Striker Deeley packs boots and heads to USA
South Canterbury footballer Tom Deeley has accepted a four-year scholarship at Lees-McRae College in North Carolina.
The 18-year-old will leave for the college, based in Banner Elk, next month.
The striker is the current golden boot frontrunner in South Canterbury football, with 19 so far. He will have one last chance to add to that tally this week when he plays his former team Timaru Boys' High School on Saturday.
Deeley has been accepted on a student athletic scholarship that will see him study psychology.
The diminutive forward said his size actually worked in his favour during the recruitment phase.
"I had a few colleges on the go and they all liked my build - that short, sharp, fast striker type of thing. They seem like a good college and have won national championships in the past."
Deeley will leave New Zealand on August 9, with preseason training with his new team starting four days later.
The English-born teenager, who moved to New Zealand with his family in 2008, said that he was looking forward to the faster pace of the game.
"I play sensibly here, my natural game is not to score goals but I'm getting more service at Hearts. My [college] coach sees me more as an attacking midfielder.
"The games will be played at a ferocious pace."
He said while a younger league of between 18 and 22-year-olds would be a huge change from playing older teams like Timaru City and Thistle he enjoyed a faster game and was confident.
"Our first warm up game is on August 19 and from there I think we play 33 games every three months."
The team, known as The Bobcats, play in the Carolinas Division in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition.
"It only gets harder from here - this is the first tiny step for me."
Deeley will also take up a coaching role with a North Carolina football academy.
- The Timaru Herald