US BOUND FOR SCHOLARSHIP

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Local man and former Dundee FC youth player Michael Hutcheon is preparing for the next stage of his career with a four-year football scholarship in America.

Michael (19) was offered the scholarship to Radford University in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, after he was approached by David Binnie at Sporting Futures USA.

After seeing him play, Sporting Futures put together some footage of Michael in action and soon Radford stated their interest in bringing him to the university.

From there it was a race against time for Michael to study for the ACP exam that would gain him entry to university.

He said: “I basically just shut myself in my room for two months studying hard to get the best scores and thankfully it paid off.”

Radford are currently in the top flight of university football in the South Conference area in the NCAA Division One so the standard is set high.

Michael is up for the challenge but remains well aware that it is best to also prepare for a life outside of playing football.

He said: “I was with Dundee FC for two years and I realised as time passed the chances of getting a contract and progressing were slim.

“Now the scholarship will give me so many different opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.

“There could be a chance to play in the NLS or other leagues. I could even try back here and have a few trials with teams.

“If not playing football then I could go into coaching, even here at the university they offer coaching jobs during the summer.

“I’ll have a degree that is valid anywhere in the world so I have so many opportunities now while I just had one at Dundee.”

Although Michael has not yet chosen his course, the first year will be more general before he picks a major and a minor, he is determined to pick a sports related course.

“It will definitely be sports related because I find it difficult to concentrate on something I’m not interested in” contineud Michael.

“It will probably be something like sports coaching or physiology.”

The work-load is set to be intense with pre-season starting just after Michael arrives at the start of August.

He said: “From September it will be really busy with about three games a week.

“The season is concentrated into two months so it will all be over by November.

“During the day I’ll have classes from about 9 am to 12 noon then three hours free before training then night free for myself or more studying.”

Thanks to NCAA eligibility policies Michael is currently undertaking an appeal to be able to play over the full four years of his scholarship.

At the moment he is currently only allowed to play for three because of his time at Dundee FC. He said: “The policies are in place to stop professional sports players coming in to get a scholarship but I never had a pro contract at Dundee, I was always a youth player.

“At the moment I have to serve one academical year before I can play competitive football but I’m waiting for an appeal. It’s all going through just now and hopefully it will be positive.

“Even though they deducted a year the university still wanted to take me anyway and said that they will deal with it as it comes.

“Regardless of that I’m definitely going.”

With just under four weeks left to go before Michael flies out he has been busy making all the final arrangements.

He added: “I was hoping to head out earlier, about the last week of July but the university policies mean that I’m not allowed to stay with returning students I’ll have to stay in my own dorms.

“I’ve been in London sorting my visa and that’s fine so now it’s just a case of booking the flights and getting across there.”