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Five Reasons the Scholarship Route Is for You

In this brand new feature, SMUSA are going to give you five key reasons why the scholarship route should be the one you decide to follow.

The scholarship pathway is an opportunity like no other, and one that can open up a world of endless opportunities for players that make the decision to go to college.

Whether that’s going on to play professionally after you graduate, competing in the summer leagues or even stepping away from the game and using your degree after you graduate, the opportunities are worlds apart from back home.

Being around a professional playing environment every day is like nothing you can experience anywhere else in the world – especially when you’re also studying for a degree at the same time.

Many players from the UK and Ireland have gone down the route over the years, and have gone on to not only thrive in this environment, but also grow more than they could have ever imagined as a person after going outside of their comfort zone.

In this article, we sat down with senior scholarship consultant Mikie Rowe – who spent four years playing at Young Harris College – and looked at the five reasons why he believes the scholarship route is the one for you.


1. Professional Playing Environment


We will start with an easy one, you’re playing in a professional playing environment in college. The fact that it’s full-time football and you’re training and playing in magnificent facilities, all the resources are in place for you to essentially become a better player.

The facilities in the States are one of the biggest reasons why people go over there, in terms of the pitches, the gyms and you’ve got excellent coaching staff. Everything over there is in place for you to thrive and succeed with being in a full-time environment.

The chance to train and play at these brilliant facilities and become a better footballer is a major reason why the scholarship route is one players in the UK and Ireland go down each year.

Back home in Ireland, the opportunity to play in that full-time environment and also study for a degree at university isn’t available, so looking at going to the U.S. on a scholarship should be one of your options.


2. Flexible Education System

The fact you can pick your own structure is huge. You can pick your own classes and your own professors. The times of the classes is huge and a massive difference compared to back home.

You do a lot of general education over the first two years, and it’s not until the end of the second year when you choose your degree. That’s really good and it gives you time to really zone in and be specific on what you want to do.

It gives you time decide for what you want to do, and allows you to explore a lot of different areas in terms of what you want to do with your degree.

I felt the education system was a lot more friendly to students in terms of continuous assessment, personal relationships with your professors, and overall, the American education system in college is set up for the student to be successful. That’s another big reason why the scholarship route should be considered.

3. Life Experiences

In terms of the life experiences that you’re going to get in America, it’s hard to explain it without you really seeing it, but there’s different holidays like Spring Break and Thanksgiving.. You’ll get these experiences that you just won’t get in Ireland.

You can go to different places for Spring Break like Miami, Orlando and Los Angeles, these are the most popular places. Then for Thanksgiving, going to an American family and celebrating that with them is one of the most special and unique experiences. You really get that American experience of a Thanksgiving that you would only see on the television if you aren’t there.

Next, being on the road for games is huge. Some of the trips you will make are hours away, and sometimes you will go on a coach or if you’re at a bigger school, and the trip is really far or in the National Tournament, you could even fly there – and flying to away games is something you really don’t do in Ireland.


The places you will visit during your time playing is simply amazing. You will visit surrounding states, get the chance to play in front of big crowds and also have the chance to travel with your teammates.

Also, on the football side of things, you’ve got the chance to play in the National Tournament, going to play games in the likes of Florida or New York, for example, really are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Playing in big games, which are broadcasted on ESPN or other channels are something you do in college over there, and something you probably wouldn’t do here.

The whole experience really is magnified over in America. The saying ‘everything is bigger in the States’ is 100 per cent true and that comes down to everything, not just demographically, but also metaphorically too. Everything is magnified, from how big the games are to how big the schools are.


4. Cultural Diversity

For the players that go over to the States, they will go into a team where they will be playing with guys from all over the world.


You’re going to be playing with guys from America, Scandanavia, Europe, South America, Asia etc, so that is one of the best things you can possibly do because you get to see how other people think and also different styles of play from all around the world.

A player from Ireland or England isn’t going to play the same as someone from Brazil or Scandanavia for example. The cultural diversity is huge. Then, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your teammates and understand how culturally different other places in the world are.

That is something that is big and is something that not many people realise before going over to America. Spending every day around these guys, so many people from different backgrounds, really does bring you on as a person and allow you to grow.

5. Personal Growth Opportunities

This is probably the biggest reason to go down the scholarship route, and probably one that you don’t think is going to happen until it actually happens. When you go over, a lot of players go over when they’re young and may not have lived on their own, done their own washing or cooked their own food and looked after themselves like that before.

When you do go over, you really do grow up and the personal growth, honestly, is probably more important than the football or the academic side of things. You’re in an environment where there’s a lot of like-minded people, who want to get better on and off the field.

The amount of personal growth that happens for players over in America really is crazy. Essentially, you’ll go over as a kid and come back as an adult. That’s the best way to put it and that is one of the big reasons why people should consider going down the scholarship route.


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