Kicking It Around the Globe: LZ Alum pursues soccer passion in Scotland


Photo by VIP

Ian Murray, 2015 graduate, continued to pursue his soccer career in college, and later committed to play soccer as well as major in International Relations and Spanish at St. Andrews in the United Kingdom. Photo used with permission of VIP.

Jemma Kim, sports editor

While many LZ athletes end their sports seasons on Mel Eide Field, some may choose to continue in college – but only a lucky few will get the privilege to continue their careers all over the world.
Ian Murray, 2015 graduate, continues to soar across the world in his soccer and academic career as he double majors in International Relations and Spanish at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, United Kingdom.

“I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level possible. I wanted to play in college as soon as I started playing for LZHS,” Murray said. “After college, I’m going to [tryout] with as many teams as possible in the hope of being able to play professionally. I think that getting paid to do something you truly love is one of the most gratifying experiences. For me, playing soccer at the highest level has always been my main goal.”

While following his dream and playing soccer in Scotland, not everything is a fairy tale. He is facing some struggles in Scotland with school and soccer.

“School and soccer are both a lot different in the UK than they are back home. Soccer is very different at college in the UK because professional teams start developing players from such a young age here. All the guys are talented and [have] usually played for a professional team’s youth academy, but they [have] chosen to pursue a degree instead of continuing on with soccer,” Murray said.

“This has put me in a difficult [position] since I know the importance of getting an education, [so] I often feel like I’m wasting my chance to try and play professionally.”
Although Murray says most of his struggles come from adapting to living and playing in a new country, he finds the level of physicality to be the most noticeable difference between high school and college soccer.

“Generally, the higher the level, the more physical the game becomes. I’d also have to say that fitness is even more important in college soccer and the amount of conditioning we do is sometimes ridiculous,” Murray said. “Overall though, soccer is soccer no matter where you are and that’s what makes it so great: to be able to move to a different country and play the same game I have my whole life.”

While Murray misses his friends and family back in Lake Zurich, he is thankful for the athletic and academic possibilities he has in Scotland.

“Being far from home and putting myself out there can be difficult at times. There [are] weeks when I’m swamped with practice, essays, and meetings and I’d love to have the chance to go home for the weekend, but instead Skype is the closest I can get,” Murray said. “[However], soccer really helped me get into a routine because it forced me into a schedule and kept me busy. It definitely took a while to adapt, especially to the time difference between my friends and family, but I think it’s helped me grow as an individual and made me realize that it’s nice to have something like a sport that you can always fall back on.”