream beckons for Westwood footballer Gary Giffin after he signed a four-year soccer scholarship at Midland University. The 18-year-old will head out to Nebraska on July 17 to embark on his journey towards becoming a professional footballer with the FirstPoint USA programme.
And the central midfielder, who has played for Rangers and Ayr United boys’ clubs, revealed he turned down a host of offers from other institutions in New York and South Carolina in favour of the team in America’s heartland. He told the News: “I had offers from a number of colleges throughout the US, but I’m really glad I chose Midland.
“I had an offer from Feather River College in Quincy, California one from USC Salkehatchie in South Carolina and one from Munroe College in New York. But I choose Fremont, Nebraska because I met with Midland’s Craig Hughes down in London to speak about a deal and he made a real impression. Craig told me about Midland and the way they treat their players. It’s out of this world.
“To me, Midland is like a professional team and the facilities they have are second to none – apparently a lot better than all the Scottish Premier League teams. Sean Fraser, the head coach at Midland, has been very good to me and thinks very highly of me so I can’t wait to get started.”
The former Duncanrig Secondary School pupil was recommended to FirstPoint USA by his coach at Rangers, and Gary was soon playing in trial games before passing the interview stage with flying colours.
He was then offered a four-year deal and can’t wait to get started this summer. He added: “I was so proud when I was offered the contract.
“It’s what I have always wanted to do – and now it’s real. I am most looking forward to progressing in my soccer career, traveling America, meeting new people and taking on new challenges. But being treated like a professional footballer will be a big thing for me, too. It’s a very big step but it’s one I’m thriving on. I think I will cope well with all the challenges this will throw at me and although I’m sure I’ll get a bit homesick, that’s just something I’ll have to deal with.
“In the next four years, I hope to achieve great things, get noticed as a college player in the States and make a name for myself by helping Midland win titles. After those four years, the ultimate goal is to play professional soccer .
“I want to thank my mum and dad, who have stuck by me my whole life in football for helping me get to this stage.
“And I also I want to thank Sean Fraser and Craig Hughes from Midland for giving me this chance to achieve my dreams.”
Read more: East Kilbride News
Well done Gary, we wish you the best of luck in the USA!
I’ve had many people ask me over my time here so far of what exactly a day in the life of a student athlete entails, particularly soccer. A lot of my friends think it’s all fun and games, just chilling in the sun, kicking a ball about then attending some crazy Frat party before waking up the next morning to do it all again…unfortunately it’s not (the truth mum, honestly!)
|In action @ Southern Wesleyan, South Carolina.|
I received an e-mail from First Point USA, my former agency, asking me to do a guest blog for future students on what exactly a typical day would be for a student athlete. I will include my own schedule during season in the NAIA, along with my good friend Michael Tuohy’s, himself a former FPUSA client, to show a comparison between the two levels. Michael plays for the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania in the NCAA.
My day would be pretty full on during season. This is how my Monday would typically be;
7:30am; Wake up, breakfast
8:00am; Work study
5pm; Treatment, back to dorm rooms, shower
9pm; Library to study, complete assignments and homework
11pm; Back to dorm, shower, sleep.
It really was a full on day and this was a day without a 7 hour bus trip to an away game!
Michael’s schedule at NCAA DI Pittsburgh on a typical day:
|Michael in action for Pittsburgh.|
7:30am; Wake up, breakfast
10-11am; Study Hall
11am; Head to the stadium, ready for practice
12:3pm; Training, followed by treatment on any injuries
4-5pm; Classes depending on the day
6pm-; Homework, dinner, take care of errands, speak to family back home, sleep.
As you can see, the schedules are both pretty intense but if you take both your training and academics seriously rather than prioritise one over the other, then they are both very manageable. We both keep in contact with one another, and even ended up on the same flight home for Christmas, totally coincidental!
It is a once in a life-time experience being a student athlete and even though you are burned out after most days, it will be one of the best things you could possibly take on. We both highly recommend the USA college experience to everyone, as no matter what level you have played to back home it really is such a great opportunity to come here; both academically for your future and for your own sporting career.
Follow michael’s journey @tuohy_michael on twitter, and myself @theboyohare
We’d like to thank Damian & Michael for taking the time to write such a great blog post!
For more information, or to register for a soccer assessment , apply online today
No matter which school, university or college you go to or what course you do or subject you take, you will have to do some sort of studying. Everyone has their own ways of learning and revising which are suited to them. There are 3 well known categories of learning: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Some people feel they can only learn one of these ways but often the best learners are a combination of all three.
