Town fan's view from the American midwest; Family history.
SEAN Helliwell was as pleased as any fan with Huddersfield Town's dramatic 2-1 away win over Leeds United earlier this month.
"It looks like we needed that result.
Hopefully we can put a good run together and climb up the table," he says.
He's talking as a follower from a distance - across the Atlantic Ocean.
Sean, 38, has been in the United States for a long time now and has recently moved to Terre Haute in Indiana.
He's there as coach of the men's soccer team at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, so he knows a thing or two about the game.
Sean was a pupil at Salendine Nook High School and his parents still live in Oakes.
He was on a youth training course at Huddersfield Town and also played for Bradley Rangers in his younger days.
Sadly, he didn't progress to the professional game and instead concentrated on his education.
He went on a leisure studies course at the then Huddersfield Polytechnic and then moved to Virginia in 1990 to take up a football scholarship at Liberty University combined with a four-year degree course in human resources.
During one of his trips back to Huddersfield at that time he was a guest coach at Salendine Nook side Westend Juniors.
It's been a good season for him at Rose-Hulman, where he took over as men's soccer coach this year.
The start wasn't so impressive, though - his side lost their first two games 3-1 and 5-1.
But they got into their stride as they adjusted to the new coach's strategies and qualified for the first time for the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
Sean says: "Rose-Hulman is one of the top engineering schools in the country so the players have to be exceptional students as well as good players.
"We do not offer athletic scholarships at our school so the guys are playing because they enjoy the game. They typically have three or four hours of studying to do each night on top of our daily 90-minute practices."
For the last three seasons, he served as an assistant men's soccer coach at the University of Western Kentucky until the university dropped its programme in February because of budget cuts.
He met my wife Amy while he was playing college soccer and they have been married for 13 years.
They both got teaching jobs at Greenwood High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky, when they graduated.
Amy had played youth and high school soccer herself while growing up.
Sean taught PE at the school and coached the men's team while Amy taught maths and coached the girls' soccer team.
In 1998 Amy started to have some headaches and had a brain tumour removed. She goes back for check-ups every six months but has been fine since and there is no sign of any new growth.
Soccer at grassroots level is continuing to grow, but Sean thinks that it will take another generation before the sport becomes an accepted part of mainstream America.
"There is still a lot of the media that views soccer as a game that people play if they are not good enough to play American football, baseball or basketball," he says.
But great strides are being made, Sean points out.
"The number of American players playing in Europe is growing and with Major League Soccer expanding with more teams the future looks good.
"More soccer specific stadiums are being built and the United States soccer federation is trying to recreate a feeder system with clubs similar to Europe so that they can improve their scouting system."
The move to the United States has proved to be good for Sean.
He says: "Life in the States has been very eventful since I came here in the early 90s.
Despite the state of the economy, living in the midwest is still relatively cheap. Gas prices which were nearly EUR4 dollars a gallon have dropped to below EUR2 dollars.
Sean adds: "I think the country is ready for Obama and change."
SPORTING LIFE: Sean Helliwell and his wife Amy in the United States; HOME LIFE: View of downtown Terre Haute, where the Helliwells live
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|Publication:||Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)|
|Date:||Nov 26, 2008|
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