Every month, the FirstPoint USA staff get together to nominate their "Athlete of the Month". It is always a hard decision, with so many talented young athletes on our books!
Controversially, this month - our "Athlete of Month" title has been given to not one, but TWO of our clients....
Congratulations to Jack Moore and Dan McCathy, who have both secured soccer scholarships to the University of West Alabama!
Having worked closely with both lads over the months, we have realised that these guys come as a pair! Having met through FirstPoint USA, and gone through the process (client games, showcase games and scholarship offers) together - they have become good friends. It is great to see that along with achieving great scholarships, these boys have become close and will benefit from sharing the experience together.
We caught up with both boys to find out their thoughts about FirstPoint USA, the scholarship process and how they feel about moving to the USA! :
Sporting Background: My sporting background is that I started taking football seriously when I was about 14 as I had serious knee injuries when I was younger which stopped me from playing. This meant I had to change positions from a center back to a goalkeeper because I couldn't do too much on my weak knee. I played for Welling United for 3 seasons in which I won the Kent league once and got to 3 cup finals in that time. This earned me a call up to Kent county in which I played 3 games for. I then went to dartford fc academy for two seasons and got promoted to the national league in the second season. I now play for welling united reserve team but have played for the first team this season.
What made me apply: I had no intention of applying at first but I applied for FirstPoint USA because ( bit of a funny story ) I never had a game for ages because of the snow and my mate was going and said it would be a chance just to play. So I went and I was sold by the presentation at the start by Kevin McCann. I signed up which has proven to be a good decision so far.
My University Choice: The reason I choose West Alabama was because I actually had a chance to meet coach at the Showcase and so it felt better to have actually spoke to the coach and been watched in person. I then started to email the coach and get on well with him, and that was really important for me. I did receive a lot of contact from other coaches but West Alabama felt right and me and Dan McCarthy (Macaazzz) felt it was the right decision to make. Also the fact coach wanted me to be captain played a major part as I would be the first captain in the schools history.
Check out this clip of Jack at one of our Client Games : Jack Moore ShowboatingWhat I hope to Achieve: In my time there I hope hold an unbeatable record of the most clean sheets in a season and I will look to break that each year I'm there. I would also love to be an All American and after speaking with coach he feels there is nothing stopping that from happening. In my four years there I know its a bit farfetched but I want to win the conference as well as nationals. I have huge ambitions but I do believe the USA is the land of dreams so why not.
How me and Dan Met: I actually met Dan via twitter I believe we sent eachother footage and was impressed with what we saw of eachother. We got on instantly and where I completed my file first I had offers, I showed him West Alabama and he liked it and asked if I could talk to coach about him going there. Since then we decided to go. He stayed round mine last month to help eachother with the forms and stuff as its a complicated process. I also showed him how to dress when going out because his dress sense isn't as good as his football! Haha
Was I pleased with my offers: I was very pleased with the offers I was made. They were financially good and the schools were good too.
Would I recommend First Point USA: I would recommend FirstPoint USA to anyone wanting to go on a scholarship to America. I have already recommended two people who are going through the process now - Sam Eastgate and Jay Porter. All of the staff are great and hold good experience in the process. I got to play a lot of client games and the footage was great!
My Advice to Others: To anyone wanted to join I would say stay positive the process is very slow even one you have a scholar secured. Keep working hard and try get the profile complete ASAP. The quicker its up, the more offers you will get. Also, don't be affraid to ask questions to the staff as I said they will help all the time.
Testimonial about Jack Moore, from his Sports Consultant, Kevin McCann"Jack has been a great client to work with from start to finish. A fantastic keeper who is a great acquisition for coach Matty Thorne at West Alabama. Similar to previous Athlete of the Month, Colin Okirie, Jack was very engaged with staff throughout and also liked to chip in with a bit of banter. Jack is a really likeable guy, fancies himself as a bit of a 'lad', but has so far failed to impress any of the FirstPoint USA coaching staff with his blonde floppy locks. He did however win the heart of a certain Dan McCarthy, blooming into a beautiful bro-mance. Both lads will be playing at West Alabama next year so everyone here at FirstPoint USA will be keeping a close eye on their progress (and relationship) over the forthcoming years!"
Sporting Background: Started football from the age of 3 where I signed for Hullbridge Sports u5's and played a year up. I was then scouted to play for Leyton Orient at 5 years old at a summer tournament and went to train a few times. I then carried on at Hullbridge till around 9 being top scorer near on every year and gained many awards such as Managers player and players player of the year. Then which I moved to Leigh Rockets FC. I played here for 3 years till around 12 where I was top scorer again each year and then actually scouted to trial for Arsenal as a Striker (Where I started my days) but also tried out in Goal after playing a match for them there and doing well. I then moved to their Rivals in the highest league Leigh Town for 2 seasons where I was again top scorer again even though I played right wing for many games. At this time I then was asked to train for the Chelsea FC Centre of Excellence for a few weeks up in London but unfortunately I didn't fulfil that due to my dad not being comfortable with it. Ending my kid days I signed for Catholic United when 15 for my last season which we won the League and League Cup where I scored the Semi Final winner and the winning penalty in the final at Southend United's ground which was my all time highlight. I also trialled for Charlton Athletic and Southend United through this. I then moved to Leigh Ramblers mens team at 16 and started off in the 3rd team for a couple of games where I rapidly progressed to playing for the first team in Centre Midfield, I reached the top of my game there and then moved to White Ensign Mens team in the league above to better myself again in Centre Midfield where I was Joint top scorer again. Finally I moved to Great Wakering with the Reserves in the Essex Senior League with the first team in the Semi Pro Ryman League, I actually moved back to Centre Back only for this team around 4 months ago so I actually am new to this position but with my dad being my agent if you like he realised with myself this was my best position. We ended up 3rd with myself keeping many clean sheets and reaching the cup semi final!
