AFTER a frustrating season with Cork City Women’s seniors, Macroom native Megan Sheehan is ready to put that behind her as she is set to leave for the United States for a two-year scholarship in Daytona State College in Florida.
Having made the jump from U17 to seniors last season with City, it proved to be a much tougher task than what the 18-year-old expected but nonetheless, she has learned a lot and now she is ready to take on her next challenge of pursuing her studies in the States while playing the game she loves.
The former Lakewood player fell in love with the game from an early age and after a few years playing with Kilmichael boys, she made the move to the women’s game when she joined Ovens side Lakewood. Here she matured as a player, achieving success along the way before making the move to National League with Cork City 17s.
The season with City 17s was a great year for Sheehan as she played a pivotal role in midfield alongside Jesse Mendez, Reena Crowley and Chloe Hayes.
And from her performances throughout the year playing in every game, starting the majority of them, she was brought to the attention of senior manager Ronan Collins. Breaking into the senior team was always an aim of Sheehan’s and here she tells us about life since making the step up.
“At under 17 level, I played every match and started most of them,” said Sheehan. During my time with the 17s, I was very lucky to get the opportunity to sign with the senior team, which is something I have always wanted to do. I loved playing for the senior team because I was coached by an excellent staff who I learned lots of things from.
“This season with the seniors I have only started in two games so far and I haven’t gotten as much time as I would have liked to. I do find it frustrating because I feel that I work hard at training and I was so used to playing all the time from U17 level.
“I also understand that the standard is extremely high and I am still young so I used it as a season to develop and adapt to the player I need to be to be able for the standard. Hopefully in the future, if I return to City, I will be a better player and will receive more game time. But for now, I will keep listening to my coaches and keep working hard to become a better player.
“I understand there are players on the squad who are older and a lot more experienced than me. But that’s what motivates me to keep improving, I watch those players play matches and train and I get to learn things from them which I can then bring into my game.
“I know one of the downfalls of my game is that I hold onto the ball a bit longer than I should do. This is something I have been working on and I know it will come with more experience and although I have only two games left with City in which I hope to feature in, my main focus now is on my move to the States.”
Having just completed her leaving cert, Sheehan will head to Daytona State College in Florida where ex-Cork City player Michelle O’Driscoll also plies her trade, Sheehan has been keen on this move for the past number of years.
“Since first year in school, moving abroad to play soccer was a dream for me. I had seen boys from Macroom do it but at the time I didn’t think it was possible for girls. But I kept looking for things and in fifth year I found out that Michelle O’Driscoll, a girl I recently played with received a full scholarship to Daytona State in Florida. When I heard this I was amazed and I found out loads of information from here on how she got it.
“So with her help, I went through the same agency, PASS4SOCCER who helped her to get her scholarship. So after a trial in Waterford which followed up with me sending on video clips of myself playing, I was granted the scholarship. Although a few different colleges were interested, I chose Daytona because I was familiar with the college and they impressed me with their soccer and academic programmes so it definitely appealed to me.
“When I go over, I will be studying physiotherapy. Physiotherapy was always a career that I wanted to go into and to have the opportunity to study it in America while always playing soccer is class. Since I started secondary school, I knew it was something I dreamed of doing.
From taking the scholarship and moving abroad, I hope to become a more technical player. I know there is a lot of fitness and strength training involved so this will definitely benefit me hugely. I will be living away from home so I will have to do more things on my own, like cooking for myself and cleaning up which I rarely do now. “But it will help me to become a more mature and independent person.”
A massive move for such a young girl, who has always had huge support from her parents Kevin and Annette and brother Alex, but for Sheehan missing her family and friends will be tough, but going to do something she loves will make things a lot easier.
“I think at the beginning it might be tough not seeing my family and friends every day, but I am looking forward to making new friends and playing with new teammates. I will definitely miss my mam, dad and brother Alex who are my regular supporters and it will be different not hearing them screaming at the sideline.
“I will come home for Christmas for a few weeks and them, along with some friends, are coming over to visit so it won’t be too bad hopefully. This is something I have desired for a long time and I can’t wait to get out on the plane.”