Hello, I am Jack Griffin from Hull/ Beverley, England. I grew up playing for Barham boys until around the age of 13 when I signed for Beverley Whitestar, only local teams. At 15, I was fortunate enough to sign for Grimsby Town football club where I spent 3 years under contract. Two of those years I spent at Grimsby where I was full time, day in day out training and playing with the hopes of signing a further contract. Unfortunately, I fell short and was released at age of 18. I have a fantastic family and great friendships in England. My family, especially my mother, Cheryl, sacrificed a lot for me to go to America and I have missed all of my family dearly.
When I was released I was not ready to go back to the “normal” life and immediately searched for the next opportunity I could to further pursue my dream of being a professional. I went to the exit trials that all people in my position go to and was fortunate to receive offers both in England and in the United States. I came to the US over carrying on in England because it was also a chance to further my education. This was something I could not pass up as I had no interest in going to university in England. I also always wanted to move countries and gain experience elsewhere, so this was a no-brainer for me, despite having to leave my family and friends.
When you get on the plane at 18 years old, you have no idea how something is going to go, but I can honestly say the last 4 years have been the best years of my life. The coaches and my peers have made the experience unforgettable and I felt as though I had left one family and been adopted into a new family on the Missouri State Men’s Soccer program. I have learned a lot of life lessons on my journey like how to deal with the hard times without comfort blanket of having your mother there all the time. I learned a lot about who I am, my likes/dislikes, and who I want to become in the future. The number one thing I learned was that no matter your background, you can make anything you want out of yourself!!
I would never in a million years have continued my education if it wasn’t for the “American option”. I am the first person in my family to ever go to university let alone move and live in another country. I feel as though more importantly the move to the US has changed my current & future family’s lives. That was one of the main reasons I stayed throughout because I realized how these four years will put me in a great position post-graduation. I wanted to make my family proud and hopefully, I have done just that.
Some advice I would offer is never let a second slip by without making the most of it. Make the most of your time as a student-athlete as it really is a privilege. When it’s over, you miss the 16-hour bus journeys, long meetings, and film until late at night. If I could do it all again I would in a heartbeat. On the athletics side, I was fortunate to play all over the country and be pretty successful also, I would recommend being the athlete that gives it their all and someone your team-mates can count on in your respective sport. Walk away with your head held high and without regret!
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