American Dream for Wigan Athletic starlet!

Young Harry Jolley perhaps has more reason than most to hope the world gets back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Harry Jolley (left) with older brother, CharlieHarry Jolley (left) with older brother, Charlie
Harry Jolley (left) with older brother, Charlie

The young defender, skipper of the Wigan Athletic Under-18 side that reached the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup this season, has secured a dream move to the USA – and a new life in university soccer.

Jolley, who recently turned 18, has secured a scholarship at the Northern Illinois University – an hour away from Chicago – and is waiting for the green light to start his American adventure.

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“I’ve always wanted to have a second plan outside football, in case it doesn’t work out for me,” he told the Wigan Observer.

“Some of the lads I played with last year are now working on building sites, and that wasn’t something I wanted to do.

“To have the opportunity of going over to America, and getting a degree, was an option that appealed to me a lot.

“Initially I looked at maybe trying to earn a professional contract over there but, the more and more I looked into it, I’ve seen the bigger picture.

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“I spoke to a few people from my old school, who are over there at the moment, and pretty much all of them said it was the best decision they’d ever made.

“The opportunity to travel – I’m meant to be going to California in August – the whole experience, it’s just something I couldn’t turn down.

“I didn’t want to look back in a few years and wonder why I didn’t take the opportunity.

“At this moment in time, this is absolutely the right thing for me to do, and I can’t wait to get out there.

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“Obviously everything’s up in the air at the moment (with the lockdown in the UK).

“Before all this happened, I was scheduled to go out in mid-August and, speaking to people, that is potentially still the plan.

“Things are obviously changing by the week, but they still seem pretty confident the season could start in August as planned.

“The season actually starts before the universities go back in September, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens..

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Jolley’s brother Charlie, a year older, in in the Latics Development Squad, having signed a pro deal last year.

And dad Steve admits the seeds for Harry’s move were planted 12 months ago.

“Charlie initially was looking at this, but the club came in and offered him a pro contract – which took a lot of the idea away from him,” he said.

“But as far as Harry was concerned, the more we looked into it, the more his ‘Plan B’ became his ‘Plan A’.

“He’s had the opportunity of seeing how hard it’s been for Charlie, and the whole idea has opened his mind a bit.”

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