Kent footballers pursuing American Dream

By Joe Barnbrook

Three teenagers from Kent are among hundreds of youngsters moving to America from England, in the hope of becoming a professional footballer.

The opportunity to achieve a degree whilst pursuing a career in the sport, as well as the lure of elite facilities, quality coaching and sunny weather has seen many aspiring footballers jump across the pond.

Matt Lock, Lucas Hart and Sidney Warden all grew up playing football in Kent before leaving home for the US. I spoke to each of them about their experiences so far as a college athlete.

Matt, a versatile 18-year-old midfielder from West Malling, is currently studying at Campbell University in North Carolina and feels that the offer of a high-level education was a major attraction.

He said: “I moved to the US to chase my dream of becoming a professional footballer, but I also want to have a back-up if that doesn’t work out.

“I’ve got the opportunity to graduate with a top degree and stay in America financially stable, hopefully with a career in football”.

Lucas, a talented 19-year-old from Bexley, is equally glad to have moved to the US, speaking highly of the facilities offered at the University of West Alabama.

The young midfielder said: “The facilities are world class. We have a 7000-capacity stadium, access to swimming pools and gyms, as well as an athletic training department to deal with injuries. I’ve loved my first few months in the States.”

Sidney is studying finance at the Francis Marion in South Carolina, and sees similarities between American college football and life as a professional in England.

The 19-year-old forward said: “There are definitely some similar similarities. We train every day and receive top quality coaching. I think this is the best environment for me to achieve the goals that I have set myself.

“I’ve had a great first season out here and I can’t wait for the next one to get underway!”

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