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!