After almost 6 months at Middlesborough FC, the burden of making the 70-mile round trip was taking it's toll economically (due to still living in Newcastle). In the end, it became unsustainable and there was a mutual decision to part ways. I was left to the opportunities back home and I intended to make the most of it.
High school regional championships
In my high school career with SSCS (South Shields Community School), we managed to finish the season unbeaten in the league and booked ourselves in the regional tournament in the South Tyneside Cup. We made headlines in the North East of England when we won the cup in intense fashion securing a 3-2 victory. I managed to contribute a vital goal and assist in the final for the first silverware in the high-school history.
AC Milan Academy Course
After the 2014/15 season my coach at the time referred myself and another player to an event held at Sunderland AFC's academy being held from ex players and coaches from AC Milan. 5 players from the event would later be flown to Italy to participate in a tournament against other nations. After months of hard work I managed to make the plane for the tournament in late 2015 all expenses and travel paid.
Italy International Tournament
In late 2015 I was flown over to Italy with 4 other players from Sunderland and made the squad for the England contingent from the Milan tournament. We had games against Columbia, Singapore, and the United States. Being one of 30 English players I only managed one full game against the Columbia contingent where we won the semi-final 1-0, I scored the only goal with a right-footed long-distance volley.
The United States route
Having come so far in the game after having a handful of opportunities. I decided to research into the United States and the programmes offered. The college system in the US with the academic and professional opportunities intrigued me and I began looking for a company to make it a reality.
Preparation for US move
Having seen the standard of US soccer, (especially the physical side) I focused on becoming more athletic and stronger in preparation for my move to the United States. I have made substantial progress and have increased my weight from 110lbs to just over 150lbs, with added muscle and endurance.
NJCAA D1 Regional Champions
After weighing up all my options I decided to start my athletic college career with current NJCAA Division 1 Regional Champions Arizona Western. I traveled to Yuma for pre-season and got to work straight away. A couple weeks later due to food poisoning and the extreme 115-degree heat, I missed key sessions and lost crucial momentum, I made a decision to return back to the UK.
From 2019 onwards I focused heavily on attaining as many as the English FA football qualifications as possible. I made substantial progress, often at times travelling around the country to speed up the process and finished 2019 with a Level 2 in Football Coaching (UEFA C license), a Level 2 in Goalkeeper Coaching (UEFA C license), Level 2 in Talent Identification, Level 3 in First Aid amongst other qualifications. I hope to further achieve a UEFA B license in 2020 and beyond in both Goalkeeper Coaching and Coaching.
Student Athlete for Sussex Community College in New Jersey.