A Solihull football student is celebrating a championship season – more than a thousand miles from home.
Matt Pemberton is a former Hinckley United ace, scoring 20 goals last season and earning trial spells at Birmingham City, Walsall and Grimsby.
But the 19-year-old decided to make the move to the USA to pursue his footballing dream.
For Matt, who attended both Solihull Sixth Form College and Lode Heath School, earned a scholarship at the University of West Alabama.
Now, after less than a year at the college, he can already call himself a Gulf South Conference Champion.
The side were listed as the 20th team in the nation by the Bennett Division II Men’s Soccer Rankings on Tuesday and his team were the only GSC side to finish the season in the poll’s Top 25.
The striker played 14 games for the college this season, impressing selectors enough to be named in the 2014 Gulf South Conference All Academic Team. He said: “The best thing about the FirstPoint USA scholarship is definitely the end product. I have been able to move to America, live the dream, play football every day and earn a degree at the same time.”
Andrew Kean, who runs FirstPoint USA, which specialises in sports management, scholarship placement and the American university admissions process, said: “The scholarship is about more than just dedication on the pitch – our athletes need to work hard in the classroom as well. To be named in the All Academic Team is a real achievement and sums up how dedicated a person Matt is.”
* To find out more about FirstPoint USA’s offering, visit: www.firstpointusa.com