Hastings United captain Josh Jirbandey is set to follow the American Dream.
The 20-year-old central defender will be flying out to study for the next four years and has until the end of June to decide between whether to attend one of two colleges in New York or another in the Californian mountains.
“It’s a massive decision but it could be the best decision of my life,” he admitted. “It’s 99 per cent I will be going.”
What will help to make up his mind of which scholarship to take up is how the colleges’ respective football teams are performing.
“It won’t be as good as Ryman Premier because you’re playing college football but I might have to take a step down to progress,” he explained.
The former Peterborough United YTS scholar revealed that a friend of a friend took a very similar route and went on to sign for a team in the MLS (Major League Soccer). “That’s part of the dream as well,” he added.
Jirbandey will spend the first two years studying a number of subjects before choosing which ones to concentrate on. “It’s not just about going there to play football, it’s a life change as well,” he went on. “I can’t wait.”
The 6ft 4in former William Parker Sports College student has made 139 appearances for Hastings and in August 2009 had a trial with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.
Of course, Jirbandey’s gain will be Hastings’ loss with player-manager Sean Ray admitting: “It’s a big blow for us, that’s for sure.”
Jirbandey is the only definite of the current squad who will be missing when the 2012/13 campaign kicks-off, with Ray keen on retaining Bradley Goldberg who has impressed since joining on work experience from Charlton Athletic.
See this week’s Hastings Observer for the full article.