Canberra United NYL star James Fletcher will miss the remaining games of the season as he heads over to the United States to pursue a scholarship opportunity.
The 18-year old will play for Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on a scholarship while completing a four-year degree in Business and Sports Marketing.
While the young fullback said he is excited for the opportunity, he lamented missing the rest of the season with his United teammates.
“It is disappointing [missing the games], it’s probably the only negative,” he said.
“It is cutting through that season, and I’ve made a lot of friends for life from the NYL, we’ve got a close bunch of boys.”
“We have been pretty unlucky and the scoreline hasn’t reflected how we’ve played, we particularly deserved results from those first two games. I’m proud of everyone this season.
Making a big move has been on Fletcher’s mind since the closure of the FFA Centre of Excellence during 2017, and he is confident he has timed the move right after finishing school, enjoying almost two seasons of Foxtel Y-League and playing a season with Gungahlin United in the NPL.
“I am confident I timed it right, I’m not leaving too much unfinished business outside of the NYL,” he said.
“One of the major reasons for staying an extra year was getting to be part of the two NYL seasons, particularly Canberra United’s inaugural season.”
“Getting to play against and alongside some of the best young players in the country has been such a great opportunity.
“I’ve enjoyed learning every week, loved every day and playing with a great bunch of boys and under great coaching staff has been fantastic.”
United head coach Dean Ugrinic said while it was tough to lose a player of Fletcher’s calibre, it was also a great move for the youngster.
“This is a great opportunity for Tex that he has taken with both hands, and while it would be nice to have him for the rest of the season we’re certainly not disappointed.
“Everyone here is ecstatic for him and the chance that it presents him with.”
“He has definitely grown in the environment we have provided him with this season and he’s been one of our standout players so far in the campaign.
“His success and the success of Mikey [Katsoulis] and Nick [Faust] are testament to the environment we can create here in Canberra and it’s just unfortunate that we don’t have the next level of the pathway.”
Canberra United continue their season on Sunday afternoon against Sydney FC, kicking off at Deakin Stadium at 4pm.
The boys will be looking to bounce back from a last minute loss to the Central Coast on Saturday.