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Colin Falvey's football career has brought him from Cobh to India via New Zealand and the US

The Irish player has redefined the term journeyman.

Falvey during his time with Charleston Battery.
Falvey during his time with Charleston Battery.
Image: Troy Lesesne/Twitter

IT’S NOT YOUR typical footballing career.

When Colin Falvey left Kilkenny City in 2008, he admits he could have taken the easy option and opted for a career in the League of Ireland or in the lower leagues in England.

Instead, he took the road less travelled and it has now been rewarded with a loan move to the Indian Super League alongside the likes of Luis Garcia, Nicolas Anelka, David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero.

Not bad for a player who began his professional career with Cobh Ramblers back in 2004.

“It was the best decision I ever made to leave home and go play abroad,” Falvey told TheScore.ie.

“I could have played in the lower leagues in England or in Ireland but who knows how long that would have lasted?

“Sometimes at home you can get stuck in your own ways. By going to New Zealand, going to the US and now India, I get to learn from so many people who have experienced so much in the game and I just might not have had that chance at home.

“I’ve had to battle throughout my career to try stay in the game and stay professional as long as I could. I’m not saying trying to make a career in the US or India is going to work for everyone but with so many players falling through the net in England through no fault of their own, it might be worth the risk.”

Falvey did have the chance to move to England six years ago, specifically Swindon, but opted instead to sign with Otago United in New Zealand, then coached by former Irish international Terry Phelan.

Phelan has been pivotal in Falvey’s career since, acting as an advisor for the 29-year old and it was the former Manchester City defender who proved instrumental in his move to the Kerala Blasters in India’s new Super League.

“A good friend of Terry’s who he worked with in India, Trevor Morgan, is the assistant at Kerala. He and Terry were doing TV work together in India during the World Cup when Trevor asked him to keep an eye out for some players.

“Trevor said he needed a centre-half, Terry recommended me and that’s how it all started really.”

Terry Phelan Terry Phelan coaching in New Zealand. Source: Photosport/Rob Jefferies/INPHO

With the Kerala Blasters and, indeed, the Indian Super League, being an entirely new concept, Falvey knows very little about his home for the next three months other than the fact they’re managed by former England goalkeeper David James and are part owned by Sachin Tendukar, one of the most revered sportsmen in India and widely regarded as one of the best cricketers to ever play the game.

“I know a little about Sachin and I spoke to Terry – who has coached out there. He filled me in on how they are trying to develop the game but it’s a new franchise, a new league and a new country so I’m doing lots of homework.

“With the Indian Premier League cricket proving so successful, they’ve basically modelled it on that because they’ve tried the traditional national league format and it hasn’t really taken off.

“They’re trying to make a splash with this new concept and develop the game. I suppose, by bringing in some of the big names they have, it’s a bit similar to what happened in the US when they brought in the likes of Pele and George Best.

“They’ll really market the hell out of it and hope it carries into the national game.”

Falvey will move to India on a three month loan deal from US third tier side Charleston Battery but, once his contract is up, he’d ideally love to return to the States.

“I’d love to come back, it’s first class over here. The facilities and everything are second to none.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what the standard would be like when I first came to America. I knew it was developing but I didn’t really know how high it would be.

“In general, I think people are starting to realise that the US deserves a lot of respect. I can only imagine what it’ll be like in 10 or 20 years with the way the standard is going up every year.”

Next stop though is the south east of India, providing, of course, his visa comes through in time.

“I’ll probably be heading out this week. I’m just waiting for my visa but hopefully that will all be sorted soon. They’ve told me they’ll put me on a plane as soon as it comes because they’ve already started training.”

Falvey may not have had your typical professional footballer’s career but you can tell he wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Steve O'Rourke

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