FirstPoint USA are set to team up with English Premier League giants Arsenal in a new collaboration that will see the world’s leading sports scholarship agency support the club’s academy players with advice and guidance on the US college soccer pathway.
Expanding their already comprehensive player care provision, Arsenal will work alongside FirstPoint USA to provide support to young players who are considering their options for life beyond the Academy, with the US becoming an increasingly popular destination for players seeking to combine full-time education with a high level of football, should a professional contract not be on offer.
Established in 2001 by University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer Andrew Kean, FirstPoint USA support aspiring sportsmen and women across 18 different sports through opportunities to attain scholarships at their extensive network of universities and college in the States. The company already works with the likes of Fulham, QPR and Philadelphia Union – the No.1 ranked academy in the MLS – helping to place professional academy footballers with some of the top college soccer programs in the country, including Stanford, Wake Forrest and Penn State.
“Arsenal have an incredible track record at developing young players with many progressing onto the first team or other clubs. We are aware however that a high percentage of Academy players at the top clubs unfortunately won’t make that progression, and our role is to provide support with another pathway option.” said Kean.
“Playing college soccer in the States provides players with the best of both worlds, allowing them to continue playing at a very high level, while having a degree to fall back on. We’ve had players who have gone on to successful professional careers, while others have made the transition away from football into successful careers off the pitch, whether going into business or a different path relevant to their subject of study.”
FirstPoint, who are headquartered in Glasgow but operate all over the world, have worked with more than 30,000 student-athletes, securing in excess of $300m worth of scholarship funding, partnering with other clubs and governing bodies, including League Football Education and the PFAs of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Matt Henley, Head of Education at Arsenal, added: “We want all players coming through the Academy to succeed at the highest level, but the fine margins dictate that a significant proportion won’t get the opportunity to play professional football at the level they aspire to. We need to prepare players for life beyond Arsenal, and the US is becoming an increasingly attractive option, with a high standard of football, incredible facilities and world class education.
“We’ve seen many players in the women’s game return from college soccer in the USA and go onto have fantastic careers at the highest level, and FirstPoint have great insights into the different opportunities that their football clients have progressed onto. We are keen to ensure any player making the transition is in good hands, and with FirstPoint’s experience and expertise, they can deliver an excellent service to those players who are considering the US as an option.”