[AMERICANS ABROAD] At 18, Conor Doyle became one of the youngest Americans ever to play in English pro soccer when he
debuted for League Championship club Derby County Saturday in its 2-1 loss at home to Cardiff City.
Doyle came on the last 20 minutes for the Rams, who fell on a late goal at Pride Park.
He had signed a contract on the eve of the season after impressing Manager Nigel Clough in a tryout, and he made his debut earlier in the week against Crewe Alexandra in the League Cup.
He starred for the Dallas Texans and at McKinney (Texas) Boyd High School before enrolling last spring at Creighton.
"It was a big decision to make and I talked to my parents and a lot of family members about it," he told the Derby Evening Telegraph. "We decided that school will always be there but this is my dream and I need to follow it."
Doyle, who turns 19 in October, trained with Derby in 2009 and returned again this summer.
"My expectations have been raised and now I will be aiming to get on the field a little bit longer," he said. "Being young and coming in the team only a couple of weeks before the season starts, you don't necessarily expect to play much."
He holds an Irish passport -- his father David came from Ireland to attend Campbell University and later starred in indoor soccer -- and is eligible to play for the United States or Ireland.
Jonathan Spector is believed to be the youngest American-born and -bred player to play for an English club. He was 18 when he debuted for Manchester United in 2004.