FFF US WJUST like football has its cup finals, American Football has its Super Bowl.

The New England Patriots will go for their second Super Bowl in three years this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, who are looking to win it for the first time ever

Of course, we are looking at Stranraer players who have starred in the USA playing soccer rather than American Football.

It's not the biggest list in the world, but thankfully there are enough players who have swapped Scottish football for soccer in America to make this a worthwhile endeavour.
Andy Stirling - Kitsap Pumas

It would be fair to say Andy Stirling has not had the most conventional of career paths. The talented winger, who proved a real fans' favourite at Stair Park over two spells, was tipped for big things when he signed a full-time deal with St Mirren as a teenager.

Stirling failed to break into the Buddies first team and instead moved on to Stenhousemuir and East Stirlingshire before heading to the USA. Kitsap Pumas, now known as Kitsap Soccer Club, played in Bremerton, Washington.

However, Stirling returned from the USA soon after and signed for Stranraer. The 26 year old made his Stranraer debut against former club Stenhousemuir when he replaced Sean Winter with less than half an hour to play. The midfielder could not prevent a Warriors win and initially had to be content with a spot on the bench with Ryan Borris or Mark Corcoran preferred on the left wing.

The midfielder was initially signed until January but quickly impressed and grabbed his first goal for the club against Airdrie.

Afterwards, he said: “I’m playing well but you look at the boys who are not playing – Steven Bell, Ryan Borris, Mark Corcoran. They could come in and stay in the team. They have all played at a higher level – the First Division or the SPL and you need to be on your toes. It’s another incentive, you play poorly you know you are not going to be in the team. It’s a good thing to have a bench like that.”

Stirling's impressive form would see him named in the 2013-14 PFA Scotland Scottish League One Team of the Year, alongside several of the dominant Rangers team. It was form which attracted admiring glances from full-time teams and it was little surprise when he made the switch to fellow League One side Dunfermline. However, it was not really a happy year away, in which time he started just nine games for the East End Park side and finished the season out on loan at Stirling Albion.

Stevie Aitken came calling again, and Stirling returned to Stair Park last year. Stirling added a further 40 appearances to his 46 from his previous spell. Now reunited with Aitken for a third time, Stirling has been one of the driving forces in Dumbarton's impressive recent form, which sees them four points clear of Ayr United, who sit in the relegation play-off spot.
John Kane - Kansas City Kings

Multiple time player of the year with Stranraer, John Kane also spent almost a year playing in Kansas City.

The defender had impressed under Gerry Britton over two seasons before deciding to try his luck on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Kane, who began his career at Hibs, tried his hand at outdoor and indoor soccer and told us his time playing the indoor version, during the winter, made him the fittest he had ever been.

Kane, now 29, returned to Scotland and joined Stirling Albion before a second spell with Stranraer, which ended when the Blues lost out in the play-off final to Albion Rovers.

He moved on to Clyde but work commitments were taking their toll and he swapped senior football for the juniors and a spell at Pollok.

The quantity surveyor said junior football was not for him, with work and family commitments now taking priority, although, he would not rule out a comeback.
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Michael Donald - JAX Destroyers

Destination Stranraer, via Glasgow, Jacksonville, Prestwick, Maybole and Ayr. That sums up Michael Donald's career so far.

The midfielder, who made his Stranraer debut last weekend against East Fife, started his career at Rangers as part of the youth system. From there, he travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to take up a scholarship at Embry-Riddle University, in Florida, and earned a business degree.

Along the way, he played college football and also turned out for FC JAX Destroyers. Based in Jacksonville and playing their games at DB Milne Field, the team were part of the USL Premier Development League, taking on teams like Mississippi Brilla and Nashville Metros.

Donald, who turned 28 last month, returned home and had spells at Glenburn Amateurs and then Maybole Juniors before Mark Roberts brought him to Ayr United. More than 140 games later and more than a handful of goals, including the winner against Stranraer on 16 March 2013, Donald made the switch to Stranraer and became new manager Stevie Farrell's first signing. He replaced Ryan Thomson with 22 minutes left to play and will be looking to add to that.
Neil Armour
Neil Armour - Riverside County Elite and Utah Blitz

The trendsetter of the list, Armour began his career with Greenock Morton before switching to Stranraer in 1987.

The defender, born in Irvine, would make more than two dozen appearances for the Blues before departing the club in 1989.

A spell at Junior side Kilbirnie Ladeside was followed by a second spell in the seniors with Albion Rovers.

However, after leaving Coatbridge, his career left Scotland behind and he headed overseas. He featured for Guangzhou Apollo in China, with the club going on to become Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, who now feature ex-Spurs man Paulinho, Colombia's Jackson Martinez and former Celtic midfielder Zheng Zhi.

Armour would also turn out for the pleasantly-named Happy Valley in Hong Kong, as well as Eastern AA and Yee Hope before making the switch to the USA. Since then, he has featured at Riverside County Elite and Utah Blitzz.
Kevin Finlayson - Kitsap Pumas

We come full circle and a look at Kitsap Pumas once again.

Finlayson was a popular figure at Stair Park over the course of four years as he clocked up more than 130 appearances. Signed from Queen's Park, he was a regular in the team, making his debut in a 3-0 win over Cowdenbeath, with Ian Harty scoring a hat trick.

His first goal for the club would come just a few weeks later when he was on target in a 3-2 win over an Ayr United side, which featured Lee Sharp. He would score nine goals in that first season, including a double against Clydebank.

Over the next three seasons, he would add a further 19 goals before moving on in 2005 to Greenock Morton. There, again, he clocked up more than 150 appearances before spells at Clyde and Kirkintilloch Rob Roy.

Finlayson, now 37, made the switch to Kitsap Pumas in 2014 where he played and helped coach the side.

League table

1 Albion Rovers 0 0
2 Annan Athletic 0 0
3 Brechin City 0 0
4 Cowdenbeath 0 0
5 Edinburgh City 0 0
6 Elgin City 0 0
7 Queen's Park 0 0
8 Stenhousemuir 0 0
9 Stirling Albion 0 0
10 Stranraer 0 0

Squad 2020/21

Ayrton Sonkur (DEF, Annan), Jamie Walker (GK, Kilmarnock), Thomas Orr (STR, BSC Glasgow), Kieran Millar (MID, Airdrieonians), Ruari Paton (STR, East Kilbride), Darryl Duffy (STR, Stirling Albion), Greg Fleming (GK, Peterhead), Sean Burns (DEF, Stenhousemuir)

RETURNING: Adam Cummins (DEF), Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID), Grant Gallagher (MID), Scott Robertson (DEF), Cameron Elliott (MID/STR), Connor McManus (MID), James Hilton (MID), Lewis McIntyre (DEF), Joao Victoria (MID/STR), Andy Stirling (MID)

OUT: Ryan Thomson (Darvel), Max Currie (Airdrieonians), Dale Burgess (Beith), Jordan Allan (Darvel), Lee Hamilton (Edinburgh City), David Smith, Denny Johnstone (loan ended), Carlo Pignatiello (loan ended), Ryan Stevenson

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