A STRETFORD soccer star has American dreams for life after his glittering college career, however, this is not the first time Tom Cosgrave has made it big.
As when he was born in 1991, weighing an astounding 13lbs 4oz, he was named Britain’s biggest baby.
And at 13 he hit the headlines again, when his size 14 feet were deemed too large for any of the standard shoes demanded by Stretford Grammar School.
However, after leveling out at a more manageable 6ft 3” and 15 stone, 21-year-old Tom has already forged an impressive career for himself in the states.
Having played for Altrincham FC from 16 to 18, Tom was offered four different scholarships to colleges in America, but decided Belhaven University was the best option for him.
Tom said: “I was still at Trafford College when I was offered my scholarship and I was delighted to have the chance to not only play football full time, but to have the chance to experience a new way of life in the states and start a new chapter in my life.”
During his time at Belhaven, Tom has been awarded many accolades, including National Association of Intercollegiate (NAIA) defensive player of the year, Musco Lighting Champions of Character Award and being made captain for Belhaven.
Tom said: “Winning the awards were a great achievement for my performances but it was nothing compared to the feeling of winning the national championship and knowing we are the best team in the the USA at university level.
“Many pros in USA go to university there before so they have a degree and the university standard is still very high.”
In fact, Belhaven did extremely well to win at nationals, having been seeded 12 out of 12 teams, but defied everyone’s expectations to be crowned victors, with Tom named as defensive player of the tournament.
Tom plans to go back to the US for trials and, if nothing comes of that, put his sports medicine degree to good use and open his own soccerdome and athletic performance centre.
Tom’s mum Jackie said: “We are so proud of Tom, what he has done is an amazing achievement for a boy from Stretford and shows youngsters what can be achieved by being committed to your game and working hard.”