CRUMLIN’S Paddy Burns may be off to the United States this ‘Fall’ - COVID travel restrictions allowing - to play soccer at one of the USA’s top universities.
The Glenavon FC defender, who also captained Northern Ireland’s U18 squad, has been signed on a full sporting scholarship to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
The local man, who memorably slotted in a goal in a notable win over Germany at U18 level, is understandably excited to join a university renowned for its soccer heritage.
Known as the ‘Fighting Irish’, Notre Dame have notched up no fewer than 11 national championships. It is also an academic powerhouse, counting astronauts, world class scientists and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice among their alumni.
When the offer arrived, Paddy did not have to think twice.
“I’m delighted to be going to the University of Notre Dame in August - all being well - on a full scholarship,” he said.
“Gutted to be leaving Glenavon_FC but I can’t turn this opportunity down.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped me get here. It is a new chapter for me.”
Head coach Chad Riley said he was excited at the prospect of Paddy joining the squad, along with five other international new signings for 2020.
“I am excited to have this group of young men join our University and our team,” he said.
“They are a talented group who are committed to excellence and most importantly have the mentality that it takes to succeed at Notre Dame.
“The key for them now is to work hard to turn their potential into reality and to put all of their efforts into becoming their best.
“We are looking forward to welcoming them officially into our team this fall and can't wait to get started working with them on the field.”
The local man has already been formally introduced to the campus on their website - and he is already talking a good game!
“Notre Dame is the perfect combination of a really great academic school and a very strong soccer program,” said Paddy.
“Additionally, as a proud Irish Catholic, the mission of Notre Dame appeals greatly to my own personal values – it really is the perfect fit for me.”