Ged Tarpey: From Maine Road to LA
We catch up with former PFA member Ged Tarpey whose incredible journey has taken him from Maine Road with Manchester City to California working for Twitter.
As a young centre-back Tarpey graduated through the School of Excellence at Manchester City, and was offered a two year YTS contract with the club:
"When I initially got the offer from Manchester City I was actually in two minds whether to accept the YTS contract."
"I was more academically focused and wasn't convinced that I would make any type of career out of football. I ended up doing it at the advice of my teachers."
It was looking like sound guidance, Tarpey excelled in the youth team and was offered a two year professional contract and had his sights on challenging for a place on the biggest stage with the club.
However his strong progress came to an abrupt halt during a Lancashire Youth Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Maine Road, a bad tackle left Tarpey with a snapped medial ligament and a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Tarpey and Manchester City considered legal action after the tackle and even consulted the PFA at the time. It was an injury that he never fully recovered from and it effectively ended his chances of a career in professional football.
Tarpey certainly experienced the harsher side of the 'beautiful game', but he was determined to focus on his future and planned to go to Manchester University and get a degree.
However before settling down to academic life he decided to go travelling in the US to in his words "play some football" and "have some fun".
"I got the opportunity to go on trial with Columbus Crew in the MLS, but I actually ended up playing for a team in Cleveland.
"After the season finished I stayed in Ohio to visit my cousin, after which I had every intention to head back to Manchester, play football semi-professionally and go to university."
Whilst staying with his cousin, Tarpey trained with the Walsh University football team to keep fit for his return to the UK, he obviously made a big impact as he was duly offered a full scholarship at the university.
"I was very lucky to be honest, it was just the right place, at the right time.
"Walsh was a relatively small university and this was a first for them, they pulled out all the stops including raising funds from the local community and businesses. I owe a lot to the Coach for putting so much faith in me"
"When I got the scholarship the only thing that wasn't covered was flights, but the PFA helped me with additional expenses to ensure I could take-up the offer, they were really supportive."
Asked whether he would recommend university life in the States, he said: "In a heartbeat, I can't tell you enough what a difference it has made to my life."
Four years later, armed with a degree in Marketing and an ambition to break into advertising, Tarpey headed to California and started work with a TV network, before joining Microsoft.
"I was fortunate that I had two brothers already living in Los Angeles, so literally the day after graduating from University I moved to join them in LA."
"Based in LA, my role was to work with big companies on the West Coast to help them market globally across all things Microsoft, which at that time included XBOX, MSN and Messenger."
Three years ago Twitter announced they were opening an office in Los Angeles and Tarpey knew that he would love the opportunity to work for the social media giant.
"I was a massive fan of Twitter and I had a couple of friends who already worked there, I managed to get an interview and was fortunate enough to get in."
"My job now is to work with the TV networks and movie studios in LA, helping them with their strategies on Twitter in relation to marketing a new movie or premiering a new TV show.
"I may spend three-to-six months with a studio working on their wider strategies culminating in things like bringing the cast to Twitter and launching with a big event.
Pushed to 'drop a few names', Tarpey expanded: "One of the projects we were working on was Captain Phillips, so I got to spend the day with Tom Hanks and all the Sony Team. More recently we've been working with Zoe Saldana and the teams at Disney and Marvel on the promotion of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Ged at work with Tom Hanks and Zoe Saldana
"The time with the cast is usually just a one day thing, but it is certainly a nice perk of the job to hang out with the cast members of the movies and shows."
"Honestly, nothing can quite compare to being a footballer and I would have loved a shot at playing in the Premier League, however my life after football has been brilliant!
"Whilst I work extremely hard, my job is incredibly fun."
"Twitter has grown considerably since I joined, and whilst things have changed significantly in my time here, the company has still managed to maintain the same desire and stayed true to its original goals and aims.
"In particular, being able to help people express freedom of speech wherever they may be geographically and whilst it seems a bold statement to say Twitter has changed the world - I honestly think it has.
"You only have to look at countries around the world to see what the platform has enabled people to do."
Ged with Jamie Foxx and Aaron Paul
So what does the future hold for Tarpey?: "I'm happily married with a little girl out here and I'm finally going to get my citizenship, get my passport and become a fully pledged, signed up American!"
"I've lived in the States now for 15 years, the opportunities are honestly endless.
"It sounds cliché saying that, but if you are willing to put your head down and work hard, you really can achieve anything you want."
You can follow Ged on Twitter: @ged