FROM Glanmire to Tennessee 22 year old Cillian Farmer is loving life playing the game he loves.
Farmer took up a soccer scholarship back in 2018 to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville and although Covid brought many obstacles, it certainly didn’t dampen this fantastic experience.
“I have enjoyed every second of it since I moved here, said Farmer. It was a big transition for me moving away from home at the time however it gave me an opportunity to see places like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, places I never thought I would see, and would not have got the chance if it wasn’t for soccer.”
The central midfielder grew up in Glanmire and began his soccer career with local side Riverstown before he moved clubs to Ringmahon where he enjoyed a lot of success.
“I played with Ringmahon for three years where we won a few trophies such as the premier division twice and local cup tournaments. I played under great coaches at Ringmahon like Eddie Harrington and Robert O’Leary. They were a big help to me and had a big impact on my development. I played with a great bunch of lads there, too many to name but all great players. Those were a very enjoyable few years of soccer I spent at Ringmahon.”
So how did the move to the States come about?
“In 2016 I began to look into playing collegiate soccer in the states. The first Coach I was in contact with was Danny Leavy of Trevecca Nazarene University, where I currently play.
After speaking with the coach I decided to commit to it. I attended UCC for a year before I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to play in August, 2018 and I have been here ever since.
“The college I am at is located about five miles outside downtown Nashville so, it feels like it’s right in the city and has a great atmosphere. I spent three years as an undergraduate student at Trevecca having transferred some credits as I switched from UCC to Trevecca so I ended up graduating within four years.
"I was delighted to graduate from undergrad last May, 2021 with a bachelors degree in Psychology. Life is great at the moment living in an apartment with two of my team mates. Our season starts this week so pre season has been pretty hectic.
“We just finished preseason which consisted of two sessions a day - conditioning at 9AM then an evening session at 6PM. This lasted two weeks and now we are in season with our first game on Thursday.
"My current schedule has changed because I recently began my Master’s in Business Administration. Apart From my lectures, I train at 3PM every day and we have games on Thursdays and Saturdays every week.
"We have high expectations for our team this year. We have a lot of talent and enthusiasm with guys from all over the world such as Sierra Leone, Ireland, Germany, South Korea, and Spain to name a few.
"So, we have a lot of different footballing background which I believe gives our team an edge. I have about a year and half left of the Masters program I am currently in so this allows me to also play two more seasons of college soccer which both will happen within the time frame of my masters program.
"I think right now the plan is to return home after I graduate and possibly do another masters program in Ireland. I have a few in mind but I am pretty sure I will return home after this stretch.”
Covid for most of us was tough but for Farmer it gave him the opportunity to return home, something he was very appreciative of.
“Like most people, lockdown and this past 18 months has not been easy. I was actually on spring break in Florida when we got news that our college was shutting down due to covid so I didn’t return then to Nashville.
"I flew home in March from Florida and spent the summer at home which was nice for a change as I usually spend summers working in Nashville. So, I got to spend some time at home. When I returned to the states in August, 2020, there was a lot of hesitancy due to restrictions in both Ireland and the US.
"I then returned to campus and began a hybrid semester of online and offline classes. Our season usually takes place in fall but our season was cancelled because of COVID-19.
"This was very frustrating so we spent the semester trying to practice as best we could but then we of course began to get shut down because of covid cases and contact tracing which meant a lot of quarantines.
"So, that was a tough semester but I learned a lot about being versatile and adaptive and excited now to the return of our season this week. I think the long break has given a lot of guys a huge appetite and because of this I imagine our season will be more competitive than ever.”