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Globetrotter Beattie already feeling at home with Bohs

The 25-year-old striker has arrived in Phibsboro via Kentucky, Toronto and Iceland.

THE LAST TIME Heary saw Steven Beattie play in the flesh, Bohemians new hotshot striker was a wiry young right back.

The next time, seven years later, Beattie struck a hat-trick in a 4-0 pre-season win at Swords Celtic prompting Heary to bring him on board for the 2014 Airtricity League season.

A lot has changed in that time, when Heary first encountered the youngster while he was turning out for Shelbourne Under 21s.

A prolific striker these days, back then he was merely plugging gaps in training matches with Pat Fenlon’s first team. He was offered professional terms at Tolka Park but decided the League of Ireland wasn’t for him just yet.

The forward, who has been on trial with the Gypsies for a month and finally signed for the club on Monday subject to international clearance, left for a collegiate scholarship in America where he would become a cult figure at Northern Kentucky University.

His goalscoring exploits there saw him drafted by MLS side Toronto FC. Since leaving the MLS, he has taken in spells in Puerto Rico and Iceland’s second tier too.

When his contract at Icelandic club UMF Tindastoll expired in the autumn, the 25-year-old returned to Dublin. A trial with Bohs, now managed by his old training mate, followed, this time as a striker.

“Owen saw me as a right full at Shels. Maybe that’s why he signed me!” Beattie jokes. “He thinks I’m versatile. He’ll stick me anywhere.”

If Heary was in any doubt of his new signing’s scoring capabilities, his friendly hat-trick put them well and truly to rest.

Bursting onto the scene like that created a stir and interest from elsewhere. Cork City’s John Caulfield made an inquiry and an offer to return to Iceland was on the table. But Beattie revealed he only had eyes for one club.

“I wanted to sign for Bohs since I’ve arrived,” he told TheScore.ie. “Getting the hat-trick was great and the response I got from fans on Twitter was nuts really. All of the attention has been good.

I’m very happy here with Owen, the staff and the players. I’ve been travelling and playing abroad for seven years. It will be nice to play in the league to see where I’m at personally.

“It beats constantly living out of a suitcase too,” he continued.

Heary was hoping to see Beattie in pre-season action again against Waterford United before the match was abandoned at half time. The new man was just about to enter the action with veteran

Jason Byrne before proceedings were halted. Saturday’s Leinster Senior Cup tie against Bray was called off completely.

Bohs fans will be hoping to see those two together up front sooner rather than later. Last year, only relegated Shels scored fewer goals than the Gypsies.

“Jason’s a great laugh and a really good guy. You never stop learning and I’ve learned a lot from him already. With Jason, you pick up little things every day that add to your game.

“He’s been around the block, knows the league inside out and he’s had his Ireland caps which is great because I base myself on what he’s done.

“Being around someone of that calibre is brilliant, especially in that position. You can watch his movement and his shape. I’ve never had that at any club I’ve been with,” Beattie said.

Winter’s cold in Canada

After leaving college, Beattie was drafted by MLS side Toronto but a managerial change soon after his draft meant he was never given the opportunity to play against some world names including Ireland’s own Robbie Keane.

Back then, it was the former Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Aron Winter that was unwilling to give the young forward his chance at Toronto. Despite never seeing Beattie play or train, he was released.

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“From the moment I met him, I knew,” he recalls. “He didn’t know who I was or where I played. I had to tell him I was Irish. I could see it in his face, an international spot wasn’t going to be used on me.”

Undoubtedly, the opportunity to play under a manager who knew all about his talents in Heary, appealed to the striker.

Owen has been brilliant in training. He and Graham (O’Hanlon) have been putting on the sessions and I’ve been doing stuff I’ve never done. We do good ball work and the sessions are speedy.

“Owen wants us to keep the ball on the deck which is great to hear from a player’s perspective.”

Signing for Bohs is one thing but for the first time in his career, Beattie is now looking for full time work to supplement his football income.

In Iceland’s second tier, life was comfortable and players were free to concentrate on the football. Home might be familiar but the situation won’t be.

“I’d play for free if I could. That’s how much I love the game but I have to make sure I can keep my head above water.

“I don’t have the luxury of being 18 or 19 and being based at college anymore. I have to make ends meat.

“Now, I can look for full time work. The season starts against Bray on Saturday and the league is on the horizon too. It’ll be tough,” Beattie added.

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