NEW STAFF: Former All Region and All Conference Goalkeeper, James White joins SRUSA.
We are delighted to announce that former standout goalkeeper James White has joined SRUSA as a new soccer consultant.
James had a standout student athlete career in the Sunshine State Conference with St Leo University in Tampa and we caught up with him this week so he could explain a bit more about his background and exactly what it means to be working at SRUSA.
- Would you mind giving us a bit of background about your time in America. Where you were? Any standout memories etc?
I moved to Tampa, Florida in 2015 to study at Saint Leo University on a football
scholarship. I made this decision following my release from Southampton Football
Club. After spending a year on trials in the U.K. and evaluating my options I decided
that the U.S. scholarship route was for me.
My best memories came on the pitch came in my freshman year. Moving out to the
U.S. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of level of competition and quality of
football but I was pleasantly surprised. Each week we were playing against an
opponent where the result could go either way, the playing level was very
competitive which made it a perfect environment to develop as a player.
In my freshman year we won the conference regular season title, made the final of
the conference tournament, and had an NCAA Tournament appearance. I amassed some individual accolades on the pitch in my freshman year:
- Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of The Week X3.
- All-South Region Second Team Selection.
- Sunshine State Conference All-Tournament Team Selection.
- Sunshine State Conference All-SSC Second Team Selection.
- No.1 Ranked GK In The Sunshine State Conference for Goals Against
Average, Total Saves and Save Percentage.
- Freshman Athlete of The Year Nominee.
Off the pitch there are so many memories, I could write a college level essay if I
really wanted too. To summarise quickly, the friends you make and the social
experience of being on campus with thousands of other students and athletes from
other sports is hard to replicate elsewhere. There is always something to do or
somewhere to go and I got to meet people and make friends from all over the world
which was brilliant.
- Any advice you would give to players that are thinking about this route?
Do not hesitate to take this route if it’s something you’re even remotely interested in.
You can always move back to your home country if it does not work out, but your
college soccer playing days are quite literally on a timer. Do not miss out on the
opportunity by hesitating! You will have the time of your life on and off the pitch.
- Is there any advice that you would give to players that are currently in America who are student athletes?
It’s a cliché comment but there’s a reason people say it all the time… make the most of it. Really appreciate your time in the college environment because it goes by VERY quickly. Speaking from experience you will one day look back and wish you
could do it all over again! Make sure you enjoy it whilst you have the chance.
- What excites you most about your new role at SRUSA?
I’m really looking forward to helping players find the right fit for them and start their
college soccer careers. As I’ve mentioned it’s an unbelievable life experience that I’m very fond of, so to help others experience that is exciting.
- What was the life experience like as a student athlete in America?
It’s intense but exciting, we would train four days a week during the season and often play twice a week. I would say the schedule is very similar to that of the English
Football League (Championship, League 1, League 2). From an athletic perspective
you are treated like a professional.
We were regularly in the gym before or after training and then of course would have
class schedules that we would attend. There was always time for socialising and
there are so many things to do, whether that be support other teams on campus or
venture off campus which is especially good if you live near a bigger city.
On campus the student athletes are supported well by everyone at the university, the professors and other students are always keen to discuss your most recent game
and the games will usually get good crowds supporting the team. Games are also
televised or streamed online so that people can watch from anywhere in the world.
- How did life in America prepare you after college?
I think the biggest thing I learnt from moving to America was to be able to live on my own, away from my usual support network. This helped me mature very quickly and even though my family and friends were only a facetime away I had to go about my life with a lot of self-ownership at an early age which was excellent.
I also feel as though the hectic schedule helped me learn to manage my time well and make sure I was organised enough to complete all my tasks both on and off the pitch for the day/week which is a transferrable skill into adult life.
We are very excited about having James with us at SRUSA and his knowledge and experience as a student athlete will be invaluable for our players.
James will be working with our male and female players so if you have any questions or would like any further information, please don't hesitate to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.