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US athletes boost Nottingham's sporting success


Lauren Agan, FUN America scholar

The experience of a lifetime

Born in Minnesota, raised in Austin and now a postgraduate in Nottingham – Lauren Agan is heading up a US invasion of athletes here to play sport and gain a world-class education. 

Former Northwestern State volleyball outside hitter, Lauren is the new Friends of the University of Nottingham (FUN) America scholar for this academic year, the 27th recipient of the award since the scholarship was established in 1997. Thanks to FUN America's support, Lauren is able to continue playing volleyball while studying for a Masters in Health Psychology. 

"I thought it was an awesome opportunity," said Lauren. "Studying abroad while also continuing the sport I love so dearly has been an absolute dream come true and I'm only on week three!

"Everyone knows the stresses finances can bring. As a recipient of the FUN scholarship, I can confidently say my finances are not my main worry and I can focus my time on my studies, volleyball and travel. You have no idea how much receiving this scholarship means to my family and I – I will forever be appreciative that I was able to enjoy this experience of a lifetime!"

A winning formula

Lauren is one of 45 elite American athletes enticed this year from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1, a loose equivalent to the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league. More widely, 160 talented athletes are being supported by scholarships at the University this year, more than double the number from two years ago as Nottingham forges ahead with an ambitious sports programme on and off the field. 

The University is the fourth in the UK for student sport, with more student sport clubs than any other UK university and entering more teams into the BUCS leagues than any other institution – winning 15 league titles and trophies in the 2016/17 season. The opening of the new £40m David Ross Sports Village, with its state-of-the-art facilities, allows elite athletes studying here at Nottingham to benefit from a world-class sporting experience combined with an excellent education. 

The outstandingly talented roster of US talent this year includes: 

  • Sean Cicchi – multi-capped Team USA field hockey player formerly of the University of California, San Diego
  • Derek Knott, LaQuan Lambert and Pierce Riponti – American footballers and all Patriot League Championship winners with Leahigh University
  • Karly Zlatic – former Harvard women's footballer who represented the USA in the 2017 World University Games
  • Moriah Earley – former University of Southern California women's footballer
  • Clara Goni – former University of California, Berkeley field hockey player
  • Katie MacLeay – former University of Colorado lacrosse player
  • Maxx Lipman – former University of Florida tennis player

"Welcoming professional athletes from the United States has multiple benefits," said Phil Wood, Nottingham's Scholarship and Recruitment Manager, who himself coached American football in the US under legendary coach Dennis 'Denny' Dowds at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. "These talented young people get a world-class education, they continue their sport beyond their NCAA eligibility time and they spend a year abroad. Of course, for us, it means their skills, knowledge and experience strengthens our University squads. It's a winning formula."

Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017

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