Football ace heads to US

An 18-year old Limavady student has secured an exciting four-year soccer scholarship with Division 1 college, California State University.

Eamon McLaughlin, a student at Northern Regional College, will jet off in July to the sunnier climes of Bakersfield, California, to play college soccer whilst studying International Business with a full scholarship which covers the costs of his tuition, accommodation, food and sporting gear.

California State was not the only university to offer Eamon the opportunity of a lifetime - he received numerous offers from other regions including New York and Texas, as well as other Californian institutions.

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Eamon said: “Northern Regional College have not only pushed me to achieve in terms of my football career, but the staff here have really helped me excel academically too, and that’s been so important because to secure a place with California State it wasn’t enough to just prove I have what it takes on the football pitch - I had to meet their tough academic credentials too.”

Eamon is currently in his third year of a Level 3 BTEC in Sports and Exercise Science at Northern Regional College.

His studies at the college gave him the opportunity to take his training to the next level through video analysis and GPS tracking of his performance.

Following stints with Ballymena United, Crusaders and Glentoran, Eamon played in international tournaments such as the Copa Costa Brava with Northern Regional College and was scouted while playing for the College in the College & Universities Football League.

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The teenager’s performances for Northern Regional College helped gain him a contract with Soccer Chance USA (SCUSA), one of the world’s leading providers of soccer scholarships to USA.

Eamon worked closely with SCUSA National Scout Connor McCullough to help negotiate a full scholarship to one of the top Division 1 schools in the state of California.

Gregory McGovern, Course Co-ordinator for Level 3 Sports and Exercise Science at Northern Regional College, who works closely with Eamon both on the pitch and off, says that the young man’s success is testament to the opportunities the college can offer students.

“This is an incredible achievement for Eamon, who is not only a very talented player, but works incredibly hard to continuously improve and push himself to be the very best player he can be,” Gregory said.

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He added: “At the college we pride ourselves on the support and commitment we show to our students inside and outside the classroom.

“Even entering the competitions in the first place is a big time and financial commitment, but – as Eamon and other students have shown – the more your put in, the greater the outcome.

“When talent, hard work, staff expertise and excellent college resources come together, that’s a winning combination.”