My name is Doug Homan and I’m from Manasquan, NJ. I am currently getting my masters at Manchester Metropolitan in International Business Management. I play for Poynton Lacrosse Club (Go Blackbirds!). I had a little different experience than most of the guys in the LTP program as I have worked in England before.
Back in 2012, I was the Local Development Officer (LDO) in Sheffield, working for the English Lacrosse Association. My job was to assist in coaching the Sheffield Steeler’s U11-U19 teams while going into local primary and secondary schools to ‘spread the word’ of lacrosse to encourage students to play the game we all love. While coaching, I was also lucky enough to play with a great group of guys on their senior team. When I first started, I couldn’t believe that these English guys played about the same schedule as most European soccer teams by playing on the weekend from September to about May. That meant a lot of cold, rainy/snowy games. It was also the first time I have ever heard of a game being called off due to a FROZEN pitch (field). While working there, I also had the opportunity to travel (Italy, Netherlands, Barcelona, Sevilla, Paris, and Morocco). It was a great experience and it paved the way for where I am today.
This summer, I spoke with some of my old UK friends about getting my masters and they told me about LTP. At the time, I had already been accepted to Montclair State Uni. After looking at the costs and time of MSU (or any US Master program), I looked into UK degrees and found they are far cheaper and would take less time. I spoke with Sam, Mike, and Tim from LTP about my interest in coming back over to the UK and what schools would fit. They made the process very easy for me. They helped me apply to Manchester Metropolitan University a month before classes started. Knowing how little time I had, the LTP team worked extremely hard, calling the University each day to speed the process to make sure I got over here in time. They got in touch with me on a regular basis to update me on the process of my application, which kept my nerves at ease. Fast forward a few weeks and here I am in Manchester. Settling back into England was much easier this time around. There are still a few things that take some getting used to:
– First, they don’t have thick cut (streaky) bacon! Its almost like a mix of pork roll (for you NJ guys) and and bacon. However, UK bacon does go great with an english breakfast.
– English accents vary just as American accents do. Each major city basically has its own. Even after two years here, I still can’t tell you the difference.
– Getting used to public transportation. Its the main mode of transport. It is much cleaner and reliable than most back in the states. They know what they are doing here with this.
– Eggs don’t have to be refrigerated? Weird.
Those things aside, I love being over here. The lacrosse competitiveness has grown incredibly in three years. Many of the players in the teams I have seen in the North could easily star in DI-III programs in the states. After games on Saturdays, the guys go out together and have a good time. This usually starts once the last whistle blows and a few beers are shared between the teams. The LTP guys have been very supportive in making sure we (the LTP’ers) are enjoying ourselves and making the most of our journey. I am a big Manchester City FC supporter (GO BLUES!) and have been to several games this year already. My first game was vs Bournemouth which was 5-1. I am lucky enough that one of my teammates from Poynton has season tickets in the City supporter’s section. It was an unreal experience, singing songs with the fans, eating steak and potato pies, and drinking “sodas” at halftime. Another game I will NEVER forget was seeing Kevin De Bruyne score in injury time vs Sevilla in the Champions League at the Etihad! It was an incredible goal and helped us secure a spot in the knockout stages. Anyway, being here is a great experience that everyone should do if anyone has a chance. There’s always that thought, “I would love to travel Europe one day”. There’s no better excuse to do it while getting your masters degree!