Konteh is to fly from the Bees and go to America

Joel Konteh
Joel Konteh

As Harborough Town manager Nick Pollard gets his plans in place for next season, one player he knows he will have to do without is Joel Konteh.

That is because the talented midfielder has taken a scholarship to study in America and will be joining the East Central College in Missouri.

It is a big step for the 19-year-old but one he feels is an exciting opportunity.

“I’ve spent my whole life in Harborough and played for every age group and side at Harborough Town,” he said.

“This is a whole new adventure for me and a new challenge.

“There might be a little bit of nerves but it’s something I’m really excited about and looking forward to.

“I’m fully aware it’s a good opportunity. I get to study and play in a different country and a different culture.”

The chance came about after an agent spotted him playing and put forward the idea of going to America.

Konteh explained: “Someone who works for United Sport USA messaged a few of us after a game to see if we would be interested.

“It seemed like a really good thing for me to do so I went for it.

“It won’t be like living in the UK and doing it.

“Although it’s amateur, there is a very professional approach to their college sport. College sports are massive out there.

“It also gives me the chance to study at the same time and mix with varying nationalities.

“I had offers from a few colleges but opted for this one mainly because of cost.

“Although some of the costs are covered, there were some colleges which were just still too expensive.”

Andy Shakarji, head soccer consultant at United Sports USA, added: “ “I am delighted for Joel as he will be joining one of the top Junior College programs in the United States.

“I remember the first day I watched him at our assessment event and his movement and range of passing was outstanding.

“I rate him very highly and he has all the attributes of a box-to-box midfielder.

“His game is tailor made for US collegiate soccer, and I have no doubt he will go on to have a successful four years in the States”.

And before Konteh finally heads off he had words of praise for Bees boss Pollard and the help he has given him.

“I am naturally a good footballer,” he said. “Without sounding too big-headed I understand the game and I’m fairly intelligent when I play.

“Nick’s really helped me with my approach.

“He’s a drilled manager and he’s taught me when to be serious and when you can relax.

“I’ve matured under him and I’m a lot more switched on.”