A globe-trotting football coach who is teaching the beautiful game to youngsters in Tennessee has been voted the best in the entire state.
Corby ex-pat Andrew McGovern has won the 2011 state coach of the year for Tennessee, which has a population of more than six million people.
He will receive his award at the end of January from Tennessee State Soccer and also been put through to the USA regional coach of the year contest.
Mr McGovern, 27, who lives in Nashville, is the first person at his club, Harpeth FC, to win the award, and is one of the youngest as well.
Mr McGovern spent Christmas with his proud family – dad John, 54, mum Kathleen, 52, and sister Hayley, 21 – at home in Conyger Close, Great Oakley.
He then returned to the USA to see in the new year in Times Square.
Mr McGovern started playing for Oakley Lodge FC as a six-year-old.
He will be bringing some of his players over to England in July and is hoping they will be able to play at Corby Town’s new ground.
He said: “It is really flattering and was not something I expected to happen. I have been there for six years and I have been a coach for four.
“I am delighted, especially as I am so young. It gives me a lot of confidence for the future and lets me know I am doing the right things.”
The football structure in America is very different to the UK, with Harpeth having an annual budget of about $2.5m paid for by players’ families.
Mr McGovern said: “Our club is probably number five in the state and has 2,000 players from three to 18 years old.”
So with the Americans calling the game ‘soccer’, has Mr McGovern fallen into the same trap? He said: “I get tongue tied between the two but I still call it football.”
His dad John said: “To get this is just unbelievable. It’s his first full year with the club.”