Living the dream. Doing what many young aspiring Manxies aim to achieve. How did local footballer Liam Doyle become a Professional ‘Soccer’ player for Swope Park Rangers?
Q. Summary: name, age, birthplace & current location.
Liam James Doyle, July 1st 1992, Douglas, Isle of Man. Currently living in Kansas City Missouri, USA
Q. What school(s) did you go to on the island and abroad?
I attended Ballaquayle, Murray’s Road and Ballakermeen High School. My first two years in the USA were at Cincinnati state community college, then I transferred to The Ohio State University to play for the soccer team there, Ohio State Buckeyes!
Q. Quite simply, how did you get from the Isle of Man to where you are now?
I followed in the footsteps of some friends who attended University in the USA, going through the agency First Point USA. I was able to get my head down, work hard, have a couple of good years and sign a professional contract at the end of it all.
I went through a lot to get to where I am, from moving colleges to being picked in the MLS SuperDraft, and finally being signed into the USL – The United Soccer League.
Q. What did you study and/or what path led you to where you are right now?
I studied sports industry/sports management, with a minor in leadership. I always have been heavily involved in sports, it’s something that is natural to me so it made sense to study it.
Q. Do you think you could have gotten to where you are if you lived in the UK or elsewhere – if not further in your career?
No I don’t, even more so at the time when I was trying to fulfill my goals. In England, I feel that having an academy background and the ‘what have you done at youth level’ mentality hinders you.
Coming to the USA with the IOM background enabled me to come out of my comfort zone and go into professional environments where I could physically become much better and become a better all round player.
In the UK I was static and going nowhere footballing wise, the USA changed my mentality and attitude.
Q. Did growing up on the Island contribute towards where are you now? If so, how?
Yes, I feel the lack of opportunities presented at the youth level in the Isle of Man gives you the bit between your teeth to go and prove everyone wrong. Making it even more important when you do get an opportunity, you take it.
At the first point USA trials, you hear “oh I have been at such and such Premier League academy, I have done this and done that”. Then ultimately you go out there to play and it’s the lads from the Isle of Man who look like they have been at the academies.
The Manxies are some of the best players First Point USA has sent to the states.
Q. What’s been the most valuable mistake you’ve learned from?
I think control the factors that you can control, and don’t worry too much about those you can’t, I’m still learning this. I don’t pick the team and I can’t control what’s going at the club. But what I can is my work ethic, attitude and own performance.
Q. Have you ever thought ‘what the hell am I doing…’?
Ha yes – The start of the journey in the USA was tough, I struggled to begin with and there were times when I thought “get me home”. But staying was the best decision I ever made.
Q. What is your mindset and personality and how did it contribute to your success?
I was driven and determined especially in college. I knew what I wanted and knew what it would take to get it.
At a school like Ohio State, there are two sides to the coin. The first being it is an unbelievable school, with world-class athletic facilities, coaches, and teams, giving you the base to reach your goals. The other is 60,000 students on a first-class campus with so many outside factors other than sports that could throw you.
However, I was able to sacrifice that to put my football and academics first, which meant I could reach my footballing goals.
Q. Was it a difficult transition with any hurdles?
Leaving your family and friends, you cannot replace no matter how long you are away and how many new friends you make. It is still hard now seeing family and friends then having to leave them again. I don’t think that will ever become ‘easy’.
Q. Can you give some advice for someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
- Work hard
- Dedicate yourself to it 100%
- Enjoy it!!
- Use all of your resources
- Believe in yourself
Q. Do you have a strict diet?
I don’t have a strict diet really. In general, I eat well 90% of the time, the other 10%, well we all need chocolate in our lives!
I also love my brunches, but nothing compares to the IOM. I love going for eggs Benedict with the lads in the Isle of man, Noa bakehouse is very good and we also go to Harbour Lights Cafe.
Americans love their sugary items, I cannot get my head around how muffins and doughnuts are breakfast items!!
Q. How was it playing against Drogba?
It really was surreal, to see how good he was in his prime and what he has done in the game, then to get the chance to test yourself against him, it was a special moment. Of course, he is older now, but he still has a lot of quality, he’s clever and still very very strong.
Q. Name one thing you’d bring from the Island to the US and one thing you’d like to introduce to the IOM.
Tax, I would bring Manx tax.
Then I would bring chipotle to the Isle of Man, if you’ve eaten it you will understand! Would be a great business move too – perhaps life after footy…… or golf.
Q. What are the most random and stupid questions you’ve been asked about the Isle of Man?
I have had some dumb ones over the years. I have been asked do only men live on the Isle of Man….. some joking, some actually being serious! How many actual people live there, 500?…….
A good thing is the more people I talk to, the more they get to know about the Isle of Man and in particular the TT races, and so they should!
Q. Finally, has Trump made America great again?