An article in the June Link about applying to college in the USA to learn and play sport with a scholarship, below, resulted in several families contacting Nick Dodd for details.
Former Ridgeway School pupil and Swindon Town FC academy player Nick lives in Los Angeles where he coaches college and community soccer teams, and is involved with the LA Galaxy Academy.
Nick, pictured with British film hardman Vinnie Jones, is also a member of Vinnie’s Hollywood AllStars team.
Nick said: “I’ve had a handful of enquiries about applying for college sports scholarships and also working in the States. The competition for places is becoming tougher but if a young person has sport talent then applying to college here could be a positive move.
“It’s also worth thinking beyond college level education. Parents and children should consider the bigger opportunities at stake if coming to the USA is a plan. Networking is huge and studying in the US college system can lead to ample employment opportunities and, at times, visa sponsorship.
“Most large US businesses have overseas quarters, so, further travel opportunities arise – obviously for those who like the adventure.
“It really is ‘The Land of Opportunity.’ I have been able to set up a stable football school, www.facebook.com/123soccertraining, which now has about 60 players on the books and it’s still growing rapidly. Nobody in their right mind in England would pay for private football lessons because of our culture, but there is a huge market in America for it.
“Parents here see their children as future professionals, Olympians and beyond. The competitiveness is hardcore from the start. It is a nice environment to work in and I feel lucky to have started something to cater for that."
US sports scholarships could be the way forward
With the sky high prices of obtaining higher education in Britain, and chronic underfunding for young people with sporting talent, a former Swindon Town youth player living in California says that more parents and children should consider applying for sports scholarships in the USA.
Nick Dodd, 27, who lived in Shaw and attended Ridgeway School, is now based in Los Angeles, having secured a soccer scholarship in North Carolina under British coach Dave Sexton, son of the former Chelsea coach. After two years, playing in the Mid-Atlantic District for Junior Universities, when his team reached the national championship, he transferred to California State University at Fullerton.
“We played in the Big West Conference and travelled all over the US to play,” said Nick. “One of the perks for playing at CSUF was, during Spring season, we played against the Major League Soccer teams based in Los Angeles – Chivas USA and LA Galaxy, famous for David Beckham.
Nick graduated in 2010 with a BA in Communications, Public Relations and now plays semi-professionally and coaches the men’s team at Hope International University in Fullerton and is boys academy coach for Newport Mesa in Newport Beach. Recently he started working with the LA Galaxy youth academy.
He also rubs shoulders with film and TV personalities as a player with Vinnie Jones’ Hollywood All-Star Football Club.
Nick thinks playing sport in America should be considered by young people with ability. “You can’t underestimate the size of university level competition across all sports. Colleges here are on the look out for talented young people to strengthen their teams and boost their league positions. Winning a scholarship is a way to fund your education and continue to develop your sporting abilities.”
If this is a path you want to investigate Nick suggests:
• you and your parents start researching and planning early. Universities expect certain levels of academic ability even if you want to pursue a sporting career;
• check individual university web sites for academic programmes and levels of attainment required;
• build a strong educational/sports CV, including video footage of you playing/performing;
• contact the head coach at the university you’re interested in, and be persistent;
• complete the academic assessment SAT or ACT test; this can be taken at different locations in Britain;
• attend sports showcases held by colleges around the country.
Nick is willing to help with any questions parents and pupils have. Mail him at: email@example.com
Get an idea of what to expect in US higher education at: www.justlanded.com/english/USA/USA-Guide/Education/Higher-Education
• Some readers will know Nick’s older brother Richard who attended The Ridgeway School. He is also in California and lives in San Diego where he is a technical recruiter for Wireless Industries.
Right, Nick with Bradley Walsh