This summer, GSE raised the bar for sports travel experiences with an awe-inspiring showcase that left its mark on over 700 participants from different clubs like Surf Select, USSSA, NJ Knights, IDA Bermuda, FC America, and Northeast Rush. Spanning five countries—USA, Brazil, Spain, Northern Ireland, and England, GSE Summer 2023 unfolded as a series of remarkable events that united players, coaches, and parents in an unforgettable celebration of sports, camaraderie, and adventure.
While sports were at the forefront, the cultural immersion aspect of GSE Summer 2023 added a vibrant layer to the experience. Participants had the privilege of exploring the cultural tapestries of each host country, sampling local cuisine, experiencing traditional arts, and soaking in the rich histories. GSE Summer 2023 now stands as a chapter etched in the collective memory of participants—a chapter that celebrates excellence, unity, and friendship. With its profound impact on athletes, coaches, and parents alike, GSE Summer 2023 reaffirmed its dedication to crafting sports travel experiences that inspire, connect, and endure for a lifetime.
GSE is excited to announce our 2024 tournament dates:
Surf Cup International Rome City (Rome, Italy): March 27-30, 2024
Super Cup NI (Northern Ireland): July 21-26, 2024
Surf Cup International Morocco (Tanger, Morocco): August 1-4, 2024
BH Cup (Belo Horizonte, Brazil): August 4-10, 2024
Royal Pre-Season Cup (London, England): August 16-18, 2024
Surf Cup International Salou (Salou, Spain): November 28 – December 1, 2024
Ready to book your next best experience? Get in touch with our eager team to plan your future destination today!
This year has been one for the record books for IDA at DME Academy. The competitive season began on September 15, 2022 with a 8-1 victory over Ormond Beach SC U19. This outstanding team win would mark the first of many. The team had a 20-1-3 record overall, spanning regular season games and tournaments. The team attended and won two notable tournaments this season – IMG Cup and the Easter Cup International.
IMG Cup is a prestigious tournament that attracts intense competition and a wealth of college coaches. This year, DME Academy took home the cup, breezing through the competition undefeated. They kicked off with a 2-0 win against BW Gottschee and went on to score 6 more goals in the final two games of the tournament defeating Smithtown Kickers 3-1 and Cedar Stars 3-0.
The Easter International Cup is a high-level tournament, hosting 200 top youth soccer teams across the country as well as 25 international teams. The IDA at DME Academy squad had an undefeated run in the tournament with high scoring games against Pumas FC Honduras, ANPPS Parkland Soccer, ANISA International Soccer, ASEGL Plantation FC, and a huge 6-1 victory in the championship against Florida Rush OOSA. This was a major cup win for the Academy, boosting our status as one of the top youth programs in the country.
One IDA at DME academy standout, Adrian Biaggi, committed to continue his soccer career at The University of Dayton – a division I school that competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Adrian came to the United States from Puerto Rico via IDA’s partnership with DME Academy during his senior year with no pre-existing college offers. Through hard work and exposure, Adrian earned 4 division I offers by April 1st of this year before ultimately choosing Dayton.
In addition to the Academy’s on-field success, DME recently built a 75,000+ sq foot turf field, which will play a key role in enhancing training sessions and quality of games. With state-of-the-art facilities, the Academy will be able to host high-level competitions, offer showcase events, practice on a full-sized field, and have flexible training hours.
This summer, IDA at DME Academy is hosting a 4-week intensive program that is designed to help serious soccer athletes improve their game. Players will participate in two daily training sessions, beach workouts, S&C sessions, receive a highlight video and professional photos, and have the option to take ESL courses. The camp is open to both boys and girls ages 13-19.
Ready to ignite the dream? Speak to a representative today about opportunities with IDA at DME Academy!
Our IDA staff was recruiting at the 2019 Youdan Cup in England when they noticed a stand-out player. In a game between GPS National Team and Sheffield United, GPS player Jeremy De Leon took the spotlight. Jeremey, being a former Puerto Rico Surf player, decided to join IDA Valencia in 2020 to complete his high school education with USPA while training full-time.
A few key factors contributed to Jeremy’s success and growth as a player. At the International Development Academy, we strive to provide our players with all the resources, energy, and motivation needed to achieve their goals. However, success does not come without work. Jeremy embodies IDA’s values; he came to IDA with a rather small stature and built up his strength and technicality over time. His dedication to the game and the culture at IDA was met with a rewarding career at the International Development Academy and beyond.
