"I think it's a typical British thing to not venture too far. The opportunity came up for me, and I haven't looked back since."
Name: Adam Moffat
Previous clubs: Ross County, Elgin City, Cleveland City Stars, Columbus Crew, Portland Timbers, Houston Dynamo, Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas
Current club: New York Cosmos.
Location: New York needs no introduction. Home to the Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the Headquarters of the United Nations. The city attracted close to 60 million tourists in 2015. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial centre of the world. It is estimated to have a gross domestic product of $1.45 trillion.
Adam Moffat, born in Glasgow, whose first venture into football came with Ross County, is now an established player in USA and does not see himself returning to Britain in the future. In football it helps to have contacts in the right places, and it was an old coach of Adam's who got in touch about a potential move to America.
“I had an old coach of mine who was friends with Martin Rennie who ended up being a coach for Vancouver Whitecaps. He had a team in the small leagues and he asked me if I wanted to go over for the summer and play in Cleveland in the third tier in the US. At the time I was between clubs in Scotland after a spell with Elgin City, thinking about the next move, and now I've been here ever since.”
Things snowballed from there for the midfielder and he now finds himself at his seventh different club in the country. In his time there he has won the Eastern Conference three times in total, once with Columbus Crew in 2008; when they went on to win the MLS Cup as well, and back to back with Houston Dynamo in 2011 and 2012.
Moffat's current club is the New York Cosmos who play in the North American Soccer League which is effectively the second tier of football in the country. However there is no promotion from and relegation to the league but it is something which may be considered in the future. The Cosmos are the reigning champions in the NASL and is a club with a lot of history. The rebirth of the club came about in 2010 after initially operating between 1970 and 1985. Pele spent two years playing for the club and is now their honorary president.
The club's first game back was in 2011 as the opponent to Manchester United for Paul Scholes's testimonial match when Eric Cantona managed the team. Former Villarreal player and Spanish international Marcos Senna played for the club between 2013-2015, whilst legendary Real Madrid striker Raul turned out for them last year.
It is a far cry for Moffat playing for a club steeped in history compared to his days in Scotland, and he loves the game in USA.
“There is far more diversity in the game here, with so many different backgrounds amongst the players here. I find there is a bigger blend of playing styles and it's been good for a Scottish guy like me to pick up things from South American players, which has allowed me to adapt my game, to infuse all these different parts and develop.”
The 30-year-old midfielder is certainly accustomed to life across the pond now, and with his family settled in USA he is enjoying his football despite missing Scotland for obvious reasons.
“I've been here over nine years now, I'm married with kids, and I've lived in four or five different states and they're all good for their own reasons. It's a good laid back lifestyle here, and the weather is always better than in Scotland!” he says in jest.
“My parents are still in Scotland, and it is tough not being able to get home too often, but they come over a few times a year. I miss the food surprisingly! But when you grow up on it you miss those things. Friends come over and visit now and again but it's still always good to get back and catch up.”
When asked about the rise in popularity of 'soccer' in USA, Moffat responded in an upbeat manner about how good it is to see the game continue to get more and more people involved.
"Is the game's popularity continuing to rise in the country?" I asked. "Certainly", he said assertively.
“I came over in 2007, the same year that David Beckham joined LA Galaxy and obviously things have picked up a great deal since then. So many teams are now joining the leagues, and it's great to see the younger generation getting involved in the game. The 40-50 year-olds here didn't get to play the game when they were younger, so they've enjoyed picking it up at a later stage.”
Moffat's transition from Scottish football to the American game has been hugely successful and he can be an example for others to follow. He thinks more players need to jump into these opportunities when they arise.
“I think it's a typical British thing to not venture too far. The opportunity came up for me, and I didn't think twice about it. Perhaps British players aren't the most wanted type of player in terms of style that clubs want to bring in, but it's definitely worth getting involved in a different experience, not only for the football but for a new life.”
The midfielder is enjoying life so much that he doesn't see a return to Britain as a realistic possibility in the future, certainly not for football anyway.
“I'm settled here, I'm 30 years old, maybe if I was to return it would have been a few years back, but at this stage it would be a bit much to move my family back over there. I really enjoy it here, I've lived in some great places and had a great time along the way. Even when my playing career is finished, I would like to carry on living over here.”
For any British based footballers out there who have perhaps considered a move abroad. all I can say is that in the interview with Adam Moffat, it was apparent that he felt it was one of the best decisions he has made, for so many reasons.
Playing Away From Home exists to give fans and players an insight into what it's like playing in a foreign country, and this is yet another interview which shows that these type of opportunities should not be missed.
Thanks to Mauricio Villarrael, New York Cosmos for assisting on this article.
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