Reece chasing ‘soccer’ US scholarship dream

Reece Saxton of Shirebrook Academy, chasing a US scholarship dream
Reece Saxton of Shirebrook Academy, chasing a US scholarship dream

A Shirebrook student wants to follow David Beckham and Steven Gerrard by playing ‘soccer’ in the States, after setting his sights on a sports scholarship.

Reece Saxton, 16, has just completed his GCSEs at Shirebrook Academy, but already has big ideas on the future.

Having always been a keen footballer, the youngster wants to take his talents to the next level by travelling to America to study.

And his skills have already attracted the interest of a leading American university.

He said: “I’ve always played football and have been playing at county level for the last two years, I love it.

“I went on a trip to America and I just got a great feel for the place and knew that I wanted to go a live out there and embrace the whole lifestyle.

“Sport is such a huge thing over there, even varsity sport between different schools is televised, drawing huge, huge crowds.”

The process is long, and Saxton has started earlier than most – still having two years in the UK to sit his A-levels.

But this puts him in a great position as he has to build up lots of playing time to be filmed for the US scouts to watch, and he has to make sure his grades are high.

“It’s not all based on the football – that’s what the scouts are looking for and I’m working hard to be the best footballer I can be, but the scholarship, and whether I’m accepted or not, is all based on my academic success,”

He’s getting help with his applications from sports consultancy FirstPoint USA, and plans to study biology, chemistry and physics at A-Level.

Every few months, Saxton travels to Northampton to play in a match with young people wanting to experience the USA university system and it is through these games that interest has come from the University of Cincinnati, based in Ohio.

The University’s team – the Bearcats – has seen a number of its players go on to enjoy professional careers.

“It’s great to be playing with great footballers who are all wanting the same outcome,” he said.

“It’s a way to get some filming done for your profiles too, that the scouts look at, and every December, there’s a match and all the scouts come over to watch in person, seeing your skills first hand. It’s always nerve-racking, but a thrill too.”

If he’s successful he will travel to his new home in June 2018: “It’ll be a big change from being here and a different experience to going to university in England, but to be able to play college football will be a dream come true. It’s what I really want to do.”