USLsoccer.com tracked down USL Second Division All-League, Second Team member Colin Falvey to ask one of USL’s most-traveled players the ins-and-outs of signing 8,442 miles away from his former club in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Falvey recently signed with his second New Zealand First Division club in two seasons, Young Heart Manawatu FC. Just one game into the 2009/10 season, Manawatu is 1-0-0 and in second place of the New Zealand Football Championship. Falvey played in 15 matches last season in USL-2, averaging over 86 minutes per game scoring in Wilmington’s 4-0 win over Western Mass on Friday, July 10.
USLsoccer.com: Talk about your USL-2 season and being named to the USL Second Division All-League, Second Team.
Colin Falvey: My first experience playing in America professionally is one I will never forget. I have played a lot of places around the world, but I can definitely say living in Wilmington, North Carolina right next to the beach, with the weather, laid-back lifestyle and good crowds we were bringing in must be one of the best places in the world to play as a professional.
As for on the field, it was a very successful one for myself and the club. I still think we were the strongest side in the league, we won the regular season and after playing 20 games, the league table does not lie.
Receiving the Defensive MVP honors from my teammates at Wilmington and being named to one of the All-League teams (USL Second Team All-League) is a great reward, but like any other player I would gladly swap it all for the championship medal the Kickers’ players won – not to take anything away from Richmond.
USLsoccer.com: How did you end up in New Zealand?
Colin Falvey: Originally, I was playing in the Irish League and my season and contract had just ended. I was given the opportunity by a former coach of mine to go play in New Zealand under Terry Phelan (Former coach at Manchester City, Chelsea, Charleston Battery and an Irish International). Phelan had lots of contacts in New Zealand, so I presume he put out some good reports on me and I was asked to sign.
This is actually my second season playing in New Zealand. My first season was at Otago United, where Phelan made me Captain. Later, Phelan recommended me to Dave Irivng of the Hammerheads, who he knew from his time in America while playing for the Charleston Battery. I really am very thankful and owe Phelan a lot, for making it possible to play abroad. The plan was to go back to Otago United this season, but with Phelan deciding to step down, I decided to sign a one season contract at a different club in New Zealand, called Young Heart Manawatu FC.
USLsoccer.com: What are the differences in the style of play between the leagues in New Zealand and the USL Second Division?
Colin Falvey: There are a few differences. In New Zealand, the play is a little bit more direct and physical. You get a little bit more time on the ball in USL, where teams are more patient in their build up. I really enjoy playing in both leagues.
USLsoccer.com: What is the schedule like in the New Zealand Football Championship (New Zealand’s First Division)?
Colin Falvey: It runs from November to March, parallel to the USL seasons, which is great as you get to play and get paid all year round. You also get to see and live in two wonderful countries.