Jack Harrison has not exactly had a traditional route to the Premier League. English players tend to remain in the country and work their way up through the youth ranks. Nevertheless, the winger made a unique and bold move early in his development days.

Harrison began his club career as a seven-year old star in Liverpool’s academy. After a short period of time, the youngster then joined Manchester United’s famed youth setup. Harrison stayed with the Red Devils academy for just over six years. At 14, there are not many better places to develop as an English soccer player than United. Harrison’s mom, however, had other ideas.

Harrison traded Old Trafford for American high school soccer

The English youth attacker switched Manchester for Massachusetts in 2010. Harrison essentially arrived to the United States to further his education and play college soccer. The decision, although different, paid off. The winger was named Gatorade National Player of Year in 2015 during his senior high school season. He is currently one of just four foreign players to ever receive the honor.

The standout season propelled Harrison to earning a scholarship at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. After just one season in college, Harrison was the first pick of the 2016 MLS draft. Although he was chosen by Chicago Fire, the club eventually traded him to New York City FC.

Teen was able to learn from stars of the sport in New York

While Harrison was initially hesitant about the decision to leave England, he claims that he became appreciative of the move once joining NYCFC. “At that point I was really thankful to my mum because there were a lot of people saying: ‘Oh, why didn’t you stay at Man United?’” Harrison told The Guardian.

“I’d always had that in the back of my mind because I’d seen the likes of Scott McTominay come up and absolutely smash it with the first team. I did think: ‘What could have happened if I’d stayed at United?’”

“But as soon as I made it to New York and saw where I was – even a lot of people in England were saying it was so cool that I was in New York – it gave me a different perspective. And playing with the likes of Frank Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo, being managed by Patrick Vieira, being in an incredible city where I was able to thrive; at that point I thought it doesn’t matter what would have happened, this is my path now and I have to continue looking forward.”

Harrison eventually made it all the way to the Premier League

After two successful seasons in the States, Harrison eventually moved back to England. Although he did not receive ample playing time at Manchester City, a transfer to Leeds in 2018 allowed the youngster to flourish, while also giving him his first taste of the Premier League. Harrison racked up 34 goals and added 32 assists in just over 200 total matches with the Whites.

Despite the fact that Leeds was relegated from the Premier League this summer, Harrison returned to the top flight thanks to a loan move to Everton. Now 26, the winger scored a goal and provided an assist in his first league start with the Toffees. Everton ended up scoring three goals in the match, partially thanks to Harrison’s positive play. The attacker will now do everything he can to help his new club avoid a similar fate as Leeds.

Photo: Imago.