- Can you tell†us a bit about your sporting background pre-scholarship?
My past, I can imagine, is a bit different than a lot of other boys that have went off to America through FirstPoint
. I had played for my local team up until about 12 where I was signed by local professional team Raith Rovers F.C
. I was there for nearly two seasons before being released for my height and being one of the smallest in the team and they thought I wouldnít be able to compete with the other teams. After that I went back to the local leagues for the rest of my time up until now where I also represented the fife development team for a season.
- Were you happy with the College†offers you received and what made you choose West Virginia Tech?
I received 4 or 5 offers, all on the east of America, I never looked into the others in too much detail because I was planning on going across to do engineering and WVU Tech
was the only one of my offers that had engineering so it was really a no brainer that Tech was the school for me. Also, it was clear the football
level at Tech was†very high, as they had won the USCAA
nationals the two previous years.
- Whatís been the highlight of your first year in the States?
It is tough to pick one. There are two that stand out. Being on the road for a week to play games was a lot of fun and a great experience. We had a game right at the top of Maine, so on our way up we stopped and played a team in PA before playing the team in Maine then playing another two schools on the way back down (in PA and NY). We travelled over 3000 miles on a bus and passed through ten states. A week later we returned to Tech with 4 wins from 4. It was an extra bonus to score my first two goals for Tech on the trip, the first being on my debut.
The other stand out highlight was getting to the NAIA
nationals in our first season competing in the NAIA which made a bit of history for WVU Tech. Unfortunately we lost in the first round. We also got ranked up to #24 in the nation which was good considering it was our first season and other NAIA schools hadnít heard of us.
- What are the facilities like at West Virginia Tech?
The facilities at Tech are dated. It is an old school and our practice field and gymnasium is now getting a bit worn but in the Fall of 2017 WVU Tech are moving to a new campus in Beckley W.V. which will have much better facilities, especially for the soccer
teams, and the bigger campus will bring in a lot more students.
- How does the focus on college athletics compare in the US to the UK?
The difference is huge. I went to college in Scotland before transferring over and there was no athletic team at all. Whatever sports you did were in your own time and of your own interest. Even in high schools in the UK I donít feel like there is enough encouragement to play sports for your school or to keep active and fit. This difference is clear when you go over to the states and there is boys who having been working out and lifting weights since their early years in high school, the US athletes tend to be fitter and stronger than the Europeans and South Americans. Americans love their sports and always do as much as they can to support and encourage their teams whether its at professional or college level. Itís a great environment to be in.
- Have you had any opportunities or plans to make any money while in the US?(student/weekend jobs or coaching etc)?
At tech there are numerous jobs for students to do on campus to earn a little extra money. I havenít done any of these and I have came home this summer since it was my first year away to see friends and family.
Next year I plan to stay out in the states and play summer football. The summer leagues are a high level so itís great for experience, to meet new people, and to stay fit for going back into the fall semester. I will also try getting a part time job in the summer next year.
- How have you managed your time between studying/training/socializing?
Its hard! My free time is limited. Classes normally finish mid-afternoon, I would rest until about 4pm where we would go and have a light dinner before practice at 6pm. By the time practice finishes and getting back to halls I would go to the library for a few hours if I had any exams to revise for or homework due, which was most nights. Freshman students soon realize itís not just about playing your sport, if you donít have good enough grades you donít get to play! The colleges and universities make it clear that youíre a student-athlete, the student comes first.
Living on campus is great for socializing and meeting new people because people, most of whom are around your age so there is always stuff you have in common, always surround you.
- Would you recommend FirstPointUSA?
Absolutely. I had a great experience with them from start to finish and all the staff that I worked with were very helpful and professional. I think having your games filmed and highlighted for you and sent out to schools all over America by a company who is recognized all over the country is important and beneficial for anyone wanting to go out. FirstPointUSA always try to get you the best offer possible and are good at listening and understanding your own preferences.
FirstPointUSA was actually recommended to me by a friend who went out to America the year before me. (Michael Iskander @ Texas A&M International University
Play sport and while you work towards a degree, apply to FirstPointUSA today!