A Hartlepool footballer has scored the grades he needed to take up a sporting scholarship in America.
Promising young footballer Matthew Ridley is living the American dream after winning a scholarship to play football and study business administration at Lander University in the USA.
The 18-year-old from Hartlepool Sixth Form College has taken up a four-year scholarship to play soccer and study in South Carolina.
The talented centre back achieved two Distinction* grades in his Level 3 Sport BTEC Diploma and a Distinction* in his Level 3 Business Diploma, ensuring he has earned his place in the States.
Mark Hughes, head of Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said the college was so proud of Matthew's incredible achievement.
Mr Hughes said: "Mathew came to us from High Tunstall and he did really well there.
"He has gone on to do well here, and is now off to study in America.
"It is great to see our students take different routes like that."
Matthew spent two years at the college, where he has been captain of the Sixth Form football team.
He has also captained the England Colleges FA team.
Speaking to the Mail earlier this summer, Matthew, of Rift House, said: “It’s going to be quite daunting at first moving away from family, but it is an experience I would not have been able to have here.
“It has allowed me to get a free degree, travel the world and play against better players.
“It also puts me in the shop window for hopefully going professional after.”
Matthew took up the place after receiving around 10 different offers.
He recently received his second England cap to mark his second season representing his country.
As part of the England Colleges team he has competed with the best youth talent from countries including Australia, Romania and Italy.