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.