It’s a long way from Coatbridge to South Carolina … that’s the uncommon path taken by Ciaran Traquair, thanks to FirstPoint USA, and it’s proven such a success that he’s now a US citizen.
FirstPoint USA spoke to Ciaran to find out more.
FP: Firstly, when did you leave Coatbridge for America? And how old were you?
CT: I left home in Coatbridge in August 2003. I was 17 years old and had just finished up with my sixth year of school at St Ambrose High school.
FP: Had you played football (or soccer!) at any level in Scotland before you left? If yes, what teams had you played for?
CT: I was involved in football at the amateur club level for the majority of my youth career. I was also involved with the St Ambrose school senior team during fifth and sixth year. We were national runners up in the senior shield in 2002, and again in 2003. The last few months prior to coming to the States, I ended up playing at Greenock Morton.
FP: What made you want to move to America originally?
CT: I knew there was more opportunity out there and I had the desire to chase something different. Playing was a big part of it, I wanted better coaching, more resources, and a chance to continue to develop my game with better players. I also wanted to put myself out there to experience something different and have the opportunity to test myself as a person in a different culture. Dealing with homesickness, pressure to manage a degree and to take on an influential role on the team were great challenges that I needed in my life.
FP: What level are you coaching at, and is coaching something that has always interested you?
CT: I currently coach at The Citadel, a NCAA 1 women’s program located in Charleston, SC. I have been fortunate to have head coaching positions in NCAA 3,2 and 1 at this early stage of my career and really feel at home at The Citadel. It is a pleasure to represent an institution that has such rich history and traditions. The location, people and the challenges make this a fantastic place to coach.
I started doing coaching in the community work with the Scottish FA at 16 (years old) and knew that coaching was a potential career pathway after playing and getting a degree. My first real start was a graduate assistant at Shorter University. In that role I was able to coach and getting a Masters’ degree in business. From there I was lucky to work with some great people who helped me advance in the coaching pathway and assisted in getting me my licenses.
FP: How long have you been with Citadel? What are your aims while working with the team?
CT: I’ve been at The Citadel since February 2016. I came here with the ambition to take the programme to greater heights than it has even reached. We would like to compete for conference championships and one day take the programme to the NCAA tournament. We are still very much a developing programme so our immediate goals are always based on gradual improvement year to year. I am hopeful that 2020 will be a big year and one that we can finish higher up in the conference than in the previous 20 years.
Personally, I just want to challenge myself and continue to adapt to the new challenges that we are presented with on and off the park. I would like to one day become the winningest coach in programme history and help our players receive individual recognition at a level not seen before here. If we can move players onto the professional level, that would be the icing on the cake.
FP: Finally, you must be delighted to get your citizenship?
CT: It was a special moment to become a citizen of the USA. I have a wife and two children here and expect this great journey to continue for the foreseeable future. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do for a living and hope I can continue to help others follow in the same path.