Sheffield United: Blades boss reflects on his American dream

Sheffield United manager David Weir says moving to North America as a youngster taught him to take responsibility for his football career
Sheffield United manager David Weir says moving to North America as a youngster taught him to take responsibility for his football career
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It barely warrants a footnote on his impressive CV, writes James Shield.

But buried beneath the European appearances, SPL titles and international caps is the entry which David Weir believes proved the making of him both as a professional footballer and a man.

Weir, who took charge of Sheffield United earlier this month after completing a coaching apprenticeship with Everton, spent four years at the University of Evansville, Indiana, before returning to Scotland with home-town club Falkirk.

The Hoosier State is known as ‘The Crossroads of America.’ Fitting, then, that Danny Wilson’s successor last night described that daunting move to the Midwest as the turning point of his career.

“Going over there, on my own and not really knowing anybody made me grow-up very quickly,” Weir told The Star. “And having to stand on my own two feet was a valuable lesson for me at the time.

“I was a teenager and I’d never been outside of Britain. So going over to America was a very big jump, not to mention a wonderful opportunity.

“Even after flying over there it was another three hours on a plane and then three hours in a car to get to the campus. And it was in the days of one phone call home a week too.

“After living at home, where I used to get looked after well, I was suddenly doing everything for myself and it taught me to take responsibility.”

Weir, who combined his soccer scholarship with an academic degree, was recruited by Evansville after impressing at a tournament near Grantham in 1988. He also represented Heart of Midlothian and Glasgow Rangers before arriving at United via Goodison Park.

“The basketball team was the most popular,” Weir added. “But we were the most successful and got to the final of our big tournament.

“Looking back, it was a great experience.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1