A little over five weeks ago I packed my bags alongside my dad ready for the experience of a lifetime. We headed to the USA, England and Sweden searching for the best pathway to achieve my dream of becoming a professional footballer and to establish connections that would benefit me and the students at IFTS.
After arriving in LA we made our way to UCLA. Never have I seen such a place in my life – the UCLA campus seemed like an entire city. Billy (head tennis coach) gladly showed us around the grounds (including the newly renovated basketball stadium which cost a whopping $160 million) and we finished the morning watching the UCLA men’s soccer team training before they jetted off to play Stanford.
Next was Loyola Marymount University, a much different but no less spectacular campus just on the outskirts of the city. We watched the men’s soccer team training session. A very strong side with very good players put on a brilliant session.
That night I joined in with LA FC Academy after Michael from LMU offered to have me in for a session. My first experience of football abroad and a good one at that.
Next we went to San Francisco and visited Stanford. Another giant campus where we were invited to watch the game against UCLA. One of the best football matches I have seen, which saw Stanford take home the PAC 12 championship.
We said goodbye to America and headed to the UK with a week’s trial at Sutton United Academy ahead. A very high standard was evident at Sutton, sessions were intense, challenging and great fun.
A further two days at Sutton went by and it was decided that I would extend my trial with the club for a further two weeks. During these two weeks I buckled down and trained hard, applying the skills and habits that were forged at IFTS.
The hard work has now paid off. I have been offered a position with the U21’s at Sutton United starting in January next year.
I would like to thank IFTS for the enormous role they have played in my development. The expertise and opportunity for improvement provided on a daily basis at IFTS has made me the player and person I am today. Without IFTS I would not be in the position I am in now. Words cannot begin to express the level of gratitude I have for everyone at school. I am proof that if you use your time wisely, work everyday and dream big, anything is possible. I am a product of IFTS. However, it is only the beginning for me. A long path lies ahead and I will do everything to make this dream happen.
I thank my family, friends and IFTS for making this trip possible. I hope the entire IFTS family is enjoying the final weeks of term and getting into the holiday spirit. Wishing everyone well.