At just 17 years old, Jeremy led the Puerto Rico Under-20 Team in the 2022 CONCACAF Championship Qualifier with two goals against Bermuda. De Leon also competed in Puerto Rico’s 2022 UNCAF U-19 Tournament in Belize, where he netted 2 out of 3 goals in a 3-3 draw. After one year at IDA, he became a regular with the senior Puerto Rican national team as well as catching eyes from Atletico Madrid and Villarreal.
Following a very successful trial with CD Castellon’s youth team, where he scored 11 goals in 10 games, Jeremy De Leon signed his first professional contract with CD Castellon’s first team—members of the third tier of Spanish soccer. The contract will last until 2024.
Jeremy’s professional debut in the Primera Division RFEF was in CD Castellon’s derby game against Villarreal CF B. He would go on to play against FC Barcelona B at the Estadi Johan Cruyff at just 18 years of age. Since joining the Castellon squad, Jeremy has earned match MVP, gained sufficient minutes, and proven his worth at the professional level. Perhaps Jeremy’s most treasured success to date was scoring in front of a sold-out crowd in Castellon’s 4-3 playoff victory against RC Deportivo on June 11, 2023.
IDA offers ambitious student-athletes aged 15-22 the opportunity to develop their game while following a fulfilling academic curriculum. With four locations throughout the United States and Europe, players are in control of their own pathways to college and/or professional levels. Stay, train, and compete in over 50 matches a year while pursuing the next steps in an athletic and academic career.
Schedule a call with a representative to see how IDA can help you take the next step in your soccer development.
High school is a crucial time in any student’s life. It is difficult to juggle high school academics and high-level athletes at the same time, so we have partnered with some of the best in the business to accommodate our student-athletes to ensure they are set up for a successful future both on and off of the field.
IDA offers high school academics that fulfill the high school curriculum needs of both the United States and the United Kingdom.
US Performance Academy – Spain & UK
We partner with USPA, a fully accredited, NCAA approved online high school academics that allow our student athletes to train full-time. USPA ensures all student-athletes receive a personalized experience by pairing them with a “learning coach”. A learning coach serves as their advisor, advocate, and mentor. This is a great tool and resource to ensure the student stays on task and is advancing as intended.
Course work at USPA is granular and flexible. It includes a core curriculum, honors and AP classes, and electives chosen by the student. Graduation requirements include the following: English (4 credits), Math (3 credits, at least to Algebra II), Science (3 credits, including Biology and Chemistry), Social Science (3 credits including World History and US History), World Language (2 credits), and Elective Courses (5 credits, including .5 credits of Health).
USPA also offers College Counseling services to all of their student-athletes to assist them in the decision of further education. USPA services are available to our athletes in the Spain and UK Academies.
Kings InterHigh – Spain & UK
IDA is partnered with Kings InterHigh, UK’s leading online secondary school. Evidently Kings InterHigh provides expert instructors, flexible learning done anywhere, engaging and innovative technology, 24/7 access to lessons, and small class sizes. Classes online are in a live, interactive manner to encourage participation and involvement. Students compete to gain points and bond with one another in a tight-knit group using a “House” system.
Kings InterHigh graduation requirements include 3 IGCSE subjects (Double Award Science, English Language, and Math), along with 4 additional GCSE subjects, selected from a comprehensive list. Along with GCSE’s, there is an A-Level option that includes 3 subjects with the option to add additional courses.
Spain and the UK offer Kings InterHigh to our student athletes.
Exceed DME Academy – Florida
Exceed DME Academy set up student athletes in Florida. A Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) provides individual-based learning at DME Academy. The curriculum is a teacher-based learning path that includes the students’ interests and PLP. All students have the opportunity for honors, advanced, and AP courses.
Exceed DME Academy offers 127 courses, conducted in a hybrid fashion (mix of online and in-person), along with 10 AP courses and 41 electives. Also, students will have small classes with an emphasis on individualized 1-on-1 learning with the teacher.
Along with basic classes, Exceed DME students have various resources for college guidance programs, SAT and ACT prep courses. The options for dual enrollment through the University of Pittsburgh online is also available. This is all done with a flexible schedule to ensure all student-athletes have ample time to take care of both athletics and academics.
DME Academy is proud of their 70% international student body with 25 countries represented. DME offers summer immersion programs to help international student-athletes get up to speed in the classroom and in the community.
To learn more about our academic offerings, click HERE.
