Dundalk striker David McMillan has urged aspiring footballers of any age to take full advantage of the chance they are being given to realise a dream with the help of the DkIT Soccer Academy Scholarship scheme.
McMillan is a first-hand beneficiary of such a link-up having starred at the top level for UCD while also studying for five-years before obtaining his Architecture degree.
“A lot of players leave the country quite young but for those who aren’t able to do that it is important to get opportunities like this especially for careers that can be so short-lived,” McMillan said.
“It is great to see Dundalk and DkIT coming together because I think it will be of great benefit to both but especially Dundalk FC.
“You can have quite a bit of time if you are just playing football and if you are a driven person you could be keen to do something else. It would be great then to see any player take advantage of this opportunity, not just 18 or 19-year-olds, but mature students too so you can look at those players.
“Those guys might think it isn’t worthwhile because of your age but it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can come in and make an impact not just in the U19s but in the senior team.”
Interestingly, the former Sligo Rovers forward is the perfect man to give advice to players on not giving up hope as he was passed over for a scholarship when he first applied only to impress so much that he was consequently awarded one for his second year.
McMillan revealed: “I left school and filled out my CAO for UCD and went on a scholarship trial there and actually didn’t get it in my first year.
“I played with one of the Leinster Senior League teams and did extremely well and ended up getting a scholarship for the following two years of my degree.”
“For me, the course was quite difficult being that it was one with a lot of hours so you are skipping from lectures to training but whether I had a scholarship there or not, I still would have been playing sport,” he added.
“I would have been out there playing football at any level and it can be difficult if you are doing a big full-time course, football is something that can be a welcome distraction from it too.”