People graduate high school with all sorts of plans. Some take a year off to plan, while others may start pursuing their dream job or attend a post-secondary institution.
Fraser Aird is not just some graduate. He is 17 and only a few weeks ago made his debut playing for the Glasgow Rangers, a Scottish professional soccer club.
Scarborough resident Aird has been playing soccer since he was three years old. He says soccer has always been a part of the family.
“It’s the sport my dad brought me up playing,” Aird said.
Not only has soccer been the Aird family sport of choice, but the father and son also had a soft spot for the Glasgow Rangers. His father, born in Glasgow and a life-long fan of the club, inspired Fraser to follow suit. The Rangers had always been a team they supported together, so the opportunity to play for them now was almost too good to be true.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Aird said. “I was over the moon. It was the best feeling ever playing for the club my dad and I supported.”
Bill Aird, Fraser’s father, lived in Glasgow until 1987 and was a season-ticket holder for the Rangers. So, seeing his son play for a team so close to his heart was incredibly special.
“It’s basically a dream come true for the whole family,” he said.
It is sometimes common for high school graduates to move away from home to pursue their future. Aird moved just over 5200 km away from home to pursue his, a challenge for any teenager.
Aird says the hardest part about the move was leaving his family behind.
“At the start it was hard,” Aird said. “They were sad, but at the same time excited for me.”
His father shared a similar sentiment in watching his young son fly across the ocean. He says his son is level-headed and passionate, and that he has become much more comfortable with the distance.
“He’s very dedicated to what he wants to do,” he said. “We talk a lot…if he feels if there’s a problem he’ll call me…we keep in touch every day.”
Aird says there was a definite transition in going from playing in Ontario to Glasgow. The transition was a test that this rookie confidently accepted even after he said the Ranger veterans gave him a bit of a hard time early on.
“The training is a lot harder over here [in Glasgow] and longer but you get used to it,” Aird said. “The games are harder as well, as the players are very passionate about the sport over here.”
His place on the first team currently does not guarantee him playing time for each game, however his father says no matter what, it is a great opportunity.
“He trains with the first team,” Bill Aird said. “He’ll either be playing from the start or sitting on the bench…it’s still a good experience.”
Aird remains confident even though it is not certain when he will actually play for the Rangers again. He is determined and has one goal in mind for the upcoming year.
“To be a first team regular,” Aird said.