WHEN injury forced former professional football player, Fraser Gibson, 25, to rethink his future, his thoughts soon turned to helping other young people with sporting talent to follow their dreams.
The result is his newly-created company, United Sports USA, an international sports scholarship consultancy set up to help young talented athletes from across Scotland gain sports scholarships to American Universities and colleges.
Fraser, from Dumbarton is himself a former US student and graduate from Northern Illinois University (NIU).
It was during his time as a young player with Rangers FC, that Fraser was given the opportunity to continue his football career and study at NIU.
However, after returning to Scotland to continue his playing career, he was recently hit by an achillies injury.
Forced to re-evaluate his options, Fraser decided he wanted to help young athletes from Scotland and the UK to have the chance to experience the coaching, lifestyle and future that American university sports offer to students, worldwide.
To help start his business, Fraser approached the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) which supports 18-25 year-olds across Scotland to set up and continue in business.
With help from PSYBT, he took the first steps in planning his business and was nominated to receive funding from the BT Scotland Young E-ntrepreneurs awards scheme. T
he scheme is focused on encouraging young people to use e-commerce to boost their start-up companies. Through the scheme, which is now in its tenth year, BT Scotland has invested more than £400,000 in supporting new Scottish businesses.
Commenting on his new business, Fraser said: “There’s lots of sporting talent in Scotland and the rest of the UK, and I don’t think that many young athletes realise what a fantastic opportunity there is overseas to continue their studies whilst following their sporting dreams and gaining top class coaching in their chosen sport at the same time.
“I wanted to use my experience and create a business that will help students combine their sporting talent and goals with an academic career without compromising on either.
“I definitely couldn’t have set up United Sports USA without the support of PSYBT and BT Scotland.
“My business is heavily focused on the Internet both in terms of being an important channel to attract the attention of young people, as well allowing applicants to register and apply online. For us, as a company, it also means we can quickly and effectively communicate with our international audiences, such as coaches, talent scouts and other contacts.
“United Sports USA supports students right from the initial academic and sporting assessment through to finding a suitable scholarship, and finally getting them prepared for their time in the States.
“To qualify, the applicant must be playing sport at a competitive level and they must be motivated and dedicated individuals. It’s all about being a good student, both academically and as an athlete.”
Any students interested in applying through United Sports USA must go through an extensive application process.
Initially, this consists of an evaluation for academic level, discussions about personal, academic and athletic goals, and a sports assessment. This will involve a United Sports USA trial match in their chosen sport, which might be golf, tennis, swimming, or track and field, and rankings and times are used to determine if students will be able to compete at US college or university level.
This is followed by support throughout the eligibility process including preparation for the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), which every student entering University in America has to take.
Commenting on the process, Fraser said” “Once the students have gone through the application process our team of sports consultants step in to broker the best possible scholarship offer for our students. This is where it gets exciting, ie choosing which university might be right for you. Lastly, we take our students through final preparations for their next four years at university, including organising visas, insurance and so on.”
Brendan Dick, director at BT Scotland, said: “Fraser has created a Scottish consultancy business which require an international presence and his website means he is able to operate on a truly global level in managing and growing his business at home and overseas.”
Commenting on Fraser’s success to date, Dunbartonshire PSYBT regional chair, Douglas Jackson said: “Fraser has applied exactly the same traits that made him a great sportsman – determination, dedication, energy and commitment – to his new business and it’s paying off.
“Fraser is not only creating a great career and future for himself but through his consultancy he’s helping other talented young people to benefit from his experiences overseas and combine their sporting future with studies.”
Issued by Jen Nash of Panache Communications. Tel no: 07971 466 220. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information contact the BT Scotland press office: 0800 0850 660 or Margaret Gibson and Louise Moore of PSYBT on 0141 248 4999. You can also check out the PSYBT website at www.psybt.org.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information visit www.unitedsportsusa.com or call Fraser Gibson on 0754 564 2713.
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