Off to college
Former Cornwall College student Solano Birch takes up football scholarship in North CarolinaThursday, August 12, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
MONTEGO BAY, St James - Former Cornwall College student Solano Birch, who was a member of the school's football team that won the Intersecondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Champions Cup in 2018, is eager to get the next chapter of his life,which started after taking up a football scholarship at National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division 2 school Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina.
The Cornwall College team created history by being the first rural school to lift the all-island knock-out title in 2018.
Birch left the island last week and will be in North Carolina in time for the start of pre-season on August 15 and the start of the season on September 18.
The player, who started his career at Herbert Morrison before moving across town to Cornwall College, said he is excited to be part of a squad that has players from 10 other countries including the USA, England, Germany, Spain, Uruguay, Ireland, Colombia, Italy, Brazil, and Chile.
“I am very excited to be a part of this team, it is a very diverse one where ethnicity is concerned… it should be one of the most in-depth for a while as it relates to talent,” he told the Jamaica Observer West.
Birch revealed that he will be studying pre-pharmacy “with the aim of admission to pharmacy school post-graduation,” adding that he found out about the school while searching on the Internet.
“I learnt about this school during my college search process during which I was contacted by a recruiting account on Instagram who saw some of my clippings on my account, they encouraged me to post my highlights on YouTube and referred me to the coaching staff at Catawba. Not long after I was contacted by the assistant coach of Catawba and this is the end product,” he said.
Birch has not played organised competitive football for over a year and with just days to get into condition to participate in the pre-season, he said he was looking forward to the challenge.
“I'm looking forward to challenging my flexibility and to see how best and how soon I can adapt to the new environment, pitch and weather conditions for the most part.
“I haven't been able to play organised football since the pandemic (novel coronavirus) started, my last organised match was unfortunately my first for Faulkland FC sometime around March 2020. Since then, I've been training personally and at times with friends who have similar interests,” he said.
The last 15 months, he added, had taught him a lot.
“This experience has shown me how hard it is to train alone as the lack of competitive motivation has its effect, however, I believe I am fit enough to challenge for my spot in the team, and additional individual sessions I will incorporate to catch up with whatever I lack,” he argued.