Musselburgh Athletic striker Stephen MacDonald has had to adapt in more ways than one since making the switch to Olivebank from across The Pond in the summer.
Some things have been more difficult to grasp than others for the American, however. For the 6ft 2in frontman, getting to grips with the physical demands of the East Region Premier League has been the easier part.
Understanding the local dialect of his team-mates in order to be able to communicate effectively on the pitch has been the hard task for the former Seattle Pacific University footballer, who came over in the summer.
“Oh yes absolutely, especially at the beginning when there was some words which I didn’t really understand but now I think I seem to get it,” said the 22-year-old. “There is still a few times when someone talks a bit fast, I have to say ‘Sorry, what was that?’ They wind me up a lot because of it.”
Born to Scottish parents, Iain and Caroline, MacDonald’s plan was always to try his luck in Scottish football, and after completing his degree in Health, Fitness and Communication in Washington in June, he came over to these shores.
The striker initially had a trial with League One side Forfar Athletic, which didn’t lead to a contract offer, but Forfar’s loss has been Musselburgh’s gain with MacDonald proving an instant hit having scored seven in nine for Calvin Shand’s men so far, which has helped to fire them to the top of the Premier League.
He continued: “I’m enjoying it – it’s good to be back. Both of my parents are actually Scottish so I used to travel over every two or three years, but it’s good to be here for an extended period of time.
“They are in the process of moving back to Scotland. They just retired like four of five months ago so they’ve been travelling round and then they are going back to Phoenix, Arizona where I grew up to sell their house then move back to Scotland.
“The first two months I was here I stayed with my aunt and uncle. I always wanted to try and play football here after finishing univeristy, so I’m out here trying to play football now.
“My aunt and uncle live in Musselburgh so it was really easy to get settled in. I stayed with them for two months which helped immensely coming over to Scotland because I had a place to stay. It was one of their friends which got me in contact with Musselburgh to get me started with the team. I practised with them a few times and then signed.
“Right now my plan is to keep playing football and see how I do – try to move up maybe and maybe in a couple of years, depending on how my football is going, see what happens and make a different decision then. I’m just trying to focus on football and see how that goes for the next few years.”
Burgh make the short journey to Millfield Park tomorrow to take on East Lothian rivals Haddington Athletic in the second round of the Fife and Lothians Cup.
MacDonald will be looking to continue his current rich vein of form against Joe Hamill’s side, who too have made an impressive start to their campaign.
He added: “The football here is quite a bit different, but I like it and the way my team plays football. They play a nice passing style with possession, and I really like that, I get the ball a lot which is nice.
“I’d say the standard is kind of similar to college football. I’d say some of the players in my team over here are much better than some of the players I played with back home. The technical ability here is a lot better too, but it’s a lot more physical.
“We’re undefeated so far so hopefully we can keep that up and make some good runs in the cups.”