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24 Jul 2019 : 6ft 5in central defender Declan McGivern flies in from the States

Yorkshireman Declan McGivern has taken a long route to bring his football talents west of the Pennines - as one of the latest signings at Runcorn Linnets.

Having come through the youth system at Bradford City to captain the Bantams' Reserve team, the 25-year-old Huddersfield-born centre back has spent the last seven years plying his trade in the USA.

Completion of the deal therefore hinges on international clearance.

Dec is another graduate of the Notre Dame College in Ohio, where fellow Linnets newcomer Tom Owens began his Stateside education.

The 6ft 5in player arrives from National Premier Soccer Leaguers, Cleveland SC who he joined for their inaugural campaign in 2018 - scoring the club's first ever goal.

Previously, he played for AFC Cleveland where he was a 2016 NPSL title winner.

The switch to Cleveland SC (Soccer Club) on the demise of AFC continued a lengthy association with the city, which became a second home from 2012.

It was then, following his release by Bradford City, that Dec joined the Falcons - the soccer team of Notre Dame College.

A scholarship gave him chance to continue his football career while studying business management.

Dec captained NDC for two of his four years, leading them into four consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments, winning the Conference.

He ranks fifth on the all-time appearance list at NDC, starting in all 73 of his appearances, missing only five college career games due to injury.

His time in the States also saw service as assistant coach to Ohio's Ashland University men's team.

As a youngster, Dec had captained Bradford City at under 16s and u18s before going on to skipper their second string.

A highlight of his time at Valley Parade was involvement in an FA Youth Cup run, which brought a third-round defeat of Southampton.

Linnets manager Michael Ellison said:

"I think it's clear for everyone to see what Dec will bring to the squad - at 6ft 5in, you would expect him to be good in the air and he certainly doesn't disappoint.

"He's also really comfortable with the ball at his feet and reads the game really well. I'm delighted to have him on board and look forward to working with him this season."

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