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Q&A With Michelle O'Driscoll

11 April 2019

Michelle O'Driscoll Q&A

Forward Michelle O'Driscoll recently made her international debut for the Republic of Ireland and spoke with PASS4Soccer for a Q&A session.

The Daytona State College student played with Cork City FC in the Women's National League before heading over to the US to study and play, last summer.

O'Driscoll, who scored 16 goals in 15 games during her first year at Daytona, played against Hungary at the Campo Municipal de A Lomba last week.

We sat down with the forward to ask about her international debut and about her freshman year at university.

How much of a change was it moving to the United States to study and play at university?

MO'D: At the beginning, I was a little apprehensive about what to expect from moving to the US from Ireland, but once I got there, I knew it was the right decision for me. Adapting to living in an apartment, with three other girls, was different initially, but it has now become second nature for me. My life in America has become very fast-paced between soccer and college, but while living in Florida, I can't complain at all.

What made you want to study at university over there, instead of back home?

MO'D: I have always been sports mad and growing up it was always a dream of mine to study and play in the US. In 2016, I became a member with PASS4Soccer and then my dream started to become a reality as I started the whole process of finding the right school for me. 

How do you feel your freshman year has gone, both academically and playing-wise?

MO'D: Personally for me, I think I had a very successful season playing soccer at Daytona State. For the season I mainly played centre-forward and having scored 16 goals and getting three assists, in 15 games, I was very happy with myself.  In my opinion, I think that we were very unlucky not have done better for the season. Florida is a very difficult region to qualify out of and unfortunately, this year, we were unable to do so.

It was very tough for us a team to see Monroe CC, from New York, win the 2018 National Championship this year, although they only defeated us 3-2 in pre-season. I believe, if we had qualified out of the Florida region, we would've been major contenders for the National Championship. Going forward into next season, I believe our disappointment about this year will motivate all of us to work harder and make next year better than the last.  

Throughout the process of getting a scholarship, how do you feel PASS4Soccer helped you?

MO'D: In December 2016, I became a member with PASS4Soccer. Stephen Murray at PASS4Soccer helped me to get a highlight video together, so that I would have something to send coaches. I travelled to London in December 2016 and again in December 2017 to attend showcase events, where many American coaches attended. 

I also contacted a few coaches myself. I was overwhelmed with the response I received from coaches in America! I had numerous offers from both two and four-year colleges, however, they were not the right fit for me. After receiving my email, Head Coach Brittany Jones at Daytona State College, in Florida, showed great interest in me.

What advice would you give younger players thinking of applying for scholarships in the US?

MO'D: I think the only advice I would give to younger players, that are thinking about going over to the States on a scholarship, would be, to be determined and believe in themselves. There are so many universities in the US that you would be a great fit for, so believe in yourself and your abilities that you will succeed and you’ll get there! Trust in the process and keep working hard. 

What made you want to study and play at Daytona State College?

MO'D: It quickly became clear to me that Daytona State was where I wanted to study and play soccer. I FaceTimed the Head Coach, Brittany Jones, and we discussed the college and the new soccer program they had there. I knew, straight away, that it would be a perfect fit for me. Coach Jones then offered me a full scholarship to play soccer and study at Daytona State in the Fall and I was over the moon! I was so excited heading over there last July. 

How did it feel when you were called up to play for the Republic of Ireland Under-19s?

MO'D: When I heard that I was called up into the Ireland U19 squad, for the Elite round of the Euro’s, I was absolutely delighted. It’s such a privilege to be selected to represent your country. 

It’s a huge honour to play for your country, at any age level, so what are your aims and ambitions for the near future?

MO'D: I think it’s always a goal of any player to represent their country and I’m grateful enough to say that I have and I was very proud to walk out on to the pitch in an Ireland jersey, to represent my country. Right now, my focus is on my college work and soccer at Daytona State, but I’m continuously striving to be involved with the Ireland senior team in the future as that is a big goal that I’m reaching for. 

What would you say your stand-out moments are, so far, from your first year at university?

MO'D: A memorable moment that has stood out to me was when we played Webber International University on our home field at Daytona State. This was the first game that my parents were able to attend as they flew over from Cork to see me. Having them there was very special to me and being able to score a hat-trick, as well, just added to it as we won 5-2. 

Being able to have them there, in the stadium, was very memorable for me and wasn’t the worst way to welcome them to Florida! In my opinion, I think my first semester in America has helped me grow drastically as a person. Moving away from home, having just turned 18, was a very daunting task for me, at the beginning, but I knew that I would be fine.

To go from living at home, where everything was done for me, to living independently with three other girls was also a bit of a change. But the main thing I have learned from this entire experience was that change is good and that you need to embrace all the little things along the way in order to be the happiest you can be. 

Where do you think you would be if you didn’t go and study/play in the US?

MO'D: I haven’t thought about what I would be doing if I didn’t go to America because I have always been set in going, so it was just a matter of waiting for the opportunity to come. 


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