LIFE in Australia has been hectic for former Ballincollig soccer player Ryan Hogan.
The 29-year-old defender is entering his fourth year playing in the Australian second tier with Inglewood United while also setting up a new business, PlaySport Agency.
"It was hectic the year, especially as my partner Hayley Keane and I were able to fly home to Ireland after three long years to visit friends and family. Covid has been tough on everyone around the world so 2022 was topped off with a great trip back to Cork.”
Having won the FAI Intermediate Cup with Avondale in 2019, Hogan set off for Perth and a semi-pro contract for Stirling Lions FC who had just been relegated from the Australian National Premier League which is a league below the A-League. He played under former Rangers FC legend, Ian Ferguson, where he won the league and got promoted straight back up."
Like many youngsters, Hogan's dream was to play professionally and when he left school he began that journey.
“I moved to Nashville at the age of 18, where I studied and played for four years with Trevecca University. I captained the university in my senior year and graduated with a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science.
“I returned to Cork in 2017 and spent time with both Cobh Ramblers and Avondale in which I picked up the FAI Intermediate Cup under Ken Bruton. I believe my football improved a great amount during my short spell at Avondale United and so I decided to take on another challenge and move to Australia and I am really loving life here since.”
Deciding not to wait until after his playing career to choose his next path, Hogan has already started a business in the sporting arena.
“PlaySport Agency is about providing male and female athletes with opportunities to continue to develop as an athlete both on and off the field. Opportunities range from sports scholarships to study and play in America, or opportunities to play semi-professional or professional soccer in Australia.
"Competing abroad provides athletes with the chance to experience new cultures, meet new people, see new parts of the world and enjoy the lifestyle of a full-time athlete. In the last 10 years, I’ve played two seasons in Ireland, four seasons in America and four seasons in Australia. Each bringing new challenges, experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
"I now want to focus on sharing my experiences with as many athletes as I can. It’s fantastic to see so many Cork soccer players making a name for themselves in the US and now in Australia."
Sports scholarships are an avenue into the professional game.
“The PlaySport Agency process begins with athletes completing our questionnaire which is easily accessible on our website. We review the information provided and assess if the athlete is eligible to receive a sports scholarship. The next step and one of the most important steps is scheduling a call with the athlete and parent or guardian.
"It also gives the athlete and parents an opportunity to ask any questions or concerns they may have regarding life in America as a student-athlete.
“During this season as I was doing some research on our soccer players playing in the US. I found a very interesting stat which is a great representation of Cork schoolboys soccer. A Cork soccer player has captained a college team in the US every season since 2015."
Ryan captained Trevecca University in 2016-'17. The others are Stephen Carroll, Davenport University, Frank Down, Trevecca University, Shane O'Connell Trevecca University, Daire O’Riordan, Davenport University, Cillian Farmer, Trevecca University, and Keelin Foley, Louisiana State University.
Jason Hogan, his cousin and a former Ballincollig and Blarney schoolboy, has also had a very successful college career and is graduating this year from Southern Christian University.
Matthew Whelan, a former Ballincollig underage star and Cobh Ramblers player, burst onto the college scene with Davenport in 2018 and never looked back, scoring 45 goals in 76 games.
Ryan Goldsmith, came through Rockmount and was a youth with Cobh Ramblers. He a very successful college career in Florida and California.
"PlaySport Agency is also working with former Cork City senior Uniss Kargbo and former Cobh Ramblers youth goalkeeper Conor Hogan. Both players will be playing in the Australian second tier next year. A very exciting year ahead for the two Cork soccer players.
“We are now looking forward to 2023 and excited to be working with many more young athletes from Cork.”