Matthew set for US University rugby scholarship

A High School of Dundee pupil is getting ready to swap Dundee for New York State, after accepting a rugby scholarship place with the US’s reigning collegiate champions.

Matthew Joss has accepted a rugby scholarship place with St Bonaventure University

Matthew Joss has just committed to a highly sought-after joint academic and sports (rugby) degree programme with St Bonaventure University, and will head for the States in August.

During his 4-year course, as well as focusing on continuing his development on the rugby field, Matthew will also be hard at work in the lecture halls too, as he follows a general programme of studies for the first two years, before specialising and graduating with a Bachelors degree.

Matthew is delighted to have been offered a place and, understandably, is particularly excited about the rugby opportunity which the programme presents.

He said, “I’m thrilled to have been offered a place at St Bonaventure, not only for the experience of living abroad and gaining a degree at the end of it but also to be joining an outstanding rugby program who are the National Collegiate Division 1 champions.

“I did a lot of research and know that the facilities and coaching are excellent – so I can’t wait to get started.”

The process of applying for a university place in the US differs greatly from the system in place for UK applications, with each institution having its own individual requirements.

After narrowing down the universities to which he wanted to apply, and providing academic and sporting references and video clips from the School, Matthew was offered scholarships at three universities. And following online meetings with coaches, admissions tutors, and other sports scholars at those institutions, Matthew chose St Bonaventure.

Matthew Joss is heading for St Bonaventure University

He explained that the degree programme would see him training for rugby every day and attending classes as well. “It is all timetabled by the University and the coach, because student athletics is a big thing in the USA,” he said. “When games come up we will travel with tutors, and there is compulsory study hall every week that all student athletes attend where our academic tutors will check on our progress.”

Matthew, who plays as a back for the School and the Caledonia regional side, is a member of the School’s High Performance Sport Programme, and he says it has played a big part in his development, on and off the field.

He says, “I’ve been part of the programme since third year and it has helped me not only develop my physical rugby performance but also my knowledge of how important the mental side of sport is.

“The dedicated time in the school timetable gives me an opportunity to maximise my performance on the rugby field and I was helped hugely by having access to a sports psychologist who helped me to control and use my energy in a positive manner. This helped not only within my sport but also in my wider school life.

“As I progressed within the programme I began to recognise that I may have an opportunity to continue my rugby progression beyond school and that there were many more options beyond university in Scotland.”

He added, “My goal is to play at the highest level of rugby that I can. The next 4 years at St Bonaventure will allow me to train and play in a high performance environment while giving me the opportunity to study for a degree.

“I will have the opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in American college rugby and I am excited for the opportunities this will give me to develop as a person and as a rugby player.”

Rector Lise Hudson says, “We are immensely proud of all of our pupils when they receive university offers.

“But, with the American system of university applications being so different - not to mention challenging – I’m especially delighted to see one of our pupils achieve and accept such an offer.

“It’s testament to the hard work which Matthew has put in on the rugby pitch, and in his studies, as well as to the support he has received from his rugby and High Performance Sport Programme coaches, and his guidance teacher Mrs Fulton.”