Partner Spotlight – South Texas ODP

Checking in with Gareth Glick and Jené Baclawski from South Texas Youth Soccer Association.

WorldStrides Sports has partnered with STYSA on international travel programs since 2017, including trips to Costa Rica, Germany, and the UK. Together, we look forward to more trips in new places in the years to come. 

Tell us a little bit about your history with WorldStrides Sports.
We have travelled to Costa Rica, Scotland, England, Spain and France so far.  Our next trips are planned for August 2021 to Dortmund, Germany and London/Manchester, England.

Can you share with us what an international travel experience does for your players, teams, and families?
The opportunity to travel internationally is a huge draw for many of our ODP players and parents, and is often cited as one of their favorite ODP experiences.  Parents and players see the opportunity to travel, meet and play against teams from around the world as a valuable cultural and soccer learning experience. We typically take our trips in March during the week of spring break and take multiple teams ranging from U11 to U17 in both genders. We have also taken a trip to France during the summer to coincide with the Women’s World Cup and our trips from March 2020 are now scheduled for August 2021. Every one of our players return from the trip with a different perspective on the world and a better understanding of the power of sports to unite cultures.

What have been some of the highlights from your trips with us? Do you have a favorite destination?
We have enjoyed all of the places our teams have traveled, but having the opportunity to travel to France in 2019 for the Women’s World Cup was amazing. We always look forward to planning the next trip with Worldstrides so we can discover new places and see the game from a different perspective.

Any travel advice you can share with other clubs who might be reading this?
Have an open mind, be willing to do things that are out of your comfort zone. That means trying that food that you have never eaten before, going to see that museum, and trying to learn more about the places and culture you’re going to visit. Put the phones down and take it all in. Also, be sure to spend time talking with the other coaches and players you meet along the way. Let the players compare experiences and share stories. That’s been one of the greatest takeaways for our players in Texas- making global connections!

Why would you recommend international travel for other clubs and programs?
One of the most important elements of youth sports are the experiences that they create for young athletes. International travel provides a truly unique experience for players and families and is one that we believe adds value to players both on and off the field for the rest of their lives.

Things are looking up down under

WorldStrides Sports is pleased to announce our industry-leading soccer tours are now available to Australian clubs.

Bookings have begun for travel as soon as December 2021 and January 2022.

And it a great soccer window to be in Europe, too. The holidays will be in full swing, and there are more professional matches to attend, especially in the UK around Boxing Day.

Given the distance to destinations soccer hot spots in Europe, programs originating from Australia will expand to cover a 14-day itinerary.

“What excites me most about adding our programs to our already robust portfolio of soccer tours is the fact that our Australian players will get to spend more time in Europe – that means more training sessions and more friendlies compared to teams coming from North America. It also means more time to experience a new country and a different culture, plus all of the upsides from exposure to the sheer magnitude and reach of the global game,” says Eric McAleer, SVP of WorldStrides Sports.

Dan Kellard, SVP and GM, WorldStrides Australia, is equally excited about the addition of soccer programs to student-athletes on the continent.

“As Australia’s leader in educational and snow sports travel, we’re always striving to deliver more for our travellers. The global WorldStrides family includes a team of experienced soccer experts, and we have the unique opportunity to share their knowledge, expertise, and partnerships to deliver best-in-class soccer programs for Australian players, spectators and their families. We’re passionate about soccer, often getting up in the middle of the night to watch top European teams in action. On my last short trip to London I was able to attend Premier League and Championship games within a few days of each other, and I’m excited to share similar opportunities with soccer fans all across Australia.”

Read more about WorldStrides Sports in Australia here and here.

Looking for a sports program that doesn’t start as far away as Australia? Contact us at and to get started.

Partner Spotlight – Bend FC Timbers

Checking in with Tara Bilanski, Bend FC Timbers Executive Director.

Tell us a little bit about your history with WorldStrides Sports. How’d did we connect originally? Where have you traveled with us? Where are you planning to travel to next?
We were extremely luck to reconnect with Jamie Kent! As someone who has traveled a fair amount in the past with soccer teams, I was looking for a reputable travel organization to help me take BFCT teams abroad. I had just started researching the different organizations out there when Jamie reach out to tell me that he had just taken a new position at WorldStrides Sports and that he would like to partner with BFCT. The rest is history.

