A Hartlepool college has fulfilled an American dream by producing its first student who has embarked on a sports scholarship programme across the pond.
Jack Gibson, a gifted footballer who attended Dyke House Sports & Technology College, has started at Iowa State University following numerous offers after impressing during his time at the school.
The 18-year-old chose Iowa after he was given a flavour of the Stateside college scene on a trip to trip to Miami with Dyke House’s own Elite Development Squad scholarship programme to explore USA scholarship opportunities.
Jack, from Seaton Carew, said: “It gave me an insight of what a scholarship to the US entailed at first hand instead of receiving second hand information on what it would be like moving to America to study and play soccer.
“Studying towards a bachelor’s degree during my four years while playing soccer at a good level with people from all around the world will be great.”
Jack, a talented forward, had hoped to play professionally in England but is looking at a pathway to playing in the United States’ rapidly growing Major League Soccer, boasting players such as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.
Studying towards a bachelor’s degree during my four years while playing soccer at a good level with people from all around the world will be greatJack Gibson
He said: “After not getting a contract in England, after having many trials at English clubs, it seemed the best way forward for me to carry on playing and improving.
“It also means that I can gain a degree alongside it so I will always have something to fall back on if I can’t make a living from playing soccer.”
Dyke House opened its Sixth Form College in September 2014, with the aim to help Post-16 students like Jack continue to fulfil their academic potential as well as create pathways to highly selective universities.
Links have been forged across the pond and students are encouraged to realise their dreams wherever they took them.
Andrew Murphy, Head of School, said: “We very much believe that anything is possible at Dyke House and felt our students deserved the opportunity to see exactly what was on offer.
“It was evident when, throughout our trip to Miami, that the facilities, coaching, academic education and lifestyle would provide an amazing opportunity for our students Post-18.
“The message we give to our students is that any progression pathway will be valued and supported if a student demonstrates their commitment to it.”