Donegal soccer star Roma McLaughlin says she’s loving the latest phase of her footballing journey.

The Greencastle native moved to America last month on a full scholarship with Central Connecticut State University, where she will feature for the college’s Blue Devils soccer team.

The 20-year-old, who made the switch from Carlowe IT, will combine studying for a degree in exercise science with playing in the Northeastern conference, with the first match of the season getting under way this Sunday.

She told the Inish Times: “America is something I’d been thinking about since I finished school but I felt I was never ready.

“I was contacted by a lot of colleges over here and it was just about finding the right one for me, and I think Connecticut was the best choice.

“We play in different conferences here and if you win it means you go to the last 32 in America which then goes to a knockout phase.

“We’ve been playing friendlies and have won six, drew one and lost one, so hopefully we will have a good season.”

The Ireland international, who played for Peamount Utd in the national league before switching to their Dublin neighbours Shelbourne, admits it was a tough decision to leave home.

But the chance to avail of free college tuition while at the same time broadening her soccer experience was, she says, too great an opportunity to miss out on.

“It was a massive decision to leave,” she said. “I was playing with a lot of great people and best friends of mine so it was never going to be easy.

“I miss home a lot too. I talk to my mum and dad (Michael and Laura) every day and I already can’t wait to get back fro Christmas.

“But I am enjoying the experience that I’m having over here - I love it.

“As regards the Ireland squad, I’d hope to still be involved but it’s difficult to know as I’m over here - I’ll just have to wait and see what happens and take things as they come."

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