Letterkenny woman Julianne Herrity says young prospects here should keep the ‘American Dream’ alive and to follow scholarship chances in the States.
The 27-year-old from Kiltoy has just returned from two years at Carson-Newman College in Tennessee, where she had a brilliant two years playing colleges football.
Herrity, a former Kilmacrennan Celtic and Bonagee United player in the Donegal Women’s League, was Player of the Year for the Carson-Newman Eagles in 2015 and made the Team of the Year again in 2016.
“I went for the football and you’re training every day; it’s just like playing pro,” Herrity said on this week’s Donegal Sports Talk podcast.
“The standard of coaching and the facilities are endless. You have so many opportunities to better yourself.
“Technically, I was always decent, but tactically my awareness improved so much in America. You’d be getting one-to-one coaching and I got a better understanding of the game. I really grew as a player out there.”
Herrity, capped at underage level for the Republic of Ireland and a WFAI Intermediate Cup winner with Kilmac, scored 30 goals in her two years at Carson-Newman.
With the likes of Ciara Grant, Roma McLaughlin, Tyler Toland, Zoe Green and Amy Boyle-Carr, among others, making the step to international level from Donegal, the standard locally is high – but Herrity believes more can be done.
She said: “There is a lot more that needs to be done with women’s soccer, even at the young, fundamentals level.
“The standard is brilliant in Donegal but, honestly, so many more could come through if the right pathway was there. It is great to see so many girls from Donegal doing well.”
She admits to have been ‘blown away’ by the media attention in America in comparison to what she’d experienced at home.
She said: “Every college in America has their own media department and the exposure is amazing.
“It blows me away, the statistics and what have you. Everything is all over YouTube and you have all the reports and interviews – it’s something we’re missing here at home.”
Several Donegal youngsters have followed the scholarship route to America in recent years – and Herrity says more should consider it.
She said: “With scholarships, you can get your whole education played for. After it, you can get so many doors opened and so many chances.”