There is no better place to grow and develop, both on and off the field, than Football’s Home. The International Development Academy UK is located in downtown Reading where student-athletes reside in Hillside Court – a safe and secure student village with 24-hour surveillance, so IDA parents will be put at ease. At IDA UK, your child will be training a minimum of 12 hours a week and be competing in games weekly. There are over 100 matches played across all three of IDA’s UK teams.
We understand that sending your child away from home is a big step. At IDA, we want both the parents and student-athletes to be excited and comfortable with the new opportunities. Our highly qualified and dedicated staff prepares your family for a seamless and positive transition. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Charlicia Henry, mother of Malachi Henry, a member of IDA UK. She commented on the family’s decision to enroll Malachi in the Academy, “My son didn’t want to attend the traditional boarding football school, so based on his age and maturity, the academy setting seemed like the best route for him. He wanted the experience of living in another country and playing football. Sending him to IDA was good because the process was not complicated.”
Charlicia mentioned that the balance between football and academics was non-negotiable for them. Although soccer is our bread and butter, we equally value academics at International Development Academy. IDA carves out dedicated time for our student-athletes to prioritize their studies. We offer high school options for both US and UK curriculums as well as multiple college-level opportunities via partnerships. Our academic structure is designed to set athletes up for success. When asked how the academic experience has been for Malachi, his mom responded, “He has enjoyed the Academic experience because he likes the set-up of the academic program. He enjoys writing, and his tutor provides feedback and is willing to organize a Zoom call.”
Playing in Europe is the pinnacle of any soccer players’ career. Opportunities arise for our players to train and enter into trials with professional and semi-professional clubs. Malachi Henry has been called up multiple times as Captain of the Bermuda Under 17 team. When asked how playing in Europe has helped her son, Charlicia said, “It’s more physical and faster, so he had to learn to adapt in order to improve his game. We joined IDA UK to have him develop so he can get scouted for a professional club.”
Since we are an international academy, keeping our student-athletes’ families involved is critical for us. Our Academies use 360Player, an online platform and app that shows updated schedules, video analytics, player assessments, and much more that allows parents to stay engaged. This feature is one that Charlicia commented on, “As a parent, I like the group chat with coaches and staff to keep me informed. Also, the videos of games, training sessions and Instagram updates.”
Learn more about opportunities at IDA UK and talk to a representative HERE.
We understand that not every player is ready to take on the demands and responsibilities of a full-time commitment at one of our Academies. IDA offers other opportunities to receive the same benefits and exposure to a top-level training and learning environment, known as our Short-Term Programs. These programs are offered in a multitude of ways including Camps, Player Experiences, Men’s Trials, and Pre-Season.
What sets us apart from any other camp?
- We offer a variety of year-round, short-term programs and take the time to customize your experience to your goals and level.
- We treat our players like professionals from the minute they arrive. Our programs are a great opportunity to enter a full-time, professional environment for the first time.
- Along with daily training from our highly qualified staff, all of our programs include real games, competition, and exposure.
- Players will walk away with a wealth of knowledge and tools – how to live like a professional, the best training habits and insights to the analysis of the game, nutrition, psychology, and how these off-the-field aspects will help you succeed.
- Players will gain access to usable footage for college recruitment.
- We offer professional feedback and advice on what next steps to take – whether that be with IDA or not.
- Players will be exposed to a long-term development plan. Development is not simply one camp and done. Players who attend our programs will understand everything that IDA has to offer in terms of a real pathway into the next level – college, semi-professional, and professional. One of our experiences is just the beginning.
Offered at IDA Valencia, IDA UK, and IDA Florida, our camps are a great way to get a taste of what being an IDA student-athlete is like. Valencia and UK campers are offered a one or two week camp option. Camps include 12-15 hours of training per week from UEFA Pro/A Licensed coaching staff, US University Pathway education, IDA Performance Program (S&C, nutrition education and video analysis), cultural exposure, all inclusive housing, and meals.
Florida campers can choose from a one-week option up to a four-week experience. Players will train twice per day, have four Strength and Conditioning sessions per week, and enjoy beach workouts. Additionally, every player will be given one full highlight video, professional photos, and the opportunity to visit universities.
To find out more about IDA Camp Opportunities, click HERE.
Our Player Experience is a great option for more serious players who want to play at the next level. Offered at IDA Valencia and IDA UK, this program allows players to train, compete and experience day-to-day life of our student-athletes. Player Experience integrates directly into our full-time residential academy program. This is a great way to gain all the benefits of IDA’s full-time program in a short amount of time. It also is an opportunity to test out if living abroad is a good fit.
To find out more about IDA Player Experiences, click HERE.
