Jamie Kent Q&A

  • Why did you want to join WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • I am passionate about travel and soccer travel specifically having traveled as a child and wanted to be able to help offer that opportunity to other children here in the US. I also felt this was a big company with lots of potential for me to build on in my career

  • How long have you been with WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • I joined WorldStrides Excel in January 2018.

  • What do you like the most about your job?

      • Meeting new people and working in sports/soccer

  • As a child, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up and why?

    • Scuba diver. I really liked it and went through several training certifications and thought I would be a rescuer swimmer/diver but that dream soon sank! Pun intended

  • If you had to describe yourself with just one emoji – which one would it be and why?

    • Smiling emoji, I’m a very easy going, happy guy

  • What do you like doing in your spare time?

    • Spending time with my 2 kids and playing/watching soccer, motorsports, Golfing

  • Have/do you play any sports? If so, what were/are they?

    • Golf, soccer, snowboarding currently & played rugby (3 games), cricket, field hockey, tennis as a kid too

  • If you were a Pixar/Disney character who would you be, and why?

    • Mufasa (lion king), I like to lead by example and now having kids I feel more responsible to set a good example and leader

  • Who is your childhood sporting hero?

    • Gary Lineker

Alan Hoyle – Team Q&A

  • Why did you want to join WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • The opportunity to help provide a fun, life changing experience for young athletes.

  • How long have you been with WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • Eight months.

  • What do you like the most about your job?

    • Working with the soccer community.

  • As a child, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up and why?

    • A basketball player- that was what I spent most of my time doing.

  • If you had to describe yourself with just one emoji – which one would it be and why?

    • Just the normal smiley, I try to be happy and make other smile most of the time.

  • What do you like doing in your spare time?

    • I volunteer coach my daughter’s u6 soccer team. I am an avid movie buff and see 4-5 movies a month at the theater.

  • Have/do you play any sports? If so, what were/are they?

    • I’ve played basketball throughout my life, I also play tennis off and on.

  • If you were a Pixar/Disney character who would you be, and why?

    • Simba has always been my favorite. He makes some mistakes along the way, but comes through in the end.

  • Who is your childhood sporting hero?

    • Michael Jordan- I grew up in North Carolina in the 80s and 90s, is there any other choice?

5 Coaching Goals We Scored in Barcelona

Day 1: Real Madrid vs. Alves

This is a #1 bucket list item for any soccer fan- to see a game in the Bernabéu! The historic stadium was packed, and the passion and atmosphere from the fans throughout the game was incredible. I was lucky enough to attend a match between Real Madrid and Alaves at Santiago Bernabéu, and although Real Madrid isn’t my team to see them play in their stadium was certainly something to brag about as a soccer person!

Day 2: RCD Espanyol Lecture

Taking part in a RCD Espanyol lecture left me with some interesting takeaways. For example, RCD Espanyol manages the player, parent, and coach interactions by only allowing players’ parents to watch training once per week. I also really liked their formula for success: Performance = Talent + Training x Attitude!

This session was also a personal highlight for me, as it brought back the memories of 2004 when my Georgetown team played against Espanyol’s reserves at the training ground stadium!

Day 3: Girona Lecture & Camp Nou

The coastal drive to Girona’s stadium is beautiful by itself, but it gets even better – Girona’s stadium sits on a scenic hilltop in this historic city.

Girona FC employs a great youth motto for their program: “ENJOY THE BALL.” Girona does a great job of breaking their academy down into two main developmental phases: U7-U15 is designated as the Learning Phase, and U16-U19 is the more advanced Performance Phase.

Though I’ve visited Camp Nou several times, it never gets old! Their special exhibit on Johan Cryuff was a huge highlight! Cryuff is widely known as the guy who started the modern way that Barcelona plays and develops its players.

Day 4: FC Barcelona Women

Having access to Barcelona’s famous youth academy “La Masia de Can Planes” was a treat! It’s easy to look at the grounds and imagine that the next Messi, Xavi or Iniesta could come from any of the fields. FC Barcelona Femení use the same facilities, and we had the unique opportunity to participate in post-training Q&A with the coach and one of the star players, Vicky Lasoda.

The day was topped off by Bucket List item #2 – the El Clásico at the Camp Nou. If you are a soccer person, then I need say no more!

Day 5: Nastic Tarragona & Catalan FA

After a morning visit and presentation with Nastic Tarragona, we had the opportunity to observe a rehabilitation training session for their players who are currently recovering from injuries. We also met with Albert Aliau, Football Director at the Catalan FA, who was the highlight of the entire program! I loved the following takeaways from his lecture:

Young players do not need warm-up. Start out with Rondos and get playing.

