Staff Profile: Liam McGrath

5 min read
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. One of FirstPoint USA's newest recruits, Liam McGrath, is certainly no exception! Liam studied at both The University of Memphis and Coastal Carolina University over a decade ago, and at the same time as FirstPoint USA CEO Andrew Kean. Here's Liam's story: 1. Can you tell us a bit about your sporting background I grew up in a small town where football was the predominant sport. I was fortunate enough to be involved with senior clubs like Queen's Park, Morton and Stirling Albion. I was then lucky enough that while playing in the Junior ranks, the University of Memphis coach contacted me and asked me to join the soccer program there. Since returning from America, I initially continued to play football at Junior level but through injury I fell out of the game.   2. What were your impressions of the quality of U.S facilities, coaching etc? How do they compare to those in the UK? Facilities in America are second to none. What we may class as 'national centre of excellence' standard, is on the majority of US campuses. There is no reason why you cannot improve as a player if you are using these facilities on a daily basis. In comparison the facilities in the UK are definitely not as good! Similarly, the coaching standard in the USA was excellent. The coaches clearly know the game. My coaches had all played at professional level and were great to work with. 3. What was the highlight of your time in the USA? While I was in America, it was great to see our CEO, Andrew Kean, who was playing for the University of Cincinnati at the same time. Andrew and I grew up playing in the same team so we always had a laugh when we met up in the USA, despite the rivalry. Andrew took it gracefully when the Memphis Tigers defeated his Bearcats. Highlights include playing on national TV in my first year, heading to Las Vegas to play after only a few weeks in the country, securing bail following my 21st birthday blowout on Spring Break (not recommended!) The whole experience in America was first class...and I'm jealous of the student athletes who are in the process of heading out there now.   4. What did you achieve academically and athletically whilst in the U.S? I achieved plenty both academically and on the football pitch. While in Memphis I was a two time Conference USA Honour Roll student, and we competed for the conference championship in my first year. I moved to Coastal Carolina University after two years in Memphis, and I cannot complain about going to class in the morning, training in the afternoon and then hitting the beach.   5. How did you balance and manage your time between your studies, training and social life? The first couple of months in America are very hectic. At times you feel as if you do not get any free time to yourself, but similarly keeping busy helps with any hint of homesickness. The other boys in the team do not let up and are constantly inviting you out to places to get you integrated. Once your classes start, then you soon realise what is expected in terms of finding a balance between athletics. 6. What advice would you have for any young athlete considering a sports scholarship to the USA? Grab it with both hands. Only once you have achieved everything you set out to do in America will you realise the scale of the experience and hoe prestigious it is to be in receipt of an athletic scholarship.   7. What made you want to work for FirstPoint USA? What is your role at the company? What is your favourite part of the job? Having graduated, I initially started working in finance for a law firm and then moved on to life insurance and investments. With the way things are the now, the job was not enjoyable. I have always kept in touch with my pals in America, and still follow the college sports, so when the opportunity came up to join Firstpoint it made sense to earn a living in a role where i have a real interest.   8. Do you think you made the right choice by studying in the USA? Without a doubt...I would do it all again.   9. What do you think are the benefits of having a USA Scholarship experience compared to a UK education? Straight away, in terms of your CV, the fact that you went and studied abroad and played sports at a very high level is eye-catching. While listening to stories of pals that went to university here, I hear about weekends spent in pubs, where I could go any weekend!    

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