September 30, 2004

Born in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland on 3-31-84, were I lived for the first 16 years of my life. The best years I’ve had thus far. Brought up in a family of eight, I always had plenty of company, a lot of mates and probably more importantly to me, a soccer field very close by. Before finishing high school, I got an opportunity to pursue a football career across the Irish sea in England. After 2 years of this, I decided it wasn’t for me and so I up and left for the Republic of Ireland to University College Dublin to continue playin football, but not full time. I also attended college.

When I finished my 2 year course, I decided that there was a lot more of the world to be seen and a degree to be earned, so I went on the hunt for another move and, in my mind, there was only one place to see next. The land of the free. And so six weeks on from my move and still with a girlfriend back at home, here I am.

Why Embry-Riddle? After my two years in England, I had a decision to make about my next move, and it was between going to college in America, Atlanta to be exact or to go to college back nearer to home in the Republic of Ireland. When the Atlanta college thing fell through last minute it made my decision a hell of a lot easier and so off to University College Dublin (UCD) I went.

Now, after those two years are finished I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I met some great people in Dublin, not least my girlfriend, my team mates and I also had a lot of great times. When i had finished my two year part time course in Dublin, I wasn’t ready for the real world yet and I felt underqualified as well, so I started to look at my options all over again. And still after two years America still appealed to me and so I started to look. It is amazing how sometimes you meet people and you think that it is almost impossible that you will ever see them again. This is how I felt about a lot of friends I had made when I left England. But as it turns out, I met some of them a lot sooner than I thought I would. When I went looking for a college in America that might be interested in somebody with my credentials, I remembered a fella who left England just 6 months before me and that he had went to a college in Florida. So after a few phone calls, I was able to get in touch with him and ask him for some help and advice as to what I should do next to get to America. As fate would have it, I phoned at just the right time and they had some vacant spots on the team and it just so happens that one of them was the position that I play. So one thing led to another and after I had checked out my available courses and made sure that I could do a course that suited me, and obviously that I had what Embry-Riddle wanted, both academically and athletically, I was on my way. Not knowing exactly what to expect I set off for America, but this was not a decision that I came to with ease, I had a lot going for me back at home, like a girlfriend and another college course as well as some good friends I had made, but in the end I felt that it was the best option.

Now, after 7 weeks in Florida and I’ve lost count of however many hurricanes, I still think I’ve made the right decision. It’s tuff sometimes to be so far away from home, because unlike England you can’t just jump on a plane and fly for an hour and your home. I miss a lot of things about home but as there are so many Europeans on the soccer team, they are all on the same boat and they understand exactly where I’m coming from. They are all “great craic” and they’ve looked after me a lot since I’ve been here.

On that note I’m going to leave this entry as it is because I’m sure like many of the rest of you, I have a lot of work to catch up on after all of the school missed due to the hurricanes. Thanks, Hugh.

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About Hugh

**Age:** 20 **Hometown:** N. Ireland **Favorite Movie:** The Goonies **Favorite Band:** Red Hot Chili Peppers **Career Goal:** Win a national soccer championship and get my degree.

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