FOOTBALLER Dominic Francis is off to the USA – to hone his playing skills.

Dominic, who lives in Shelley, has been offered an academic/sports scholarship at Genessee Community College in New York State.

The 18-year-old will jet off to America in early August for two years of study after securing his place through Sporting Chance USA.

Dominic said: “I had heard that there were excellent opportunities to be had in the US college system and I thought rather than go to an English university, I would give the US a try.

“The great thing about playing in America is that you get to train six days a week on some of the best facilities in the world and at the end of it, you come out with a full degree, which will help me with my future career.

“Sporting Chance USA told me that I would have a great chance of landing a top scholarship award as I had good academic grades and fortunately that has been the case.”

Dominic began playing football with Emley Boys FC. At the age of eight, he was selected to attend training sessions at the Manchester United Youth Soccer Academy, where he remained for 18 months.

He returned to local soccer with Lepton United FC, where he was voted player of the year at under-12s level.

In 2005/2006, he was a member of the successful Kirkburton FC team which went the whole season undefeated and topped the Huddersfield & District Junior Football League.

Dominic, a former pupil at Shelley College, has continued to play his soccer at Kirkburton FC and at the Huddersfield New College Soccer Academy, where he was coached on a daily basis by ex-Manchester City player Paul Futcher.

Once in the States, the left-sided defender will join his new team mates for a tough pre-season programme.

Going to play and study in the USA will be cheaper for him than going to a UK university as his scholarship includes all tuition fees, accommodation, food and insurance.

Dominic’s mum, Hazel, said: “Dominic pushes himself and wants to learn as much as he can about football.

“He’s sports mad. He plays football, five-a-side soccer and other sports.

“When he found out about Sporting Chance USA he attended some tutorials and he was hooked.”

Sporting Chance USA offers talented youngsters the chance to study and play sports including football, golf, tennis, basketball, athletics, swimming and diving, field hockey, volleyball, ice hockey and rowing.