'This course is the only one that would allow me the opportunity to get a UEFA coaching badge'
My Story Seamus Houghton SPorts & ExerciSe (Soccer) IT Carlow
It may seem a long way from Malin Head, Co Donegal to IT Carlow, but for soccer-lover, Seamus Houghton it has been the most direct and quickest route to his future career.
The former Carndonagh Community School pupil decided to make the journey because IT Carlow's BA Sports & Exercise (Soccer) is exactly what he wanted and something he couldn't get anywhere else. It was his top CAO choice.
The Level 7 course, delivered in collaboration with the FAI, is one of a suite offered at IT Carlow in partnership with sports bodies - the others being the GAA, Leinster Rugby and the IRFU. Graduates of the Level 7 course may progress to year four of the college's Level 8, BA in Sport Management and Coaching.
One of the things that marked this course out for Seamus (21), who is about to enter third year, is that it allows him to qualify for a UEFA B coaching badge. Seamus is in the best of company. Earlier this year, Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane and former Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, who played for Chelsea from 2000-2009 and a teammate of Robbie's at Tottenham Hotspur and LA Galaxy, completed their UEFA 'B' coaching diploma at IT Carlow.
Seamus says he is "definitely enjoying" IT Carlow and describes the facilities at the college as "fantastic".
Meanwhile, his soccer talent was quickly recognised in the south-east and it has already opened a number of new doors for him: the college awarded him an elite sports scholarship in the past academic year and he also signed for First Division side Wexford Youths.
Seamus also plays goalie for IT Carlow and, this summer, he was a member of the Team Ireland squad that travelled to Gwangju, South Korea for the World University Games. He was one of seven from IT Carlow on the Irish football panel for the games, by far the biggest representation from any college for that team. Seamus is still not quite sure what he wants to do when he graduates, but already he is eyeing up the "huge opportunities" to go to the US next summer on a J1 visa to do some coaching.
He says coaching in the US could be part of his future, while he is also considering PE teaching.