Graduate Student Spotlight | James Dempsey
"In my experience, America is a place where you will always find supportive and loving people, and that is why I love it so much!"
James Dempsey, Management Information Systems
- Management Information Systems (M.S.)
- The George B. Delaplaine Jr. School of Business
James Dempsey is a current graduate student in Hood College’s management information systems (MIS) program and is in his first year as the College’s interim head men’s soccer coach. Dempsey is originally from Galway, Ireland, and has experience playing and coaching soccer in the United States since 2017. Before attending the MIS program, Dempsey studied at Pearl River Community College and Belhaven University, where he had a successful playing career at both institutions. We spoke with Dempsey about his experiences coaching and playing soccer as well as what the transition was like coming to the United States from Ireland.
Could you briefly describe your education and career background?
My education, up until this point, began at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Mississippi. I studied there for one year, and I was part of the men’s soccer program there. My teammates and I won the 2017 Junior College State Championship that season.
I transferred to Belhaven University for my sophomore year in Jackson, Mississippi, where I completed my bachelor’s in sports management and played as a center forward for four seasons.
How did you hear about Hood College?
I was job searching after I graduated in 2021; specifically, I was looking for a graduate assistant coaching position with a soccer program. I heard about Hood College while looking for jobs on the NCAA job market website, and I decided to apply to their graduate assistant opening.
What are you currently studying here? When do you expect to graduate?
Currently, I am studying for a master’s in management information systems here at the College, and I expect to graduate in May 2025.
Why did you choose Hood over a local institution?
I chose Hood College over a local institution in Mississippi because I wanted to live in a different part of the country and be exposed to a different culture. I also wanted to join a new soccer team, where I could potentially learn new things and be challenged in new ways. This could further develop me as a person and as a soccer coach.
How long have you been interested in soccer?
I have been interested in soccer for as long as I can remember. I began playing as a child around the age of 4 at school with my friends on recess, and I first joined a soccer club at 6 to start playing in a structured competitive environment.
Have you been a coach before working at Hood?
During my time studying undergraduate, I spent a few years coaching soccer at the local youth soccer club called Mississippi Rush. I also coached a couple of boys’ high school programs, one in Colorado Springs and the other in Jackson, Mississippi. I managed to be part of the team that won the 2023 Mississippi High School Boys’ Soccer State Championship.
Do you intend to continue working in the U.S. after graduation, returning to Ireland or going somewhere else?
I intend to continue working in the U.S. after graduation. I am not sure exactly where in the U.S. I would like to continue working, but what I will say is that I enjoy this area of the East Coast. I think it’s a good fit for me personally, and I would be happy to acquire a full-time coaching position post-graduate at a local university. I want to continue to develop myself as a collegiate soccer coach in that job.
Do you have any advice for international students adjusting to life at Hood College?
I would say a big part of it is just patience in general. You don’t become comfortable and at peace in the new environment overnight; it is a process that takes months. It might even take a year, but you will ultimately adjust and get into a new rhythm of life. The culture will become more familiar, and you will become more comfortable. You might never feel entirely comfortable or settled, but that’s just something that you will have to figure out in the coming months and years.
I will say that, in my experience, America is a place where you will always find supportive and loving people, and that is why I love it so much!
Inspired by James’ experiences as a soccer coach and international student? Ready to #GOFURTHER in your career? Learn more about Hood College’s graduate programs, such as Management Information Systems (MIS), by clicking here.