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"Going back home to play was a big deal, I always wanted to play in the League of Ireland"

Niall Logue is a former men's soccer player with Ohio State University. After graduating Niall moved back to Ireland and continued his career with Finn Harps and Derry City respectively. Recently the opportunity to return to the United States presented itself and Niall signed a professional contract with FC Tucson in the USL League One. From speaking with Niall it is very obvious he still wants to achieve much more!


You were recruited by Ohio State University, how did the move come about?

I moved out on scholarship in 2014. I was first recruited by a school called Yavapai College, a junior college in Prescott, Arizona. It's a small region in Northern Arizona but it is home to a powerhouse in the JUCO (NCJAA) world of college soccer. I played there for two years, in that time I acquired my associates degree and won all the accolades one can win. I had a lot of interest from top D1 universities across the country, so taking time to reflect and asses all my options I felt Ohio State was the best move for me to finish my last two years as a collegiate athlete. 


What your daily schedule looked like as a DI athlete

This is something that many people might not realise, your extremely busy as a student/athlete! My schedule changed between fall and spring of course due to being in season and out of season but my daily schedule looked similar to this:


6am - Wake up & track sleep cycle 

7am - Locker room / treatment

8am - Training 

11am - Classes until around 3pm or 5pm

6pm - Dinner 

7pm - Study hall for assignments / homework / tutors

9 or 10pm - Bed 


In the US we were fortunate enough to have some of the best facilities in the nation and our sleep along with performance levels were tracked daily in order for us to achieve the best recovery results. Treatment was also an essential part of my schedule, pretty much everyday we would be in the physio room doing treatment to get back to our best levels. Whether it was a massage, ice-bath or compression tights, we had the best of the best to help give us the best chances on the field. Along with our athletic facilities we also had access to academic facilities that provided us with all the help we needed in the classroom. Tutors are available to athletes if you need help in certain subjects. The universities are trying to make sure that you cross that stage at the end of your four year cycle so academics play such a vital role in your experience.


What have you found challenging during your time in America?

The most challenging is always going to be living away from family, especially being from Ireland we don’t get the luxury like other kids to have family and friends at games or come and visit for weekends. We can only see loved ones once a year or so, so that’s definitely the most difficult thing for me. 



What have you found most rewarding during your time in America?

The overall experience of living away, being on your own, the independency of it all honestly. There is always going to be opportunities that come along with the whole experience, but for me those things I mentioned above really set you up for the next stage in your life whether that be within the game or not, it really makes you grow up fast.   


After graduation moving to Ireland to play with Derry City and Finn Harps. What were the differences between DI soccer and League of Ireland?

There is a massive difference! Of course, leaving Ireland to come to America I was a little more ahead of some of the people here just because we bleed football back home, where as here there is a lot more options for kids tend to develop at a different pace, in some cases. 


For me going back home to play was a big deal, I always wanted to play in the League of Ireland and I knew I was at that level so getting the opportunity was something I really looked forward too. 


The LOI (League of Ireland) is a much higher level than college, much faster, players are technically better and way more physical. 


College in America did set me up for most of that though because within the 4 years I was out here my body definitely changed which helped me going back home to play.  


You've recently signed with FC Tucson. How is that going and what are your plans for the future?

Yes, so I've moved back out to America recently. I’m loving FC Tucson honestly, it’s a club that has everything in place to succeed at the highest level and in my opinion it won’t be a League One club much longer. The club has aspirations to move up and it has all the tools to do so. It’s very professional and run probably better than half the LOI (League of Ireland) clubs if I’m being honest. 


For me, I always want to play at the highest level I can, so it’s constantly about improving and reaching the top and out here the highest level is MLS (Major League Soccer) so that’s the aspiration. I played the highest level back home and want to say I did the same here. 


Niall Logue
Niall Logue

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