What made me apply: I have always wanted to visit America for holiday or something since a young age. I actually was on my computer one night in my lounge where a friend of mine recommended trying out, I told my dad and he said go for it and see what happens so I applied online not expecting anything back. The chance to go to America to live and also play football everyday was just such an amazing combination alongside the degree I couldn't turn down. I had never played in Defence in my life but realising that I had now grown to a suitable 6ft 1 and that many people would try out in attacking positions I tried Centre Back and played really well. I then got a phone call and the rest is history.
My University Choice: The decision to choose UWA was a tough and thoughtful one. With myself gaining around 6 offers or so I had to weigh them all up with taking in what each coach was saying and offering but in the end the choice was made easy with some guidance from Barry Neville especially (who I thank greatly) and my Dad. At one point I thought I would never get an offer but then they all came in. The reason I chose UWA was mainly because I had the chance to make History as part of the first mens soccer team for the University and another major factor was the fact Coach Thorne made the effort to answer all my questions every day and even call me and speak to me and my parents. That was a massive step in my decision.
What I hope to Achieve: I hope to achieve experiencing a chance of a lifetime and to live life to the full living my dream. I hope to enjoy myself and gain my degree in Sports Management to the highest level and then If I can make it as a pro in any league that would be a bonus. Long term I hope to stay in the US and maybe start up my Own Soccer School and help bring up Soccer in the US ... or work for FirstPoint USA as a Consultant as the company mean a lot!
How me and Jack Met: We actually played against each other In a Client Game but never spoke, then at the Showcase I saw him play and he watched me but again we didn't speak until on Twitter we just caught each other and got really close, we spoke every day about our offers and stuff and then I actually went to London to stay at his house and from there we've been close and cant wait to share a room at UWA and make history.
Was I pleased with my offers: If you had told me at the start I would gain around 6 offers and more interest I would of said go away, so when it came true I was shocked but happy that coaches appreciated my talent. All the offers were good in their own way and offered me sufficient things in different ways. All were affordable from different leagues and places such as New York, Georgia, LA, California etc alongside Nike sponsorships the lot but West Alabama just stuck out because of making History and the ideas Coach had for the team!
Would I recommend First Point USA: With out a doubt, If I could ever work for the company in the future in some way that would be fantastic if my Soccer School doesn't come off as that would be a way to say thanks for everything they have done. I couldn't sum up how good the company is in a paragraph as there is so many elements and good vibes around the company that you wouldn't experience unless you got involved, If you dream to be a footballer or a professional in any other sport and wish to excel in the US then there is no other company in the world that can help you with your dreams.
My Advice to Others: My advice to people considering doing the process is to Talk it through with your Parents thoroughly before you make the decision, it is a big deal moving country and leaving them behind so make sure all parties are happy.
Be focused and confident when you approach the trial, communication is key in sport but If you are not confident and don't keep your head up you will not play the game you know you can. Its a one off opportunity with nothing to lose so just go for it.
Be outgoing and friendly to the staff, I am gladly close with many of the staff at the company because I was willing to go the extra mile to talk and meet all the staff and gain their experience, this is a bonus to helping you make the right decisions.
Finally enjoy yourselves and the process, Its fun and they make it so easy and comfortable for you to make the decisions just go with the flow and enjoy it, Make sure you take a parent for your benefit to meetings and stuff and you can enjoy the experience together!
Testimonial about Dan McCarthy from his Sports Consultant, Nicola Pitticas"I remember the first time Dan McCarthy strolled into his assessment in London - wearing his skinny jeans and trucker hat! The coaches and I glanced at eachother, thinking that One Direction had lost a band member!During the presentation, he sat in the front row and listened intently to everything that was being explained about the sports scholarship process. I remember his eyes lighting up, and he was the first one out the door to go and get ready for the assessment.He surprised us all during the assessment and turned out to be a bit of a player (as Dan eloquently told me before the assessment...."I am Dynamite!")Next came the interview, in he walked with his Dad and for the first time, I could see how nervous he was. Still, he managed to impress at the interview.Dan has been an absolute pleasure to work with. His smiley face at client games, his constant tweeting, his eagerness to get interviewed at the showcase and his priceless banter has made him quite a celebrity around the office. I am so excited to hear about his freshman year at West Alabama and all the trouble that he and Jack will cause.Everyone at FirstPoint USA wishes you both the best of luck.....and a big congratulations on being named "Athlete of the Month"...finally, you get your name in lights Danny Boy!"As you can tell, both boys have been a joy to work with and all staff have become very fond of them as they have gone through the process.We would love to wish both lads the very best for their time at the University of West Alabama. We hope you both keep in touch and update us on your progress (not so much on the love lives though, please guys! :P) Thanks to Jack and Dan for taking the time out to answer our questions and for being such great FirstPoint USA candidates!If you think that you are ready for the next step, why not follow in the steps of Jack & Dan's football boots and register your details to find out more about Soccer Scholarships to the USA today!