Falkirk sporting stars earn their stripes

Ally Fraser has been selected for all-stars teams

Ally Fraser has been selected for all-stars teams

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Falkirk’s sporting exports are excelling in North America.

Basketballer Ali Fraser and football coach Martin Rennie are following hot on the heels of long jumper Jade Nimmo in taking significant sporting steps.

23 January 2012: Major League Soccer (MLS) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC Open the 2012 Season with a training session held on the first day of pre-season Training Camp at the Burnaby Lake West practice facility in Burnaby,  BC, Canada.  ****(Photo by Bob Frid - Vancouver Whitecaps) All Rights Reserved'Martin Rennie

23 January 2012: Major League Soccer (MLS) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC Open the 2012 Season with a training session held on the first day of pre-season Training Camp at the Burnaby Lake West practice facility in Burnaby, BC, Canada. ****(Photo by Bob Frid - Vancouver Whitecaps) All Rights Reserved'Martin Rennie

Rennie (below), who spoke exclusively to The Falkirk Herald this week, makes his debut in North American soccer’s premier league - the MLS - on Saturday.

Nimmo entered the Scottish record books last week with a leap of more than six metres on scholarship with West Kentucky University.

Basketballer Fraser - a former Clark Eriksson Fury forward - has been named in all-star teams while playing regularly for the Maine University Black Bears.

He was also rated in the top three in the sophomore league for rebounds, averaging 7.8 per game and fourth in the league for field goals with a 54 per cent conversion rate.

Those tallies helped him onto the All-American East third team for college basketball. He was also voted onto the first all-star team of College Sports Madness and CollegeHoops.net websites.

Fraser and Rennie are operating on significantly bigger stages than they were locally, with Rennie’s Vancouver Whitecaps expected to play in front of a TV audience plus 30,000 people.

And Fury’s basketball export said the step up was was “ridiculous” in his sport.

“Playing in the USA is a huge step up - ridiculous really,” he told The Falkirk Herald this week. “There are a few hundred max, at the Mariner, and I’m playing in front of crowds at least in their thousands.

“It’s a much bigger deal for a lot more people. I’m known on campus as the basketball player - but also quite well-known just because I’m Scottish.”

The 19-year-old is studying maths and admits the coursework is similar to what he was used to at home.

“It means I have more time to work in the gym and focus on my game. It’s going well and pretty good to pick up individual awards.

“The official one - where I’m in the third team - is voted for by coaches so I’m pleased I’m doing something right, and I feel I’ve played well the whole season.”