We have done one trip so far, but it was the trip of a lifetime with our 05 and 06 girls to the Women’s World Cup in France! Each group then tacked on another country. Our 06 girls headed to England and the 05 girls went to Belgium.

Can you share with us what an international travel experience does for your players, teams, and families?
I can tell you that our players and families still talk about our trip on a regular basis, reliving all the fun that we had and have already started planning for their next destination with WorldStrides Sports. The same groups want to go to the Women’s World Cup in Australia in 2023! The last World Cup in France in was in June and July, so I anticipate those same travel times again for 2023. Although this time we hope to make it a longer trip to really maximize our time abroad. As for the players, I really enjoyed seeing them get out of their comfort zones to try new things, play new teams, and create new memories that they would never experience here in the U.S.

What have been some of the highlights from your trips with us? Do you have a favorite destination?
For me personally, the highlight of our trip to France for the Women’s World Cup was sitting in the front row – YES, FRONT ROW – at the top of the 18 yard box for the USA v Spain match. The tickets (for a group of 90 people) were beyond my wildest dreams and I know that every single one of our players and family members were blown away by that game.

Any travel advice you can share with other clubs who might be reading this? Plan early, budget, and make sure that everyone knows what they are signing up for. This is not a personal trip, rather it is an experience of traveling with a team and being a member of a team, so make sure parents and siblings are understanding of this concept up front.

Why would you recommend international travel for other clubs and programs?
In my experience, the travel really endeared the club members to BFCT. We got to know each other, experience fun and sometimes trying time, but at the end of the trip I know that everyone was appreciate of BFCT pulling this trip together for them.

Bend FC Timbers is the largest youth soccer organization in Central Oregon with over 3,000 players on 27 competitive teams, plus recreational programs, and is a Portland Timbers partner. 

The Lloret Cup

New for 2021!

The Lloret Cup
Lloret de Mar, Spain

Now accepting teams. Contact us at to learn more.

Open to
ODP, Academy, Club

Important Dates
Travel: 11/21/21 – 11/29/21
Pre-tournament friendlies: 11/23/21 and 11/24/21
3-day tournament: 11/25/21-11/27/21

Daily Overview
Sunday (11/21)
Overnight flight to Barcelona

Monday (11/22)
Arrival/Check-in at your hotel + training session

Tuesday (11/23)
Girona walking tour/1st Friendly match against local team

Wednesday (11/24)
Camp Nou visit in Barcelona/2nd Friendly match against local team

Thursday (11/25)
Tournament inauguration BCN Lloret Cup Day 1( group stage)

Friday (11/26)
BCN Lloret Cup Day 2 (group stage)

Saturday (11/27)
BCN Lloret Cup Day 3 (playoffs and finals)/Closing and awards ceremony

Sunday (11/28)
Barcelona full day city tour including Sagrada Familia & Park Güell

Monday (11/29)
Check-out and fly home

All teams will stay in the beautiful Costa Brava region centrally located near the playing fields.

About Lloret de Mar
Turquoise water. Golden sand. Everything about this Mediterranean beach town is picture postcard worthy and rich in history and tradition.

Lloret de Mar has received Family Tourism Destination (Destino de Turismo Familiar) and Sports Tourism Destination (Destinación de Turismo Deportivo) seals by the Catalan Tourist Board.

About Barcelona
A city that hardly needs an introduction to soccer players across the globe, Barcelona is home to two La Liga teams and a long list of major cultural and historical landmarks that define the spirit and people of Catalonia. From tradition to the avant-garde, Barcelona’s vibe is rooted in a creative culture that reaches across the globe, making it an absolute ‘must visit’ city for anyone with a passport.

If schedules allow, other sites to see are RCDE stadium, Olympic Stadium and museum, and the Montjuic Mountain cable car.

Distance to Barcelona from Lloret de Mar (by coach): 75 minutes