Megan flies off from the Charlton Nest
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 6:07PM BST, Thursday, 25 July 2013
Megan Chandler will bid an emotional farewell to the Charlton women’s team this weekend when she heads to the US to pursue a soccer scholarship.
Megan, who topped off an impressive last season with the first team’s most improved player award, will study psychology at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado, for the next two years.
The college’s women’s soccer side are 18th in the NJCAA rankings and finished last season with a strong record of 15-2-0.
The chance to cross the Atlantic and combine further education with playing football on a daily basis was an offer she could not turn down and she is looking forward to getting settled over there.
She said: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet because I’ve only just got everything sorted. It’s a bit scary at the moment.
“It wasn’t just a football-based decision I made, it was everything put together. I wasn’t really going anywhere over here to secure something to give me a job outside football.
“I want to become a counsellor and do something, not just because I am good at it but something that will help people in the long run.
“It will be nice to go out there and play a different kind of football and that’s pretty much what I’m looking forward to doing, playing football all the time.
“I don’t really know what to expect because the game I prefer is a bit feisty – I love to put in a tackle or two, whether it’s dodgy or not I don’t really know.
“Hopefully they won’t mind that – if they do they’ll have to get used to it because it’s not like I can come back any time soon!”
After signing up with Girl Scholar USA, a company specialising in helping British female footballers scholarships in America, she sent off a video of her in action.
Her cause, she admits, was probably helped by the fact she scored in the recorded match and she believes “they’ll soon be in shock when they realise I don’t score very often!”
The video got a number of institutions interested and she visited one of them, a military university in South Carolina, but described it as “scary, scary stuff”.
She added: “It was the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life. I didn’t fancy walking round campus with people telling you to get down and give them 20 so that weren’t really for me!”
The central midfielder joins a plethora of former Charlton player who are in the States, including midfielders Grace Coombs, Ellie Bailes and Francesca Ali – all of whom Megan credits with helping her make the decision to go.
“Fran and Ellie are out there now and they couldn’t have been any more help if they tried,” she said.
“Ellie Manning, who also played here, is going out there the same time as me and she’s been an amazing help as well.
And Grace, of course. She’s been out there for ages now and she’s been like my big sister, pushing me in the right direction.”
Despite the excitement of her new challenge, it was a difficult decision to leave the Addicks and she will depart with fond memories, having worked her way from centre of excellence to senior football over her time here.
And she hopes to come back to Charlton in two years a better player after she impressed last term in an unfamiliar right-back position.
“I’ve been here for so long now, about six years, and it’s kind of sad because I think I was finally going to get a chance and then it just happened to be at the wrong time.
“But there’s no doubt when I come back, if they’ll take me back, I want to come back.
“The club’s moved forward in such a big direction and it’ll be nice when I’m out there to have a look and see that the girls are doing good.”