Congratulations to soccer player and FirstPoint USA client, Ben Andoh, who has recently committed to a soccer scholarship at the University of Rio Grande, Ohio. We caught up with Ben and he shared with us his experiences from throughout the process of obtaining a scholarship and what he is looking forward to upon heading out to the states.
Ben has always been a keen soccer player, but notes that if he had wished to pursue his soccer career further on home soil, he would have had to leave school for full-time training at the age of 16/17. However, Ben states that this would ultimately force you into one career route, and since his parents have always emphasised the importance of an education, Ben felt that this was not an option. Attending a university in the states though, will provide Ben with the opportunity to pursue both his academic and soccer career which, he tells us, seemed like the perfect option for himself.
Regarding the process of obtaining his soccer scholarship through FirstPoint USA, Ben stated…
“I was a bit sceptic at first as I didn’t really know everything that was involved, but at the FirstPoint trial literally everything was explained fully to my parents. There was around a half-hour presentation that showed what each stage of the process would involve. I was lucky enough to meet John-Paul (the Operations Manager) who I could go to if I had any problems; he explained any confusions and handled problems very well. My favourite part of the process was definitely playing all the client games. I met a lot of different lads, and some of us still speak to each other today to see how each other are getting on. You definitely make friends for life through the process.”
It can be difficult to decide which school you wish to attend in the US. Ben tells us that at the FirstPoint USA Client Showcase, he met Joshua Gray, the assistant coach of the Rio Grande soccer team, who was very keen to get Ben on-board. Ben states that at the Showcase, there were other coaches interesting in talking with him, however he was very impressed with how informative Joshua was in telling him about the school. The coach told Ben to do some research on Rio Grande and to be in touch when he arrived back home. Ben stated, “I was astounded to find out that they (Rio Grande) were the 2015 National Champions and 2016 Runners-Up; meaning they are #2 NAIA rated in the nation.” This proved to be a massive contributing factor for Ben in deciding to attend the university. However, he adds that the school also has great facilities with more pitches and buildings due to be constructed soon. Ben states that there is a lot of different nationalities in the roster, which makes for a very diverse team.
Upon moving out to the states, Ben tells us that he is looking forward to soaking up an entirely new culture and learning new things from different people. Adding, “I’m also looking forward to starting university life, as it’s important to remember the reason I’m there. My mentality is that you’re a student first and an athlete second.”
Finally, we asked Ben where he sees himself being in 10 years time. He states that he would love to be playing in the MLS. Despite there being a lot of competition within this route, Ben tells us that getting drafted would make his parents very proud. However, Ben adds that having completed a soccer scholarship, he will also have a degree behind him so this will also provide him with the option of working somewhere within the business world should he need another option.
We would like to wish Ben the best of luck at Rio Grande and we will keep you updated on his progress though our various social media platforms.