LIVING the dream as a footballer in the States, former Cork City player Megan Sheehan is loving life as she’s half way through her first year in Florida.
The Macroom native began a four year scholarship last summer in Daytona State college and although currently at home for the Christmas break, Sheehan admits she is eager to return such is her love for the States.
“Playing in the US was always something that I longed to do and to get the opportunity to go over just after the leaving cert was a dream come through, and I am absolutely loving it ever since,” said Sheehan.
“I left for the states at the end of July which gave me a couple of days to settle in before pre season started.
"I am living in Daytona Beach in Florida with four room mates which is great craic.
"The scholarship with this team is a two year lasting scholarship, and when those two years are up I hope to move onto a new college playing in a higher division, preferably in Florida.
“So far my time at DSC has been amazing.
"It has been everything I have imagined and more.
"I play as a central midfielder, usually as a number 10 position but towards the end of the season I played more as an eight.
"I started almost every game and was really happy about the amount of game time I was getting, especially as I am playing with a lot of other really talented midfielders.
"We didn’t have a great year on the pitch but I still have developed hugely as a player and a person.”
Living in the States isn’t as straight forward as it seems though and for Sheehan money can be a huge issue.
She was offered a scholarship of 40,000, however, there’s only so far that will take her.
And because they're not allowed find employment outside of the college, this proved to have been a financial struggle at times for many players.
“As an international student, I was offered a scholarship worth $40,000.
"This covered me for tuition, housing, food, books and the soccer gear we got.
"I had to pay for my own flight to get there along with a fee at the beginning of the year that you get back at the end.
"I have since needed a lot of money to survive over as we were not allowed to work and therefore I have had to rely on my parents, but my dad has told me now I need to get a job if I am going to have a proper life over there, as I am also trying to start driving.
"I am able to work in the college but not outside of it at the moment because of my visa, but I hope to get a job there soon.
“Been away from home if I’m been honest has not been difficult because I am having so much fun there.
"We are always busy so none of us have time to be homesick, which I like. I settled in really fast and I think this is because of the girls I play and live with.
"They made me feel very comfortable right away and we all quickly became very close.
"Living, playing and attending school with them has been great and I am happy to call those girls my life long friends.
“Living without my mam has been a challenge though.
"At home in Ireland every thing was done for me.
"My clothes were washed, dried and put away for me.
"My bed was always made for me and I didn't ever have to cook myself.
"But living in college is a lot different. I have to cook, wash and clean every day.
"At the start, I hated having to do it but I quickly adapted and it comes as second nature to me now.
"My mam is delighted to have heard that and she definitely uses that to her advantage with me now being home for the Christmas break.
“I am extremely excited to return to Daytona though.
"I can definitely see myself staying in the states long term.
"I believe that it suits some people and it doesn't suit others, and I am lucky that I have loved it so far.
"I hope to complete my four years of college there and I am also hoping to end up playing professionally.
"I have to keep working hard every day, but when it's something you love doing, it comes easy and having goals set and knowing what you want make you a lot more motivated and determined.
“I am happy to be home for Christmas, it is nice to see all of my family and friends after the six months of being away.
"Going into the new year I have to keep on top of my training because when I return to Daytona, we will be right into our preseason for spring, also along with fitness testing right away.
"I return to Daytona in the middle of January which I am very excited about.
"I do hope to stay in the states and play there as opposed to playing with Cork City because I am really enjoying everything about living in Florida and I want to keep living the dream here and continue to make my friends and family proud, especially my parents.”