South Shields FC Academy defender Noah Farrington recently made the commitment to join Felician University in Rutherford, New Jersey.
The teenager is to move to the States at the start of the new academic year after completing a two-year programme in the Mariners' Academy.
We spoke to Noah after he made the decision to move across the pond…
How did you first get involved with heading over to the States to join Felician University?
I first got involved in going over there in about July last year with an agency called SRUSA, who helped attract scholarship offers (such as Felician), but I’d been contemplating the idea for a year or two prior to that. It was once I came into the Academy that I started working towards going to university over there.
How much are you looking forward to the challenge of playing over in the US?
I’m really looking forward to it. I signed my national letter of intent a couple of months ago to commit to Felician University and have been working really hard both in the gym and on the training pitch to best prepare myself for the challenge over there. I can’t wait to see New York City and potentially other places in America too, as well as the academic and football sides of things.
You're not the first young Mariner to head stateside, with Joe Lockey currently over at Aquinas. Do you think it is a good pathway into the adult game after Academy football?
I think America is a really good pathway for people to better themselves on and off the pitch. I've spoken to Joe a couple of times when he has been back to train over the Christmas period, and he is loving it. The football at university level over there is huge compared to here, and combined with the degree you gain at the end of the four years, it was a no brainer for me. Their main goal is to try to turn you into a professional athlete, but to have a back-up of a really good degree is ideal.
How do you think your time within the Shields Academy has prepared you for this next step in your football career?
I’ve developed massively during my time at South Shields. Physically, I feel stronger and fitter and my technical ability is a lot better than when I first came in. The coaches have always been top drawer and have helped me achieve this opportunity.