Dubai: Sean Fekete, the first Middle East-based player to be offered a Division One US collegiate baseball scholarship, has told scouts there are many more talents in the region that have yet to be unearthed.
The 17-year-old American School of Dubai student will attend Sacramento State University in California next autumn 2018, where he will be a member of the Sacramento State Hornets who play in the Western Athletic Conference.
Hale Education Group in Dubai, who advise UAE-based students on US university admissions, helped Fekete with his scholarship and claim the young American is the first baseball player from the region to make it stateside.
Fekete’s coach Steven Fish, of World Baseball Showcases, who take international talents on tours of the US to try and get their players scholarships, even suggested the six-foot-three-inch pitcher was one of just a handful of players from outside North America to get picked up in the last decade.
“I would bet that he is the only international student outside of Canada to receive a National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA] Division One baseball scholarship this year, and there would be less than five in the last 15 years that have achieved this out of high school globally,” said Fish, who is also a scout for Boston Red Sox.
Fekete, who was born in Budapest, Hungary but moved to Dubai via Moscow when he was 11, told Gulf News: “This scholarship is incredibly important to me and my family because it represents years of very hard work and commitment to both my education and athletics.
“It’s also very important to other baseball players in the Middle East, as it shows university coaches in the US that there is Division One level talent in the region, as well.
“I am absolutely certain that there will be more talent from Dubai playing at the US intercollegiate level of baseball in the coming years.
“After the scholarship offer I received, I know that Dubai has been put on the map in the eyes of college coaches.
“I hope to reach the professional level in baseball and play in the Major Leagues,” added Fekete, whose father John is the President of the Dubai Little League based in Al Quoz Pond Park on the road to Meydan Racecourse.
“I have been told by professional scouts that my ceiling of potential is very high and it’s just a matter of how hard I work.
“Every day I head to the baseball field, I think of the hundreds — if not thousands — of highschool players like me working just as a hard and looking to take my spot on a D1 squad. Having come this far, and determined to go even further, there is no way I will let that happen.”