In Focus: Aoife Herbert moved to US on soccer scholarship, graduated with an MA in communications

IrishCentral Staff Writer Aoife Herbert

Background:

Originally from Killala, Co. Mayo, Herbert moved to the U.S. in 2010 to complete a soccer scholarship at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York where she graduated with a master’s in communications.

What was the most difficult thing about adjusting to life here?

“The most difficult thing was probably the intensity of living. The pace of life was so fast. Training every day with three games a week and a full course load at college was particularly hard to get used to. Pre-season started in August before classes begun in September, and with training two to three times a day for two weeks I honestly thought I was going to die in the heat and humidity. I got used to it eventually though, and winning a national championship in December definitely made it all worthwhile in the end.”
 
What were the main differences between studying at home and in the U.S.?

“The College of Saint Rose is a small private college upstate, so my classes were quite small and there was quite an intense level of competition and a greater degree of interaction with my professors. I was used to large lecture halls in Ireland, but in my school in Albany I found I got a lot more attention from the professors and also did more field-work, interning and work experience.  I also couldn’t miss any classes because class sizes were so small, that the professors would definitely notice if you were missing.”

Do you prefer Irish or American sports?

“Depends on the context I guess. I would much prefer a game of Gaelic football or hurling to baseball or lacrosse if that’s what you mean, but I think that the Americans are definitely very serious about their sports and I can say that I enjoyed the level of intensity and professionalism I experienced playing soccer at NCAA level. Also, at college level especially, male and female athletes are treated pretty much the same, with the same time, resources and facilities allocated to them, so that was also another element I liked about playing college sport here. “

Who do you most admire in the sporting world and why?

“Katie Taylor and Stevie Gerrard for the same reasons. They are both exceptionally talented, dedicate their lives to their sport and perform at the very highest level week in week out. Also I’m a huge Liverpool fan, and Stevie has been at the heart of the club since I can remember when others have come and gone, so that loyalty is definitely something you can appreciate.”

Which Irish sportsperson will you be keeping your eye on for the Olympics?

“Katie Taylor, not only because she is tipped to win a medal but because I have always followed her progress. She had to fight for her sport to gain Olympic recognition, so I can’t wait for her to finally get her just rewards in London. I’m also looking forward to watching Derval O’Rourke in the 100 meter hurdles, as that’s always a really exciting event.”

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