At the end of August this year Lyne F.C men’s team had to say goodbye to Joe Clayton who gained a Soccer scholarship at a USA University. Below is an article we asked Joe to write which we thought would be of interest to our members and parents:
From Lyne FC to Wesleyan University
I played for Lyne FC during the 2015/16 season, occasionally as a center-back, but predominantly as a fullback. This season I will be playing for Wesleyan University, in Connecticut, USA. I was recruited to play as a center-back for Wesleyan, after Coach Wheeler saw me play at camp in Washington, DC. Although I have only ben playing in the States for less that a month, I can already tell that playing for Lyne FC has helped me prepare for playing at the collegiate level in America.
The first thing I noticed in my first training session in America was the speed of play. Everything is one or two-touch, and passes are hit hard. Passes that are even slightly under-hit are often intercepted due to the pressing from the other team. Last season at Lyne, there were matches when we would dominate and have the ball for the overwhelming majority of the match. Even if the other team pressed high up the field, we had the confidence to stay calm and continue to keep the ball on the ground and play through the press. I think that this has really helped me here in the States, as I now look to play out of a press, rather than always clear the ball down the pitch.
The second thing I noticed was the incredible physicality of the players. There is an emphasis on playing with the ball, keeping possession, and playing attractive football, but there is an even greater emphasis on fitness and being a physical team. I think that playing for Lyne, and in a men’s league, has helped me a lot in this aspect. Sometimes, the opposing team would be more interested in winning the game due to physicality rather than beating Lyne by playing good football. Playing in those types of matches improved my physical toughness, as well as my mental strength. I think it also taught me to be smarter when going into challenges, in terms of when it might be better to not tackle in order to avoid injury. In terms of fitness, I think that Lyne’s approach to winning the ball back as quickly as possible really improved my mentality to defending, which I have carried on in America. In addition, participating in preseason with Lyne before going off to university helped my immediate fitness and put me in good standing with the rest of the squad at Wesleyan.
This year at Wesleyan, the aim is to compete for the league title and to qualify for the national tournament. From there, we hope to compete for a national title. I would like to thank the management team at Lyne for giving me the opportunity to play, and for instilling an attractive – but also effective – style of football. I hope Lyne FC builds on the county cup and league success that we achieved last season, and is able to win more trophies in the years ahead!
Lyne F.C First team would like to thank Joe for his contribution to last years double success, this article and to wish him every success with his football and education in the USA.