A Sowood footballer is looking to swop life in England for the chance to further his career in the United States
Eighteen year-old Daniel Stirland received multiple offers to take up a football scholarship across the pond before settling on Mount Olive College which is situated in North Carolina.
The scholarship was secured through Glasgow-based FirstPoint USA, the largest sports scholarhip conultants in the world who act as an intermediary between talents sports people and college coaches.
Stirland will take up his place this Autumn where he will also study for a degree alongside his footballing commitments.
“I think that this is going to be a great opportunity for me to pursue my footballing career, but also complete a degree course at University,” said Stirland, who began playing football as an eight year old with HAFC.
“Although it means moving away from everyone over here, I think it will effect me in a positive way because it will bring out a side to me which I don’t know yet and it will be a great way to gain experience of a different style of living.
“If I enjoy my time in the US then in the future I will be thinking about permanently moving there, however I will be coming back to the Uk after four to five years of studying at University there to spend some time back at home.”
Stirland, who is a student at Brooksbank School Sixth Form, collected plenty of honours at HAFC including player of the season and top goalscorer awards. From there he had a short spell at Blackburn Rovers before joining Brighouse Town’s under 19 side where he has been since the age of 16.
He first applied to FirstPoint USA in 2011 where he underwent had a trial assessment at the Lancashire County Football Ground in which he was the strongest candidate they had on the day.
From there Stirland had an interview at Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium where FirstPoint believed he had the potential to achieve success in America.
He then had to sit the American entrance SAT test where he obtained a very high score. That led to Stirland playing at a couple of client games at the London Soccerdome where all hoping to recieve a scholarship play competitive games against each other. These games were then reviewed by FirstPoint and the highlights for each player were edited and placed onto an online profile.
Stirland then took part in a Showcase game where approximately 50 US Soccer coaches flew over to atttend. However, Stirland’s game was unfortunately cut short by an injury which meant he was unable to play any further games for three to four months.
However, that did not dampen the US College’s interest in the teenager and after receioving a number of offders plumped for Mount Olive College.
“My family has been a great support throughout this process, and they think that this is going to be a great opportunity for me,” added Stirland. “Although it is going to be a sacrifice leaving things behind here I think in the long term it will be more than worth it.”