BEDFORD, N.H. -- Jack O'Brien thought his days of playing meaningful lacrosse were over. The Chelmsford native had just graduated from UMass Dartmouth in the spring and had begun working fulltime for Harvey Construction in Bedford, N.H., as a superintendent.
O'Brien graduated from Bishop Guertin High Xchool in 2014 and then went on to UMass Dartmouth where over his four-year career he played in 46 games (29 starts) and amassed 72 career ground balls and 32 caused turnovers playing primarily as a defender.
Shortly after his graduation O'Brien got selected to play lacrosse for the USA Athletes International (USAAI) in Scotland. Even though he had graduated, he had one more chance to play meaningful lacrosse again.
"It was a really cool experience," he said. "We ended up playing three games out there. One against Glasgow University, one against Edinburgh University which we won both of those, and then we went and did a box lacrosse event against the Scottish National Team."
Per their website, the USAAI is a non profit organization that focuses on giving amateur athletes and coaches the opportunity to participate in international Olympic-style sporting events throughout the world.
The organization was founded by William Edington in 1992 and was originally called the Mid-West All Stars. They focused on sending baseball players to go play overseas, but over time the organization grew.
Now, they have 15 different sports that have competed in 25 countries across the world.
O'Brien was recommended by his head coach at Dartmouth, Ryan Murphy.
"He said it's a cool opportunity that he recommended us guys for and if we can't do it no worries, but he had an opportunity when he was in college and he didn't do it and he said he had regretted not doing it."
It didn't take long for O'Brien to agree for his first chance to travel outside of the county. "In college we don't get a spring break," he said.
"We're kind of on-campus for practice and what not for all four years and my buddies would go overseas to places like Cancun or whatever, and it always made you jealous. So getting an opportunity to leave the country for the first time was definitely something I was interested in."
O'Brien went on the trip and three of his teammates went too. Dean Miller, Donovan Prozinski and Matt Daly all joined the Chelmsford native on his first trek out of the country.
They couldn't have enjoyed the trip more.
"It was really cool, just the opportunity to go out there," said O'Brien.
Aside from playing in and winning three lacrosse games, O'Brien and his team got to discover much of Scotland and learn about the culture. That in itself it the reason the USAAI sends these student-athletes on these trips.
"It was 10 days in total. The first night we stayed in New Castle in England, then we went up to Glasgow for four days, and then the last four nights was in Edinburgh," said O'Brien.
"We did a lot of sightseeing, we saw a lot of different castles. We saw a castle in Stirling, a castle in Edinburgh, we went to St Andrew's which is kind of Northeastern Scotland. We went and saw the William Wallace Memorial which was really cool," he said.
The experience did not stop there. "We got to check out the nightlife out there as well and just overall get a better feel for the country itself and kind of what goes on outside America and getting to meet a bunch of new people," he said.
"They're not shy about giving their opinions on Americans and our culture. It's pretty cool to be able to talk to them about what they feel the differences are and what not."
The games were not played in front of large crowds, but they still held meaning. "It's not a big game out there, so crowds weren't as big there as they are here, but kids who are just starting to play out there were at the game, which was pretty cool," O'Brien said.
"A lot of the kids' parents were out there too. So even for them it was kind of cool, even though the other team might not have won they were still enjoying it for what it was."
O'Brien was honored to play on the field, and he and his teammates got great treatment off of it too.
"The guys we were playing against were real cool," he said. "Some of the games afterwards we'd go to a pub or something with some of the guys and they were real open to showing us their way around the town and stuff, that was pretty cool."
O'Brien is back home now, but the trip inspired him and his plans for the future. "I coach for the New Hampshire Tomahawks, a summer team up here, and if the opportunity ever arose where this organization (USAAI) needed a coach to go out on one of their trips, that'd definitely be something I'd look into."
The experience was even bigger than the games.