Yusef embarks on the American dream

Yusef Seodi, in yellow, in action for the Berkhamsted Youth team last year.
Yusef Seodi, in yellow, in action for the Berkhamsted Youth team last year.

A young footballer from Berkhamsted is getting ready to pack his bags and jet off the USA as he chases his dream of starting a professional career.

Yusef Seodi, 18, has been offered a scholarship to play soccer at Georgia Perimeter College where he will balance academic study with life on the pitch.

And Yusef, who stepped up to the Berkhamsted FC first team last season, says he cannot wait for his American adventure to get under way in August.

“I couldn’t think of anything better than this,” said Yusef. “College sport is massive in America.”

“Because I haven’t made it as a pro here in England, I thought I would go out there and give it a go.

“Obviously I’d like to be picked up by a professional team eventually, and I know that in America they look at young players.

“There is so much money in England that the clubs just go out and get players from Spain and Brazil.”

Yusef, whose father is a former Olympic wrestler from Egypt and mother is a music teacher, was offered his scholarship after signing to UK-based talent agency First Point USA for a fee of £2,500.

He attended trials in London and the agency compiled a player profile to distribute to college coaches in the States.

The selection process culminated in a showcase event at the David Beckham Academy, where Yusef’s performance led to offers from five colleges – from which he opted for Georgia. The college will pay for his tuition fees and accommodation.

Despite the excitement of his impending adventure, Yusef was quick to thank Berkhamsted FC for helping him to improve as a player.

“I broke into the Berko first team last season and it is a massive step up from youth football,” he said.

“Not just physically but skill-wise, it really makes you develop as a player.”

And while he cannot wait to fly out to meet his new team-mates, Yusef admits it will be hard leaving home.

“Obviously I’ll miss my mum,” he said.

“Now that it is getting closer to the time I’m getting very excited but also a lot more nervous than I was!

“But if it doesn’t work out, I know I’ve got my studies to fall back on.”