IT’S the dream of every football-mad Edinburgh youngster to be one day plying their trade at Tynecastle or Easter Road.
However, having pulled on both green and maroon in the past, one player has his sights set further afield.
Ben Voy is set for an education on and off the pitch as he prepares to take up a footballing scholarship at St Mary’s University in Texas.
The 18-year-old former Hibs and Hearts youth player will join up with the St Mary’s “Rattlers” while studying for a business degree at the university based in San Antonio.
Boyhood Hibee Ben, who starred alongside Fraser Murray in the Easter Road club’s youth ranks, said he was “excited” to be heading stateside later this year and is determined to make the most of his opportunity.
“I’ve seen how big college sport is in America, they have massive stadiums absolutely packed with fans and other students and to have that experience will be amazing,” he said.
“I was over there in March and it was fantastic, all the guys who play for the Rattlers live together and you can really see the closeness they have.
“Off the pitch as well, it’s a great opportunity to go over there and study, I’m hugely grateful for the opportunity and I want to make the most of it.”
The centre-half was in the youth system at Tynecastle before departing two years ago to focus his attention on studies outside football.
But after impressing Rattlers bosses at a trial day hosted at Oriam last month, Ben was contacted by United Sports USA, who offered him the opportunity to play at a full-time level in the States.
St Mary’s Rattlers currently play in the NCAA division two, the second tier of the American collegiate sports system, and Ben said he was impressed with the standard of football on a visit to the university last month.
“The biggest thing that hit me was the heat, I was running around pouring with sweat and the guys I was training with had a few layers on because they were cold,” he revealed.
“That was a bit surprising and when you see the scale of the facilities they have there, it’s really impressive.
“It’s just as professional as the game over here, maybe more at that level, so there’s definitely the opportunity to go further. I don’t want to say I’m focusing on playing in the [American top division] MLS. I’ve been given the opportunity to play football, which is what I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
United Sports USA coach Ross MacKinnon said: “This will be a great opportunity for Ben to continue his football at a full-time level and also study towards a degree in his chosen field. We look forward to tracking Ben’s progress on the field, in the classroom and seeing the opportunities that arise from studying in such a fantastic city.”