Can you tell us a bit about your sporting background?I played at Aberdeen when I was around 10 for a year before joining Kildrum Thistle for two years. I joined Broomhill Sports Club when I was around 13, then when I was 16 was with Partick Thistle for a year. However a year or so later I was back with the Thistle under 19s for 2/3 months before being released. While playing games with Broomhill I would also train with Junior side Ashfield. After leaving Broomhill aged 18, I joined Knightswood 21s for a season. After that I went to Stirling University and played with the 3rd and sometimes the 2nd squad there. What originally made you choose FirstPointUSA, and are you glad that you did? In football, I have always said I wanted to play and compete at the highest level I possibly could and after a close friend of mine got involved with Firstpoint and gained a scholarship to NJIT in New York, it was definitely something that I wanted to try and do. I am glad I did it, as the level both with football and academics is a step up. Are you happy with the offers you received, and what made you choose Pitt? The offers I received were good level schools including Cincinnati and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at DI, Rollins College in Florida Montana State-Billings at DII and a number of DIII schools. I felt that for me, Pitt showed the most persistent interest. It had a great academic reputation and played in one of the top conferences in the country, the Big East and has since moved to the ACC (ranked #1 conference in DI football). Most importantly, the financial offer they gave me helped me and my parents make the decision also. Can you give us typical day being a student athlete†& how have you managed your time between studying, athletics and your social life? One of the first things I was told when I arrived was that student-athletes donít sleep a whole lot. This has been true to an extent, especially around times of deadlines. Typical day normally begins around 8:30am classes beginning around 9:30/10 (if you are smart about scheduling!) before up to the stadium around 11 to get pre-training treatment, watch film of opposition or just relax with the lads before we start training at 12. 2/3 times a week we are in the weight room after training ends at 2, doing a workout. For me, anyway, itís back to class at 3 until around 5, with twice a week a night class from 6-8. This description of a day is definitely one of my heavier days of the week and others are not so strenuous. For me it definitely took time to adjust to the full-on lifestyle and balance my classes with football and socialising. Now I feel that its second nature. How does the standard of soccer and facilities compare in the US to the UK? The facilities here are unreal. Brand new stadium complex was built in 2011 so we have a great locker room, and all weather pitch which helps as it gets quite snowy and icy here in the winter. We also have an indoor pitch that is handy when it gets cold and although itís not a great surface, it means we can train through the winter. What has been the highlight so far in America? A personal highlight for me was playing at College park against Maryland in front of around 4,500 fans which was something special. I never thought I would get the chance to experience anything like that. Also for the team I think the first year I played here we started the first 8 games unbeaten with 6 wins. That was huge as it allowed me to settle in with the lads and enjoy the wins with them all. What has been the biggest adjustment you've had to make and how have you dealt with homesickness? The biggest adjustment is probably the distance from my family. I was always very close with them and although it was tough at first, things like Skype and FaceTime make it a lot easier. During the season I didnít have time to sit and think about home as much but once the season drew to a close that is when I felt the homesickness the most. What advice would you give to 2014 new international student-athletes as they prepare for their first year in the U.S? Give everything you have to get yourself in shape before going out. I trained intensively for about 3 or 4 months before I came out and it still took me time to adjust to the physical demands of the game over here. Also, I would say come in with a positive and confident attitude. Believe that you are good enough to come in and play straight away, without being arrogant about it of course. What advice do you have for anyone considering applying for a sports scholarship? It is obviously a big personal and financial commitment from you and your family. But at the end of the day if you are intent on playing at the highest level you can, playing in the top facilities and playing football everyday while getting a degree then this is the thing for you. Have you had any opportunity to work while at Uni? I have not had the opportunity to work at Uni, barring a few kidís football camps a few weekends and over the summer with my coach. I think that it would probably be too much to take on even though I could really use the extra cash to help pay costs. Would you recommend FirstPointUSA? Firstpoint gave me a leg up in helping myself play at the highest level I can and also get a top class degree from Pitt. Although it can be a little frustrating at times when offers are not coming your way, stick with it and the offers that suit you more often than not come your way. I have a few mates our here playing both NCAA and NAIA and they are loving it out here so Firstpoint has worked for them as well as myself. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? Ten years from now, I would like to see myself as a high level DI college coach here in the US. I think that the set-up for college sports over here in unreal and exceptionally funded and supported so I donít want my association with it to end after I graduate in a year and a halfís time. Our thanks to Michael for answering our questions and we wish Pitt all the best for the remainder of their football season.
Pitt Soccer Star - Michael Tuohy!
6 min read
Michael Tuohy is currently living the dream playing college soccer for Pitt Panthers in the Atlantic Coast conference. Michael went through the FirstPointUSA process in 2010-11. He took some time out from his study and football to answers questions on his every day American life.