Former Diss Town attacker Callum Olpin has made plenty of progression following his stint in the USA
Callum Olpin is back home after spending a memorable four years as a student athlete in the USA.
The Old Buckenham-based attacker was initially at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana before switching to Northern Michigan University, where he combined his sport science studies with playing football for the Wildcats.
Over the course of three years the former Diss Town player made 51 appearances (46 starts), which yielded a return of seven goals and eight assists.
And Olpin believes the professional nature of university sport across the Atlantic has seen him improve greatly from his days turning out as a teenager at Brewers Green Lane.
“I’d just turned 18 when I went out there. It was a big thing, moving away from home and I’d never been to America,” said Olpin, who also played for Scole United during Jon Abbott’s tenure.
“But I felt like I would regret not giving it a go. I didn’t want to look back in a few years and wonder what if?
“It was great. They put so much money into their university sports. Because away games are so far away, we would sometimes play a couple of matches in the space of a few days and we’d be staying in good hotels.
“The training was spot on, right down to the food we ate. We were treated so well and it was the closest thing to being professional without actually being a pro.
“All of that has helped me to become a better player. Obviously university teams are full of young players, so you need to mature quickly.
“It is all about taking responsibility on the pitch, especially in your last year – that is when you need to become more of a leader.”
Olpin is not ruling out a return to the States in the future to do his Masters, but for the time being he will be playing against Diss in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North after agreeing a move to Mulbarton Wanderers.
The switch has seem him reunited with a former Diss team-mate, which was a big factor in his decision to sign on at Mulberry Park.
“It’s in the back of my mind that I’d like to go back at some stage,” he added.
“I could do some studying and then some coaching alongside it – that does appeal.
“There are a few contacts I could speak to about it and I will probably assess it again next year.
“At the moment I’ll be playing for Mulbarton and I am looking forward to it.
“I know Selfy (Danny Self, joint manager) from playing with him at Diss and we had some good conversations.
“I’ve enjoyed being a part of the small training sessions over there so far and saw they did well last season – hopefully I can add something to the team.”