Life At Louisville - Ayeisha McFerran

6 min read
  1. Can you tell us a bit about your sporting background pre-scholarship?
Before I got my scholarship to America, I had a pretty busy sporting life. I had represented Ireland at all age groups from U16 up to national level. I had 2 years playing for Ulster and Ireland U16 and U18s, winning various Interprovincial with Ulster at both age groups. I was fortunate enough to get my first senior cap and now in the squad with 40 caps and last year competed in World League 2 and 3 which is our Olympic qualifiers. As well as hockey, I also play a lot of other sports when I was younger but my main ones would be Athletics where I was an All-Ireland Intermediate javelin champion and football.
  1. What originally made you chooseFirstPoint USAand are you glad you did?
I initially chose to go through firstpoint USA because I was interested in going to America, but knew nothing about it because I was so young, so I applied to find out more information, which I got and was so much help. When I went over for my assessment day I found out a lot of information which I never would have thought of and really help me to see what I had to do.
  1. Were you happy with the offers you received and what made you choose? Louisvillein Kentucky?
The offering process was long for me, because I wasnt set on making up my mind on where I wanted to go. Initially I agreed to go to another school because I went and visited the university and thought it was really cool. However when I got home and thought about it, I felt it wasnt for myself and took a year out after school, and thats when the coach from Louisville got in contact with me. Ive heard so many good things about Louisville from girls that have played against them about their facilities. Also it helped that the coaches were of high calibre with the assistant coach Lucas having previously coached in Ireland, and the head coach being from Australia and was a goalkeeper pretty much sold me. Also UofL is in the ACC which is the strongest conference for field hockey, so I knew I wanted to head to that conference.
  1. Whats been the highlight of your first year in the States?
My first year in the states has been filled with so many memories, some good and bad. I would have to narrow it down to 2; the first being when the whole team went to out head coaches house to watch the NCAA field hockey bracket being released and realising that we made the tournament for the second straight year. That was a pretty sweet moment. The second best thing would be when my coach called myself to tell me that I got All-American honours which is pretty cool as a freshman and I was the first freshman to get that honour. I definitely wouldnt have achieved that with the rest of my team though!
  1. What are the facilities like atLouisville?
The facilities in Louisville are hands down the best that I have ever saw. We are very fortunate there to have a really good athletic director who sees that female sports are equal to men. Our stadium and locker room are the best in the country, as well as our gym where we work out. The equipment and training gear we get is all top quality and is Adidas which is my favourite brand. As well as the facilities we have so many resources at our finger tips as well. Initially starting with the coaches who are willing to work with you on anything related to hockey outside of training, to the strength and conditioning coaches. We also have nutritionists, sports psychologists, athletic trainers to keep us training at a professional standard. Outside of sports we also have so much academic support from tutors to advisor's any time we need them which is a huge help!
  1. How does the focus on college athletics compare in the US to the UK?
I feel that the US system is built around college athletics. We are treated like professional athletes 24/7 and have so much support there with them willing to help us get better no matter what it is. Compared to in the UK where you have to do mostly everything yourself. Academics is still a very important part of the US system because without academics there is no college sports, but everything there regarding sports is taken to a whole other level. Even the minor sports like field hockey out there
  1. Have you had any opportunities or plans to make any money while in the US ?(student/weekend jobs or coaching etc)?
I was lucky enough to be able to get involved with a hockey club out there to do some coaching with the goalkeepers throughout the week. It was pretty flexible and there were 4 different days throughout the week I could coach, depending on how much money I wanted to make. So that was handy to have.
  1. How have you managed your time between studying/training/socializing?
Between studying and training there wouldn't be a lot of time left over, especially because between those two you may have to fit in extra workouts, or meetings with the coaches or academic advisor's. In my dorm however, all the athletes lived in it, so any time you were at home you would always see people about and a lot of the time when the weather was nice everyone would chill outside in the court yard or study there which meant you were meeting new people all the time. 9. What advice would you have for anyone considering a sports scholarship? To anyone looking for a sports scholarship, definitely do your homework on possible schools you would want to attend, what it may cost to attend there or what the coaches are offering you. Also starting looking early and have good video evidence of yourself playing to send to the coaches the impress them. The more time you have chatting to coaching, the better chance of developing a relationship with them which will help when coming to ask for things.
  1. Would you recommendFirstPoint USA?
If youre interested in going to the states but have no clue about any of it, then I would definitely recommend First point. They helped me straight away and were so quick at getting back to me with any information I asked about.

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