We recently caught up with FirstPoint USA client, Gavin Long, one of the newest soccer players to join our ranks. Hailing from Coulsdon, Surrey, Gavin is a former pupil of John Fisher Secondary School and Leatherhead Football Academy. Here, Gavin tells us about his sporting background, his reasons for wishing to pursue a soccer scholarship in the US, and his future aspirations.
From a young age, Gavin has had a keen interest in soccer and began playing for his first club, Caterham Pumas Football Club, in 2003. Since then, Gavin has played for a number of different teams including; Crystal Palace, AFC Wimbledon, Aldershot Town FC U19, and – Gavin’s current club - Redhill FC First Team. Having played soccer for a number of years, Gavin has a number of achievements and honours under his belt; winning the Surrey County Youth League, Surrey County Plate, Surrey County Champions League, and the Surrey Cup in 2014/2015; promotion to The Ryman League 2014/2015; and Football Conference Youth Alliance Champions 2015/2016 and 2016/17. Individually, Gavin has also seen a number of successes throughout his player career, being named Players Player of the Year 2004, 2006, 2014/2015, and 2016/2017; Supporters Player of the Year 2005, 2007, and 2014/15; Trainer of the Year 2008; and Top Goal Scorer 2008 and 2016/2017.
With a number of successes throughout his soccer career so far, we asked Gavin to tell us about his favourite sporting memory to date. He stated...
“My greatest sporting experience has to be playing with Leatherhead U18’s. In the season of 2014/15 we won: Surrey County Youth League, Surrey County Plate, Surrey County Champions, and the Surrey Cup.
I was the youngest member of the squad, at 16, and I played a big part in our success. I was rewarded by my colleagues support and comradery. We achieved what no other team in the history of the club had done before, or since. The jewel in the crown was, at the end of the season, I was awarded Players Player of the Year and Supporters Player of the Year. I went on the be chosen for Leatherheads First Team.”
With regards to pursuing a sports scholarship in the USA, Gavin tells us that this is something he wanted to do because soccer has played such a huge part in his life to date. Adding, that after much consideration, he looked into American colleges and found that they offer not only a good standard of soccer, but also combine it with an education. Gavin states that, for him, this is a win, win situation. It will allow him to follow his passion of becoming a professional soccer player, but will also provide him with the safety net of having a good education.[caption id="attachment_12201" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Redhill FC - Gavin's current team.[/caption]
Upon becoming a student-athlete in the States, Gavin tells us that he is most looking forward to having the opportunity to showcase his soccer, as well as train and play at a competitive level on a regular basis. Gavin adds, “Having the help, advice and expertise of professional coaches would improve my game. The equipment and facilities available would enable me to become the best I can be, and help me on my journey to becoming a professional player.”
We asked Gavin to tell us about his top three sportspeople of all time...
“George Best – One of my sporting heroes and one of the greatest players of all time. He had a presence on the pitch and was a true athlete. He has the ability to beat players, create opportunities, and influence the game. He was the face of Manchester United. Unfortunately, I can only watch clips of George playing, but I greatly admire his skills and feel he was truly a footballing artist.
Katie Taylor – One of the greatest Irish female boxers of all time. The Golden Girl delivered Ireland’s first undisputed Olympic gold since 1922, then went on to win 18 gold medals for her country, She recently turned professional in 2016, and has already won the WBA Female Lightweight Champion. Katie is a beast inside the ring and a quiet, humble person outside the ring. Katie was a two-sport phenomenon; she represented the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Soccer team U17, U19, and Senior levels; but gave it all up to pursue a boxing career.[caption id="attachment_12203" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] Katie Taylor[/caption]
Paulo Dybala – Argentina/ Juventus player, Paulo Dybala, is a leader and has the determination of a winner. He plays with a fiery nature on the field, as well as his excellent competitiveness. Paulo is a quick, creative, agile player with excellent technical ability and is known for his dribbling skills. Paulo is capable of both creating chances for his teammates, as well as scoring goals. Winning three Seri A titles, two Coppa Italia, and one Suppercoppa Italiana – at only 24, Paulo has a long and bright future ahead."
We’d like to thank Gavin for catching up with us. We’ll keep you updated on Gavin's progress throughout the scholarship process across our various social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.