When you graduate from high school, you know that you want soccer to still be a huge part of your life. You may still want to go to college or you may be aiming for a spot on a pro team as soon as possible. One way to play a lot of soccer and get ready for your future is to play soccer overseas. Here are five reasons why it could benefit you to play soccer in another country.
1. Develop Technical Skills
Are you frustrated because you didn’t get an offer from one of the college scouts? Or maybe you didn’t get a tryout for a professional team. Consider going to another country to work on your technical skills. Many gap year fellowships exist that will give you the opportunity to live in another country for a period of time. You can join a team and practice your sport while living with a local family and gaining global experiences. Soccer is more popular in most other countries than in the US so the availability of training programs may be greater.
2. Increase Recruitment Desirability
Maybe you weren’t the top recruit out of high school, but if you keep working on your skills after graduation and then go to try out for a college team, you’re more likely to stand out. Your effort to develop your skills will demonstrate a commitment to the sport and to your future team that could not only land you a tryout but a leadership position when the coaches see how dedicated you are to improving your game. Playing overseas can also increase your job prospects. If you hope to work as a soccer coach, international game experience will stand out on a resume because you’ll have a more diverse set of skills to teach players.
3. Learn a New Language
Sports are an important way to connect with people who are different from you. When people from different places connect over the love of a sport, it’s easier to see the similarities between you than the differences. Once you make that connection, you’ll be motivated to share your culture and language. When you play on a sports team, you spend a lot of time with your teammates. If you play soccer in another country, you’ll have built-in language tutors to help you enhance your soccer skills as well as your language skills. Knowing another language can have many advantages for your future soccer career as well because you’ll be able to help other players connect with a team simply by being able to speak to them.
4. Travel to New Places
If you’re going to play soccer in another country, take advantage of the opportunity to travel. You might have always wished to hike in the Alps, so once you’re living in Spain, for example, you have to take advantage of the proximity to make your hiking dreams come true. Make friends with your teammates and visit their homes with them or travel together to new places. When you arrive in a new place, see if you can join a local pickup game of soccer. Get to know the locals and take recommendations for their favorite eateries and places to visit.
5. Expand Your Horizons
Many teens don’t know what they want to do after high school. Pursuing soccer overseas gives you the opportunity to expand your horizons and get to know people from many different places who value things differently and look at the world in unique ways. Maybe you’ll find something that you’re as passionate about as soccer and you can pursue that while playing soccer for fun. Maybe you’ll realize how important soccer is in your life and you’ll pursue a career as a professional soccer player who specializes in connecting international players to their new teams because of your experiences playing soccer internationally yourself.
Whether your future is completely centered around soccer or you decide to make it more of a hobby, there are endless benefits to taking the opportunity to play soccer overseas.