From Brixington Blues to the USA – Tyler Dobinson is currently ‘living the American dream’

PUBLISHED: 10:36 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:36 30 June 2020

Tyler Dobinson in action during a USA College game. Picture TD

Tyler Dobinson in action during a USA College game. Picture TD

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Tyler Dobinson hails from Exmouth, but he is making a big impression on the College football scene and can certainly lay claim to currently ‘living the American dream’, writes Steve Birley.

Tyler Dobinson, who has a family home in Exmouth and is currently making a name for himself in Colege football in America. Picture TDTyler Dobinson, who has a family home in Exmouth and is currently making a name for himself in Colege football in America. Picture TD

The 23-year-old has earned a series of accolades Stateside, including being named the 2019-20 Herkimer College Male Athlete of the Year.

The central defender was also named to the All Mountain Valley Conference team, First team All-Region III, Region III all-tournament team, national all-tournament team, first team NJCAA All-American and second team United Soccer Coaches All-American team.

Tyler’s family home remains in Exmouth where he grew up and, in terms of his football journey to the current accolades he has won in the USA, he began his association with the sport playing for Exmouth-based Brixington Blues when, as a seven-year-old he started his footballing life as a right winger.

Spotted by Exeter City, he joined the Grecians Academy and stayed with them for four yearsand there is a strong local link that comes to the fore when you ask Tyler about his early days and influential coaching.

Tyler Dobinson at the end of a game in the USA. Picture TDTyler Dobinson at the end of a game in the USA. Picture TD

He said: “My first coach was Simon Denny (father of current Exmouth Town star Aaron Denny) and he certainly helped me develop my game as a youngster. Under his guidance and coaching, Simon got me to the level needed to trial at Exeter City.”

As to the question: “What position he wanted to play as a youngster?”

Tyler responds: “As a youngster I was very happy on the right wing, but as I developed and the coaching intensified, I grew into a central midfield berth and now it seems that centre back is where I am most comfortable.”

Exmouth footballer Tyler Dobinson who has earned a series of accolades in the USA including being named the 2019-2020 Herkimer College Male Athlete of the Year. Picture FIRSTPOINTUSAExmouth footballer Tyler Dobinson who has earned a series of accolades in the USA including being named the 2019-2020 Herkimer College Male Athlete of the Year. Picture FIRSTPOINTUSA

When it comes to his favourite team he says: “I was actually born in Southampton so they are my favourite team and, as a youngster, it was French international Zinedine Zidane who was very much my favourite player.

“When I was at Bramdean School in Exeter, the football coach Mr Martin took a team to Spain to compete in the MIC Tournament where Zidanes son was also playing, so that helped cement my favouring all things Zinedine Zidane.”

Tyler is unsure as to his first ever game, but he does have one amusing recollection of his early footballing days.

He explained: “I don’t remember the exact match, but I can certainly still see and hear my dear Mum running up and down the sideline shouting ‘don’t you let him have that ball’!”

We then asked Tyler how he came to be in the USA and he said: “After leaving School, I went to Exeter College to study BTEC Sports and Excellence and we had a group come in who gave a talk all about the sort of opportunities that were available to us.

“That had quite an effect on me and we got in touch with Firstpoint, USA.

“I took part in showcases in Stevenage and Glasgow, where coaches from all over the United States were present to cast the eye over players, and I was fortunate enough to get an offer from Herkimer Community College.

“It’s a two-year course and, in my first year, we were unfortunately beaten in the national semi-finals.

“In year two I was appointed captain, but disaster struck and I tore my ACL which put me out of the game for 12 months.

“The injury came in the seventh match of the season, but the college were good enough to let me repeat my second year and again they made me captain.

“We made it to the national final and once again I was fortunate enough to pick up some individual accolades.”

Having eventually completed his two-year stay with Herkimer, Tyler was offered a scholarship to continue his studies, and playing career, at Barry University in Miami where he is at present.

However, like the rest of the world, earlier this year things came to a grinding halt owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, but there is high hope that the pre-season period will start in August.

We asked Tyler what the biggest difference is between football here in England and over there in the USA.

He said: “The standard and pace vary from college to college, but colleges are recruiting more and more from Europe so it’s a mixture of technical ability and then the athleticism of the guys here in America.”

To date, the biggest game that Tyler has played in has been the College national final of 2019, a game his side lost 2-1, sunk by a last-gasp penalty.

Football is his main sport, something he alluded to when saying: “Right now, I only really concentrate on football, but growing up I was involved with a lot of other sports such as rugby, cricket and golf, so it’d be fair to say I am keen all-round sportsperson.”

Tyler, who is studying Business Management, is set to graduate from Barry in May 2022, but he harbours the ambition of perhaps being offered a footballing opportunity with a club in the States.

When asked about the training regime he has in America, Tyler added: “We train every day, either in the morning before class or in the afternoon once class has finished.

“Then, on three days of the week, we have a double session which involves weight training and, once a week, sports psychology.

“As for travel, we really can go any distance. It all depends who is on your fixture list. America is a huge country and there can be some long trips!

“The college season starts in August and ends in December, which takes up the first semester of college.

“Then when we return back to school after Christmas we have a spring schedule, which is made up of friendlies.”

When asked what he misses most about home, Tyler says: “Friends and family has to be the biggest ‘miss’. I do manage to get home twice each year at Christmas and again for a summer break and it’s always lovely to be back home.”

Finally we asked Tyler if there was anything else he wanted to add, to which he responded: “I must place on record my sincere thanks to Simon [Denny] for getting me started and everyone else, family, friends and associates, who have played roles in getting me to where I am, and a special thank you also to Andrew Kean from Firstpoint USA for his continued support and making the American dream come true.”

We wish him well with his continuing ‘American Adventure’.


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