Ridgeons League players off to USA

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:05 04 March 2010

TWO Ridgeons League players are heading for America this summer to continue their education both on and off the field.

John Sargent, who plays for Premier Division Woodbridge Town, and Pat Fleming of First Division Hadleigh United are both off to the States to attend university on football scholarships.

TWO Ridgeons League players are heading for America this summer to continue their education both on and off the field.

John Sargent, who plays for Premier Division Woodbridge Town, and Pat Fleming of First Division Hadleigh United are both off to the States to attend university on football scholarships.

Sargent, who will be 19 in May, and 22-year-old Fleming were both at the Bury Football School at West Suffolk College and also played for Suffolk's FA County Youth Cup winning sides, although Fleming missed the 2005 final through injury.

They will be following in the footsteps of other Suffolk students such as Glenn Murphy, Tom Clements, Nick Kostov and Joe Beecroft.

Sargent, who lives in Clacton, started the season with Wivenhoe Town but in November joined Woodbridge, where he has established himself in the side.

He will be leaving at the end of July to go to Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, where he will spend the first two years undertaking general studies before specialising in either languages or business for the following two years.

Sargent, who can play in midfield or defence, attended trials at Queens Park Rangers' training ground where he was filmed and the video was placed on the internet.

He said: “Coaches then see the video and can approach you from there. I had a few offers, but this was the best one.

“I lived away from home, apart from the weekends, while I was at the West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds.

“I have always wanted to go to America ever since I was young, and this will enable me to combine studying at university with playing football.

“I am a little bit nervous, but I can't wait to go over, although I will miss playing here.”

Ipswich-born Fleming, who is in his third season at Hadleigh, will initially be going to Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, where he will study architecture.

The midfield player explained: “I went over to America and played in the USA Cup. I was asked then whether I would like to go back and I thought it would be a good idea.”

Fleming, who has missed more than two months of this season due to a cartilage problem in his left knee, was subsequently talent spotted while taking part in a 'showcase' match at Lilleshall.

He explained: “My dad had terminal cancer and my brother has cerebral palsy, so I didn't want to leave my mum to care for both of them.

“My dad passed away last July, and so I will now be going in June. He encouraged me to do it.

Fleming, who spent threequarters of a season at Needham Market with his former West Suffolk College coach Danny Laws, joined Hadleigh while he put his education on hold.

“I will spend the first year at Scottsdale College before attending another university for three years. I will have a look at some of the universities while I am over there before deciding where I will go.”

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