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Young Harris College Alumni Mikie Rowe Joins SMUSA

We are delighted to announce that Galway United forward Mikie Rowe has come on board as a senior scholarship consultant with SMUSA.

The Wexford-native began his career in Ireland with Waterford United, and after two seasons with the club, he joined Young Harris College in NCAA Division II.

The 24-year-old joined Tormenta FC after graduating and broke into the first-team. Rowe enjoyed a successful two seasons in USL League One before returning back to his native Ireland to sign for Galway.

With first-hand experience of the scholarship route, Rowe knows just how unique and life-changing the opportunity going to the US can be for people.

“Having been to the US, and been down the college scholarship route myself, the reasons I wanted to become a consultant afterwards was because it was the best experience of my life and it’s such a life changing experience on and off the field,” Rowe said.

“It was a pathway into professional football that I always wanted, and that was my main goal going over, but everything outside of that, like growing as a person, was huge.

“Leaving your comfort zone to go do something like that, you’re only going to grow as a person, and that was huge for me.

“The opportunities that it brings, whether it’s on the field, future coaching jobs, future jobs in football or this role as a consultant, which would’ve never happened if I didn’t go to the US.

“I wanted to become a consultant to give back. I want to use my knowledge to be able to give first hand advice to players. I really want to educate people on the route and hopefully give more young players the chance to go on and fulfil their potential in such a unique environment like that.”

Competing in the Peach Belt Conference, which sees teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida contest, Rowe played against some top opposition during his four years at college.

During his senior year with Young Harris, Rowe played all 19 games and scored 22 goals – his best season for the Mountain Lions, a feat which saw him pick up the ‘Male Athlete of the Year’ award.

Having enjoyed a hugely successful four years with Young Harris, studying for a degree and playing high level football, Rowe knows how big an opportunity this is for players in his home country.

Getting involved, and working alongside, director Stephen Murray was an easy decision for Rowe, who believes the company is the “most reputable” in Ireland.

Rowe added: “I’ve known Stephen for a couple of years now, and we had conversations about his company and his role with getting players across from Ireland to the States on scholarships.

“What struck me straight away was how passionate he is about this, that he really does feel strongly about giving back to a route he previously was on.

“I realised straight away that he is in this for the right reasons, and he’s wanting to go about it the right way.

“Straight away when I saw that, I saw myself potentially working with him in the future because I feel like I share that same passion for the American scholarship route, which I know doesn’t get enough credit.

“That’s what my initial thoughts were. Then we’ve had conversations over the last number of years and built a relationship, where thankfully he has asked me to come on board with him and I couldn’t be happier to do so.

“I feel, and this is so important, that we share the same values. The value of honesty, which is top of both of our lists, and he trusts that I share the same values as him and, most importantly, being in it for the right reasons.

“The fact that it’s not a numbers game, and there’s a personal connection to each and every player that we deal with is what makes Stephen the most reputable consultant in Ireland.

“I’m glad I could gain his trust over the last while and I couldn’t be happier to be on board because I feel like the values we’ve got, and with the goals we’ve got for the company going forward, I’ve no doubt we will be successful.”

Every year, players from the UK and Ireland make the life-changing journey across to the US to start their lives as a student-athlete at college.

The scholarship route is as popular now as it ever has been, nevertheless, Rowe believes it “doesn’t get enough credit” and he wants to “educate” people about the opportunities that this provides.

He said: "First and foremost, I want to educate people on the process and educate people on the opportunities the American scholarship route brings because I know for a fact that the route doesn’t get enough credit.

“In Ireland especially, there’s a massive gap between Under-19 and first-team football, whether that’s in the men’s game or women’s game.

“There’s a big gap there and so many players, so many talented young players, fall into that gap. They’re playing Under-19s, don’t quite make the grade at first team level and they slip through the cracks. Then all of a sudden that’s another talented player gone out of football.

“The American scholarship route really provides a perfect opportunity at that age, and it 100 per cent really saved my career, so essentially, my aim is to give people an opportunity.

“Some players will go over and become freshmen footballers, which is great. Other players will go over and when they’re done at college, they’ll become professionals in the coaching field or be involved in football in some way, and others will become professionals with the degree they obtain.

“For me, it’s about creating opportunities for players that may not even know it is an opportunity or a possibility.

“I already know, first hand, that it’s a life-changing experience, so I’m confident sending anyone over there because it’ll be the same for them.

“America is really a land of opportunity and players can dream as big as they want. If you go over on a four-year scholarship, that’s a long time and it’s a long time to really progress, whether that’s on the field or off the field.

“Anything is possible. Trust me though, the four years go by way too quickly. I’d give anything to live those four years playing as a student again because it is unbelievable and the best years of your life.”


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