Sam Thorpe and Liam Roche – Where are they now?
Sam Thorpe and Liam Roche left FCV Academy for pastures new, and have both taken hugely different paths since moving on.
Roche finds himself in the final year of his University studies in the United States, whilst Thorpe is currently signed with Coalville Town.
Starting with Roche, the Northamptonshire-born defender played for Corby Town, Rushden and Diamonds, and Cogenhoe United before joining FCV Academy on a gap year in 2012-2013.
After leaving FCV, Roche set off for Muskingum University, Ohio, USA. Roche stayed with the Fighting Muskies for a season, before transferring to Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee.
In his first season with Trevecca, Roche played in 15 of the 17 fixtures, scoring twice. Then in the 2015-2016 season, the former Corby man played in every single match and returned a goal.
Roche has very much enjoyed his move to the US, and was full of thanks to FCV for the opportunity they helped to provide.
“Being at FCV ensured I was prepared for playing college soccer in the US,” explained Roche.
“It got me into the routine of training every day and playing against good competition. That way of life was something I needed to prepare for, for my arrival here in America. The football here has been brilliant.
“It’s a really strong competition and you are playing against players from all over the world. The college sports set-up is in the US is fantastic, you get top-class playing facilities, travel and sports medicine staff.
“I have a lot to thank the Academy for, they were great in supporting me getting over to the States. They allowed specific time when I needed it to study for my SAT exam which I needed to pass in order to be accepted into an American College, and also took me to the testing centre in Cambridge when it was time to take the exam.
“I am returning to the UK after getting my degree in sports science. I am really keen to stay around the game and want to get involved with working with a club where I can use my degree.”
Much like Roche, Thorpe joined FCV as a gap-year student. But for Thorpe it came because he was struggling for first-team football, and wanted to stay match-fit.
Thorpe played for the Academy last season and has since signed for Coalville, where he is beginning to make first-team appearances after originally joining their development squad.
Thorpe’s reasons for joining the Academy were clear – get fit, and work with top-level coaches to improve.
“When I got the opportunity to join FCV I jumped at the chance,” explained Thorpe. “FCV gave me the opportunity to get some game time under my belt and really work on my fitness.
“I knew I had to use my time at FCV to my advantage and find a club. Grantham was first, but that didn’t go as well as I’d have liked, it didn’t quite click there. So I continued my search and have ended up with Coalville. It was a great experience for me and the people there really helped me a lot. Chris Palmer helped me to find a senior team after it.
“If I could give some advice to the current squad, it would be to work hard and listen to the coaches - they do their best for you. I learnt a lot from them when I was there. If you’re stuck and you need advice, they’re always there for you. You have to show the coaches respect to earn it back - if you’re good to them, the coaches will see you alright.”
FCV Academy would like to wish both players all the best in their future endeavours and are delighted to see the experiences they gained in Stamford have stood them, like many others, in good stead.