Falvey uncorks third NZ season

DANIEL RICHARDSON
Last updated 12:00 30/12/2010
Colin Falvey
WARWICK SMITH/Manawatu Standard
IRISH EYES: YoungHeart Manawatu import Colin Falvey displays some of his no-nonsense style against Hawkes Bay's Joachim Rande.

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By his own admission, Irishman Colin Falvey really does have the best of both worlds.

The YoungHeart Manawatu central defender plays in the United States for the Charleston Battery from April to August and in New Zealand's national league from November to March.

Falvey's Charleston side, based in South Carolina, were the champions of the USL Second division, a league which has merged with the first division to create the USL Pro competition, which kicks off early next year.

As strange as it may sound the first and second divisions were of a similar standard and ran almost parallel to each other and were both professional.

They sat below the Major League Soccer competition in America in their football pyramid, but Falvey said, to provide some perspective, his side would rival most of the teams in the A-League.

Charleston also made the quarterfinals of the United States Open Cup, similar to England's FA Cup and has played against three different MLS teams in the past two seasons.

"I've really started to like travelling and playing," he said of his lifestyle.

"So I see myself playing in another four countries. I just want to stay a professional as long as I can. It's a short career.

"It's a nice situation to be in. I still get to see two beautiful countries and I can come out here and enjoy it."

He came to New Zealand in 2008 and played for Otago United after being recruited by fellow Irishman Terry Phelan, before he transferred to YoungHeart after one summer in Dunedin and is now in to his third national league season.

The man from Cork began his professional career as an 18-year-old in Ireland after being linked with a few English clubs as a trainee.

You could forgive Falvey if he wasn't enjoying this summer though, after he picked up his second red card of the campaign in the 5-2 win over Waikato in Palmerston North before Christmas.

He will sit out the next home game against Team Wellington on January 9 and provided a diplomatic response with regards to his thoughts on his most recent early shower.

"The referee said I lead two-footed, but I think I lead one-footed," he smiled.

"Put it this way. If I made that tackle at home in England or Ireland I don't think I would've got sent off.

"This is my third season out here so I know what it's like. It's not an excuse."

The YoungHeart side is full of rookies this year and one that has a big future, according to Falvey, is striker Dale Higham.

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"To be fair the lad has impressed me since I got here. He's quick. As soon as he starts to learn to play the game a bit more he'll be a lot better. Just the little things you can't teach; that you pick up."

Falvey has an option of extending his contract with Charleston for another two years, but has yet to make a call.

The 25-year-old won't rule out a move to the MLS, but he wouldn't be able to return to New Zealand if he did because their season runs longer than the USL one.

He turned down a developmental deal with DC United, the former club of All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen, because it wasn't as financially lucrative as his Charleston offer.

"It's something I'm still looking at and I've spoken to my agent and if the right MLS offer comes along, why not?"

- Manawatu Standard

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