Airdrie brothers relish US football scholarship opportunity

Two footballing brothers have made a seamless transition from Airdrie to America and patiently await the next chapter of their journeys once the Covid-19 crisis passes.

Cameron and Lewis Gamble, former pupils at Caldervale and Braidhurst High Schools respectively, moved “across the pond” after securing athlete-scholarships via FirstPoint USA.

The duo, two of eight sons to local business consultant Derek Gamble, have relished the experience; Cameron married in Portland last August off the back of nine years of study across the States, while Lewis is currently enjoying his second year of scholarship in Georgia.

Derek said: “As a parent I was keen to support my sons in their dream of being football players, but also wanted to make sure that they had an education Plan B.

“I suspect many parents will also think that their children are unlikely to make sport a paying career and I believe they would be interested in the academic route on the back of sport.

“For me this gave my sons the opportunity and the assurance that along with a great experience, many diverse friends and cultures, they would be set up well in life.”

On the path of Cameron, who played with Aberdeen and Falkirk in his youth, he continued: “Cameron received a scholarship to play and study at Long Island University, New York, where
he had a great football experience winning three championships while gaining two degrees in English and Philosophy.”

Realising that football was not going to be his career he used the opportunity in the US to concentrate on his studies.

Derek added: “At the end of the degree term he sat his GRE test to go to Grad School and ranked in the top two per cent of all students in the entire US.

“He was then offered one of only six fully-funded doctorate course places at the highly respected University of Oregon where he graduated this year with a PhD in Philosophy.

Lewis came through the performance school at Braidhurst High in Motherwell and is pictured (far left) with Josh McPake, Reece Geddes, Cameron Clark, (front) Joseph McPake and Leon McCann, under performance director Malky Mackay
Lewis came through the performance school at Braidhurst High in Motherwell and is pictured (far left) with Josh McPake, Reece Geddes, Cameron Clark, (front) Joseph McPake and Leon McCann, under performance director Malky Mackay
(Image: JEFF HOLMES/JSHPIX.CO 07802 610085/)

“At that point Cameron will have had nine years study and teaching experience in the US, hold two degrees, a Masters and a PhD, all on the back of being a football player.

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“He has had an unbelievable life experience living in the East and West coasts in New York and Oregon.

“He was married in August in Portland, to Larissa, his partner, who is a Doctor of Sociology and they will stay in the US as Postdocs to study, teach, research and hopefully publish their work.”

As for younger son Lewis, who spent time with Aberdeen and Motherwell youth teams as well as playing for Caledonian Braves, Derek added: “Lewis had more than 60 enquiries to play in the US, from New York to Hawaii, and finally opted for Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

“This is now his second year, he has established himself as a first pick – averaging 85 playing minutes in every game in his first season and making the Dean’s List academically.”

“Lewis lives in a fantastic location, one of the best cities in the US and will gain his degree from a truly world class institution.

“SCAD students are considered some of the most talented in the US and their stats of 99 per cent of those graduating will be employed in their chosen field within three months, many of them going to top companies such as Pixar, Disney, Sony, Google.”

For anyone hoping to follow in the Gamble brothers’ footsteps and pursue a US scholarship, professional footballers across the UK released from their clubs as a result of the coronavirus crisis will be offered free support.

Jamie Vardy is a former FirstPoint client, although he remained in the UK, and FirstPoint USA are offering chances to young professional players who may find themselves without a club within the next few months.

The move has been backed by football figures Owen Coyle, Ally McCoist and Jack Ross.

Andrew Kean, founder and CEO of FirstPoint USA, said: “Cameron and Lewis Gamble are two shining examples of just what’s possible when securing a US scholarship, at both the start and towards the end of that journey.”

Previous examples of FirstPoint scholar-athletes who have made the journey to America include Nicky Weightman and Max Todd (Hibs), Leon Jones (Hearts), Adam and Jordan Wilson (Rangers), Ed Brand (Chelsea), Ben Williams (Liverpool) and Chris Edwards (Partick Thistle).

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Daily Record – Motherwell