Training needs to look like the game.

Brazilian players do not learn their technical ability from coaches… they learn it from playing.

Article written by Keith Tabatznik, Director of Soccer, McLean Youth Soccer

Jamie Meshew – Team Q&A

  • Why did you want to join WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • I have been fortunate enough to coach and play overseas a number of times and I wanted to be able to make sure as many players and coaches as possible could have that same opportunity!

  • How long have you been with WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • I joined the WorldStrides Excel team in June of 2018.

  • What do you like the most about your job?

    • I’ve always been a talker – and now its my job to talk to people! I get to talk to people every day about my two favorite things – soccer and traveling!

  • As a child, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up and why?

    • I thought that I was going to be a professional soccer player, and if that didn’t work out then I figured I’d just work for US Soccer and coach the US Women’s National Team. No big deal right?

  • If you had to describe yourself with just one emoji – which one would it be and why?

    • I like the one with the guy wearing a monacle – He’s curious but also skeptical and I feel like I make that same face at least 30 times a day.

  • What do you like doing in your spare time?

    • I teach US Soccer Coaching licensing courses, am the GK coach at St. Edward’s University, and I coach youth soccer sessions every chance I get. I also run every day. Not necessarily far or fast, but every day. But most of all, I love to play with my 3 big dogs (Samson, Abbey, and Sydney).

  • Have/do you play any sports? If so, what were/are they?

    • Soccer has been the love of my life since I was 5 years old. I also earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do at the age of 13. As an adult I still play soccer when I can, but I’ve taken up distance running and Triathlon.

  • If you were a Pixar/Disney character who would you be, and why?

    • I like Timon, the meerkat from Lion King. He’s a little conniving, but also loyal and fun-loving. Plus, “Hakuna Matata” is my anthem!

  • Who is your childhood sporting hero?

    • Mia Hamm. No question. I had about 100 photos of her on my wall growing up. As an adult I’ve had a chance to meet Mia while working a camp with her…instantly turned into a 12 year old and had to try hard not to fangirl out!

Eric McAleer – Team Q&A

  • Why did you want to join WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • My love and passion for sports and international travel

  • How long have you been with WorldStrides Excel Programs?

    • Since 1998!

  • What do you like the most about your job?

    • The life-changing opportunities we provide!!

  • As a child, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up and why?

    • A soccer player:) Fell in love with the game around 4 years old and spent EVERY SINGLE DAY from then-on kicking a soccer ball.

  • If you had to describe yourself with just one emoji – which one would it be and why?

    • Smiley Face

  • What do you like doing in your spare time?

    • Being active outdoors; cycling, hiking, paddle boarding, golf and many other sports.
  • Have/do you play any sports? If so, what were/are they?

    • Golf, tennis, table tennis and cycling.

  • If you were a Pixar/Disney character who would you be, and why?

    • Scrooge McDuck; as he is an elderly Scottish duck:)

  • Who is your childhood sporting hero?

    • Kenny Dalglish, Jim Watt and Alan Wells…..all gave me awesome childhood memories!

Thank you El Ilusionista

Iniesta's last game

On a recent trip to one of my favorite cities, Barcelona, I had the pleasure of attending the final game of one of the world’s greats–Andres Iniesta Lujan. Born and raised in the Catalan region of Spain, he brought to an end a wonderful 22-year career with one of the world’s largest and most successful clubs, FC Barcelona. What caught my attention was the love that everyone had for this unique player. Ninety-thousand people attended his final game vs. Real Sociedad, many of whom were wearing his iconic jersey. He was, as always, one of the best players on the field that night.

Thirty-six hours earlier, I’d toured the stadium of RCD Espanyol, the crosstown rival and long-term enemy of Iniesta and his club. Hanging in their stadium was a picture of Iniesta after he scored a goal in the 2010 World Cup final. After scoring, he removed his jersey to reveal a white t-shirt with a message written to the recently deceased captain of RCD Espanyol, Dani Jarques–an awesome gesture in what was possibly his finest career moment. That t-shirt now has pride of place in the stadium entryway.

The many testimonials about Inestia all bear the same theme:  He is amazingly humble while also being extremely competitive and successful. An outstanding career for a wonderful friend to many, a fantastic teammate, warrior and role model. The world would be a better place with more Iniestas in it.