Ciaran Kilduff tells us why he's chosen to move to Jacksonville Armada

Striker has left Dundalk to make the move to the United States

Dundalk, Ciaran Kilduff

Dundalk's Ciaran Kilduff ©INPHO/Ciaran Culligan

Last Autumn, Ciaran Kilduff was the Dundalk goal hero in two of their Europa League group stages.

Having netted a late equaliser against AZ Alkmaar, the forward then scored the winner against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Tallaght Stadium to set up the club's only win of the group stage.

However, the 28 year old is departing the League of Ireland to cross the Atlantic Ocean where he is linking up with Jacksonville Armada in the North American Soccer League, the division nominally below Major League Soccer.

As he makes the move, he joined Off The Ball to tell us about his departure to the Florida team.

"Obviously I was with Dundalk up until two days ago and last year we had the great European run that was well documented and we had a great run in it and I had a few personal good nights myself and the end of last year, I got a call off Jacksonville Armada who were in the NASL, below the MLS in America and they had seen some of my goals and a lot of the players at Dundalk at that time were probably getting offers from here, there and everywhere," he said.

"It was an offer made to me at the end of last year. I had a year left on my contract, I've a great relationship with Stephen Kenny and we discussed it. But it probably wasn't the right timing for me just then.

Dundalk Manager Stephen Kenny with Ciaran Kilduff ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

"We were still in the Europa League campaign at the time and it kind of just came and went and I considered it. Literally it just dwindled out but then a week ago, I got a call back. The club have got a new owner over there, they're pushing soccer over there now and literally they just got back onto me."

After discussing the renewed offer with Kenny, the Dundalk manager gave him his blessing to make his decision.

Kilduff had been part of Shamrock Rovers' team from the 2010-11 Europa League group stage and he feels that for the League of Ireland, it can't be a case of teams reaching that level "every five years for the game to improve". 

He also discussed his expectations about life in Floridian football and ex-Sligo Rovers midfielder Richie Ryan among others, who played for Jacksonville, shared their advice and experience with Kilduff.

"The vibe was nobody had any regrets. Everybody seemed to speak highly of it," he said.

Kilduff added: "I'm not going over there for the sun or for the beach. There's an opportunity for me to progress here. It's a growing brand and franchise over there. Soccer as it's called is taking off and I can see that chatting to Richie. Some of the teams you can go and play... you can play the New York Cosmos, I go to San Francisco, I go to Puerto Rico and then Canada to play Edmonton, I go to Miami. It's an opportunity to go and play in big stadiums in front of good crowds and see amazing cities that I otherwise mightn't gotten to see. There's an opportunity for me to earn another contract maybe at a bigger club or a good contract at the club I'm at. There is a big scope there for progression." 

Citing the success stories of Ryan and Eamon Zayed in the US, he also explained that it's a good move for a player in the second half of their 20s, also factoring the importance of taking family into account as well as how excellent Jacksonville and US clubs in terms of the logistics for foreign signings.

You can listen to the full interview on the podcast player: