Jake Mulraney - a look at Dublin's stateside soccer star

Jake Mulraney - a look at Dublin's stateside soccer star

CRUMLIN TO Atlanta - not the classic journey of a footballer.

Every young footballer in Ireland dreams of playing in England. If they dream really big, they might one day hope to play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, like a Barcelona or a Real Madrid.

But playing over in America is not something that the average young Irish kid dreams of. Not yet anyway.

The football scene in the United States is growing by the week, and before long, could become a real force.

Players like Christian Pulisic at Chelsea, Sergino Dest at Barcelona and Giovanni Reyna at Dortmund show just how far the game in the US has come, and this is largely due to the success of the MLS.

It is no longer just a retirement home for European players, past their best, who are looking for a payday. Alphonso Davies moved from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Bayern Munich and has since won a Bundesliga and a Champions League, and was potentially football's breakout star of 2020.

And Dubliner Jake Mulraney will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Davies, and light up the MLS to the point that the world starts to take notice.

Managed by former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze, Mulraney is expected to be a key part of the Atlanta team this season.

Having played for Crumlin United, one of Dublin's most impressive and historic schoolboy clubs, Mulraney did what the majority of extremely talented young Irish footballers do. He went the British route.

He tried his luck at Ilkeston, Queens Park Rangers, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Hearts, with loan spells at Dagenham & Redbridge and Stevenage, all before ending up in Atlanta.

And without disrespecting any of these clubs, none of them have the appeal of America. Even without its football history, playing and living in America is just a different experience.

Every gameweek will see the 25-year-old Dublin lad play against a massive footballing name, or visit somewhere that a lot of Irish people will only ever see in the movies.

From the actual footballing side, he is doing everything right too. Atlanta United Fan TV said that he will play a big part in Heinze's side this season.

"Jake seems to be assimilating well to America. He seems to have or had some mates in the squad that are from the UK, so it's offered some familiarity in the locker room and during the pandemic lockdown last year.

"He seemingly will be one of the wingers on the squad who will be relied upon this year. He can either play on the right or the left and last year was playing as a wingback. It'll remain to be seen if he plays the wingback kind of role in Gabriel Heinze's setup."

"His strengths in dribbling, taking on a man and putting in service into the box should be useful for Atlanta during the season. Heinze's system usually deploys pacey or tricky wide men. He balled out this preseason, scoring goals and providing assists."

While he may not be playing on our TV screens as often as the lads in the Championship, the standard Mulraney will be playing at is nothing to be sneezed at, and he could be a case of a player being at the right place at the right time.