NEWS

Footballers’ goal is the American Dream

AMERICAN scouts have their sights set on five talented footballers from Warrington.

Priestley College took 17 members of its Football Academy to compete on Long Island in a tournament that attracted the attention of 250 university coaches.

Former Hope Academy pupil James Sigsworth has received two expressions of interest including one from the New York Institute of Technology.

It was well deserved for the 18-year-old who enrolled for a third year at Priestley so that he could benefit from the college’s new links to Soccer Scout USA.

“The facilities out there are like what you see at a Premiership club here in England,” said James, who plays semi-professional football for Atherton Collieries.

“For someone like me who wants a future in football it is a great opportunity.”

Priestley was the only British team taking part in the competition and won two of four matches in the tournament as well as a friendly 7-1.

Their achievements were even more impressive considering they had a much smaller squad than the American teams so players had little rest.

Priestley’s four girls joined the Gold Coast FC squad and Grace Nelson, who plays for Everton’s U23s, was as impressive in goal as she was out of it, saving four certain chances.

Five coaches expressed an interest in ‘signing’ Grace who is now considering the best step to take for her future in the sport.

If she heads to America, she will be a strong Division One player meaning the former Birchwood Community High School pupil will have the best training and academic opportunities available.

“I’ve got another year to think about it, but I can’t fault the experience I had out there,” she said.

“The stadiums are huge and I would make lots of friends out there. I am sure it would be an unbelievable experience.”

Other students to receive interest from the coaches were Joe Salter, Tom Jones and Jamie Smith. They all now have to decide if the overseas option is for them.

Sports Tutor Dan Jordan, whose links with Soccer Scout USA helped make the trip possible, said the life-changing experience had resulted in Priestley’s students making unforgettable memories and lifelong friends.

“There are still hurdles for them all to jump to secure a place, but this trip opened their eyes to the opportunities available to them beyond Warrington and the UK,” he said.

“More than that they had an incredible time and met some great people.”