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Rugby is rapidly gathering steam in America thanks to an exciting melting pot of enthusiastic home-grown athletes and more experienced talents from across the world. One of those foreign talents mixing it up in the states is Old Trident, Joe Livesey.
The stand-off who pulled the strings for Loughborough, Ashby and Nottingham Rugby Academy as well as playing for the Trent 1st XV for 2 seasons, helping the team reach the last 32 of the Daily Mail Cup before his move abroad, is now starring for Lindenwood University, Missouri.
The 19-year-old has already forced himself into the first team and has been involved in National Championship games across the country, but he took time to adjust to the American game.
The former Trent College pupil said: “American players are often more athletic than players back home but they don’t have as good ball skills. The refereeing is quite different, the main reason I think is because not a lot of the referees here have played before, they just learn the rules by the book. As quite an international team we spend a good amount of time at training adapting our game to suit the referee’s interpretations.”
With competition hotting up in the National Championship, training has stepped up a gear, with 5am lifts three times a week, five classes a day and a two hour training session each day, plus an hour of film study and analysis every Monday.
He added: “It has been an achievement to be one of only two true freshman to be playing regularly in the first grade team, but it has been frustrating as I have been out with a knee injury and had to sit on the sidelines as the team defeated New Orleans and LSU.
Joe left Trent in 2013 with plans of travelling on a Gap Year. His research led him to FirstPoint USA. “I found out about the opportunity on FirstPoint USA’s website and I am glad I did! I had the desire to travel and live away from home, and where better to do it than the United States. “I could have gone to university here in the UK and played rugby too, but I know that I wouldn’t have been satisfied knowing what I could have been doing.
“The opportunities to travel around the country, for instance trips to Las Vegas and New Orleans would be something that I would never get the chance to do being in the UK. “
Andrew Kean, who runs FirstPoint USA, which specialises in sports management, scholarship placement and the American university admissions process said: “Rugby is a growing sport in America and the number of universities pursuing the most talented players from around the world is growing.
“The way to improve the game in the United States, is to sprinkle top class prospects from outside the country so the standard of the sport continues to improve.
“The college game is improving rapidly and I think many players would be surprised at the skill level. Joe is a great example of the type of athlete colleges are pursuing. It’s a great opportunity to keep playing rugby at a high level, while getting a degree and having a life-changing experience. “
While in Missouri, Joe has undertaken an internship with the St Louis Rams. He hopes to pursue a career in operations and event management in college football or the NFL after university.
To find out more about FirstPoint USA’s offering, visit: www.firstpointusa.com