Some people may be what is known as ‘Visual Learners’, where they take information in from diagrams, colour coded information, e.g. highlighted sections. When studying for exams these types of learners often create mindmaps or ‘spiderwebs’. A mindmap is normally based around one heading which is placed in the middle. Subheadings will be expanded from that centre heading, and then further headings from those subheadings and so on. Students often use this idea to test their knowledge of a heading and to see how much they really have remembered about that topic. The idea of the mindmap is, it is in the style of a tree branching out, with smaller sections; each branch is connected to the previous branch but is elaborated or linked. As said before, another good idea for Visual Learners is to highlight in colour. As seen on the example below, colour can be used to highlight the subtopics or used to link with other information from a different section. The great thing about the mindmap is that it is a basic idea which can be altered or styled however the student may like.
Visual Learners also study and learn well by reading and writing. Often some students read over their textbook and notes which sometimes might work can often result in the information not being retained. A good way to study, especially for Visual Learners, is to copy out some notes, then go back and highlight the key points to that sentence. When reading over your notes closer to the test, the highlighted words will stand out to you.
Others are known as being more sided to being Kinesthetic Learners, which is a type of learning that must be very hands-on. Often for these types of learners, they do lots of writing instead of reading. They also think it is beneficial to do activities to learn. This could be anything from making a poster, to creating and playing a game with questions for their subject, or even creating flashcards. For Kinesthetic Learners it is important for them to take regular breaks as sitting down for a while will affect their learning and studying. These types of learners are often keen on sport so it is important they get exercise and fresh air as much as they can to increase their ability to take in knowledge.
As only 5% of the population are Kinesthetic learners there haven’t been many things created for them to help them study. However Kinesthetic learners are often good with coming up with ideas themselves and managed to find some hands-on approaches to help them study and take in all the information they need.
The last type of the three styles of learning is ‘Auditory Learners’. When it comes to studying for exams, Auditory Learners often do not write or read to study but they study best by listening. They may read out loud or get a family member or friend to read things to them. Often they may get their lecturers or teachers to record their classes so the student can listen back to what has been said. Again, this is quite a difficult style to create lots of ideas from, but certain things can be done to help these types of students. These students also find is easier to study whilst listening to music, certain music may be played in order to keep them more calm if they are confused or stressed about their exams, but also some music may be played to keep them more awake or feel upbeat so they can study better. More and more students these days are finding it easier to study with music playing in the background. Also some students, who learn by listening, often make notes by saying them out loud and recording them then listening to them back or even some play it while they sleep and wake up and feel the information has gone in.
Some final overall tips for studying are the four things which are told very often but not carried out enough. The first tip is that you should make sure you sleep enough. A good sleep should be 7-8 hours each night. Some students work better in the mornings, and others better at night, therefore, time your sleep around what you prefer doing. However, going to sleep too late often messes with your body clock, and remember, some days you may have to get up early for an exam. The second tip is that you should make sure you eat regularly and healthily. Breakfast is important as well as a lunch and dinner. Three meals a day, maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The third important tip is exercise. Exercise is recommended as ti means you can take breaks from studying, and also get away from your study environment, which is better for the brain to relax and for you to concentrate. Finally, it is very important you take breaks. A good idea to make sure you carry out all these tips is to create your own study timetable which can highlight what topic or subject you will do each day, when you will take breaks and times of each.
The FAA is investigating an incident on a flight from Denver to San Diego when an entire plane load of passengers took part in a mid-air flash mob. Video shot on the Frontier flight shows passengers jumping up and down mid-flight to the latest viral dance craze – the Harlem Shake. While the video has gone viral with more than 450,000 views on YouTube, safety experts have voiced concerns that the prank unnecessarily put the entire plane in jeopardy.
The flash mob was organized by members of the Colorado College Ultimate Frisbee Team who were on their way to a tournament in San Diego over President’s Day weekend. Somehow they managed to convince fellow passengers of all ages to get up and pump their fists to the dance tune by DJ Baauer.
‘I don’t see there being any reason why this should cause any trouble. We asked the staff and they said it was safe,’ he told Colorado College student newspaper The Catalyst.
A Frontier Airlines spokeswoman has said that all safety measures were followed and the seat belt sign was off at the time that the dance was recorded.
Recently, we’ve been joined at FirstPoint USA HQ by former LA Galaxy player, Daniel Keat. We caught up with Daniel to discuss his time as an international student in the USA, playing soccer at Dartmouth College, and his experiences playing professional soccer since graduating.