A FOOTBALL-loving copper is set to live the American dream after landing a coaching role in New York.
PC Chris Rigby is taking a break from the beat to spend at least eight months working for the New York Red Bulls.
The Hartlepool sports enthusiast flies across the pond on Monday to help deliver a community training programme with the Major League Soccer side.
The 28-year-old has been a policeman for almost seven years but is temporarily giving up his role on response after being picked as just one of 12 coaches from around 1,000 applicants.
Chris, who has played for the national police team, said: “This opportunity is above and beyond what I had hoped for.
“To work for a company and a club like this really is a dream job.”
Chris applied for the position after seeing the job advertised on the club’s website.
He said: “A few of my mates have done it before so I went and had a look on the internet.
“It’s been hard and a long process. I’ve done a telephone interview and three assessment days. It’s been quite intense so I was delighted when I was offered the contract.”
Chris is a big Arsenal fan and hopes to meet former Gunners legend Thierry Henry, who now plays for the Red Bulls.
He said: “Everyone can go and watch the first team and you get tickets for each game. They want to get you involved as much as possible, so there’s no doubt I’ll meet him, which will be fantastic.
“The whole thing is an opportunity that I feel really fortunate to have and I’m going to make the most of it.
“Americans are so enthusiastic about everything and they love their sports.”
Chris could be coaching children from five years old to 18 and will be given accommodation and transport as works with two teams – one in New Jersey and the other in New York.
Middlesbrough-based Chris, who went to school at Clavering and Henry Smiths before going to Hartlepool Sixth Form College and East Durham College, added: “I’ve just found out I’ll be living in North Arlington, which is about eight miles from the centre of Manhattan.
“I’m from Hartlepool, so you know the lifestyle’s going to be a bit different over there.
“I’m really looking forward to it. Doing the job I do on shift all the time, you can get beaten down. It’s going to be a nice change.”