NCFC Youth, the largest club in North Carolina, has supported soccer and the soccer community of Raleigh and the Golden Triangle since 1974. WorldStrides Sports and NCFC Youth recently extended our partnership to deliver international travel programs to their players for another three years.
We caught up with Paul Forster, Director of Soccer, to ask about how things are going and how WorldStrides Sports programs have made a difference at the club.
Can you let us know how you and your staff at North Carolina Football Club have adapted to the pandemic?
Like every staff in the country, we were not prepared to deal with COVID and all the challenges it provided. With that said, I am very happy with where we are now, as a club, and it is a credit to the staff we have here at NCFC Youth. We have worked tirelessly to get back out onto the pitch to be able to train and play. It is clear our families want their children to have soccer as part of their daily routine, and we are happy to be able to provide soccer opportunities for players. There are still daily challenges we face and need to manage as we move forward.
Over the last few years, almost 20 NCFC teams have travelled internationally with WorldStrides. What does the international program offer NCFC and what benefits has it provided to the NCFC community?
There is nothing better than talking a team overseas and immersing the group (players and families) into a different culture. Our soccer families lead very busy lives, so it is great to get away and enjoy another culture while at the same time taking in some high level soccer matches. There is so much to appreciate when traveling overseas.
Your wife and daughter travelled to the Women’s World Cup in France last year, what were some of their main takeaways from that trip and do you think they will be first in line to go to Australia and New Zealand in 2023?
Funny enough, they are already talking about it. Unfortunately I haven’t been invited yet, but I have a few years to work on that! The trip to Women’s World Cup in France was an unbelievable experience for them both. To be able to combine an international trip with one of the biggest sporting events in the world is truly a great opportunity. International trips present a great opportunity to play international competition, experience a different culture, and most importantly get to see live soccer games. The whole trip was a great experience and one both my daughter and wife still talk about.
We are very much looking forward to the world getting back to normal so that we can get back to doing the things we love doing more freely. What things, both professionally for NCFC and personally are you looking forward to?
It is just great to be back on the pitch both training and playing. As a staff we work daily on trying to improve the environment for the players and families in every way can. While COVID19 has presented us with many challenges our families have worked with us to get players back on the pitch and been incredibly supportive along the way. On a personal level I look forward to the day we can watch live football matches either here with our North Carolina Football Club in the USL or the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL or perhaps traveling overseas to watch a game or two.
We’re excited to announce that North Carolina Football Club signed to renew their partnership with WorldStrides Sports to be their exclusive international travel provider. Can you talk to some of the reasons why you chose to partner with WorldStrides?
First and foremost it comes down to the people we deal with directly. Steven and Eric are always willing to get on the phone and talk with any member of our staff at any time. Our partnership is built around good relationships and we value the relationship we have the WS staff.
The professionalism of whole WorldStrides Sports staff eases our level of comfort when planning and organizing international trips. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure trips run smoothly. Our staff and families appreciate the work that the WS staff to ensure the travel experiences are positive.
The trips our families have participated in have been very, very well planned and, as staff, we know our families are safe and in good hands when they leave home. In addition to feeling safe, you guys do an incredible job of balancing the sightseeing/cultural experiences with training, playing, and watching matches. The trips are action packed and filled with great experiences for both the players and parents.
Want to get a real feel for what a NCFC Youth trip abroad is actually like? Check out the video they put together about their trip to Barcelona last year!