Men’s Trials are for 18+ year olds who want to fulfill their dream of playing in Europe while gaining exposure and experience. In addition to IDA coaches, coaches from local men’s teams are invited to scout potential players. Men’s Trials include up to a month of top-level training, two matches per week against local teams, showcase games with scouts in attendance, IDA Performance Program, and video footage of games. An opportunity abroad like this is the perfect chance to learn about new cultures and learn in a new environment.
To find out more about IDA Men’s Trials, click HERE.
15+ year olds who want to prepare for their upcoming season at the highest level are a perfect fit for our Pre-Season Program. With one to four-week options, players will train at an intense level while working on their fitness and playing against top competition. Similar to our Men’s Trials, there will be 1-2 training sessions per day, 2 matches per week, and showcase games with head coaches in attendance.
To find out more about IDA Pre-Season, click HERE.
Hear it from our Players:
Dean Harper of IDA Valencia used his time during the Player Experience Program to adjust to living alone and training at the highest level. Dean said, “The reason that I decided to go full time with IDA was because I knew there was nowhere else where I would grow and develop as much as IDA. The most important factor for me was that it took me out of my comfort zone. I was one of the younger members in the academy. I didn’t know anyone and I was really able to experience what it was like to fight for your place in the team every single day, because nobody’s spot is ever guaranteed here. There was a huge change in my speed of play during my trial period, which was another contributing factor to my decision to go full time.”
Current full-time IDA Valencia player, Ryan Hashemi, reflected on his time during Men’s Trial. He said, “My experience with the Men’s Trial was one of a kind. I arrived at the airport and immediately saw the organization and professionalism of the academy. I was easily able to locate my driver who was waiting inside the airport waiting for me with his IDA gear on. Then, we to the resort which they toured to me which has everything someone needs to become a professional footballer. Every single day there was training during the day, and then one at night or a game. We spent time traveling to different cities and playing against different teams. New people would come all the time to the academy from all over the world and quite honestly, it blew way past my expectations. Jordi and the staff really gave us an amazing summer opportunity that I will surely never forget. After that month, I decided to come back to IDA for the full season. I realized that if I want to become a professional, as long as I put in my side of the work, IDA will support me with the rest of it. Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve improved beyond my imagination. I have played with multiple Spanish teams, gone on very high level trials and I am now signed to a team again and play games in the Spanish league system. I’m very thankful for IDA, Jordi and Ben Poulton because without them I would not be where I am today.”
This March, our Academies are busy competing in various cups and matches, our very own IDA March Madness. Check out below for a weekly updated schedule of our UK, Valencia and Florida Academies and full matches of selected games of the week!
First up on our list of Academies is IDA Valencia. Located right in the heart of Spain, residents live in full-board accommodations with all facilities just a short walk away. At IDA Valencia, your child will be training at the highest level for 12+ hours each week. Along with training in the IDA environment, players will have opportunities to enter into trials with semi-professional and professional teams. Your child will be set up with all the resources and tools needed to be successful on and off the field, granted the player puts in the necessary work.
Sending your child abroad can be a big step. At IDA, it is important that parents are equally as excited and comfortable with the new challenges and opportunities that await our players. We had the chance to talk with a few parents of current IDA Valencia student-athletes; safety was a resounding non-negotiable factor, and we are proud to make safety our biggest focus.
Tamara Harper, mother of Dean Harper, said “Dean is our only child. Making the decision to send him to Spain was not an easy one for us. We took several months to think about it. We decided we would like to test the program a bit before we committed to it. I flew over with Dean in November of 2021. I dropped Dean off at IDA and I stayed in the hotel very close to IDA for two weeks. This gave me some time to get to know Betera and Valencia, meet the coaches, see the dorms and really get a feel for the program. I wanted to get a feel for the safety and the environment. I walked all over the area by the training facility. I walked to Betera every day and had coffee and mingled with the people there. I also spent considerable time in Valencia. I came to the conclusion that I felt very comfortable with Dean staying at IDA. The citizens of both Betera and Valencia are wonderful people! I felt more comfortable leaving Dean in Spain than I would leaving him in many cities in the US!”
Along with a safe environment, we value our highly-qualified coaching staff and rely on them to act as mentors, educators, and all-around positive figures for our athletes. John Layman, father of JD Layman, spoke to the character of two particular staff members when asked about IDA’s best offerings. “Integrity of the leaders. Jordi and Ivan care about the boys and work hard to provide a positive and professional environment. It isn’t just about the money.” Tamara Harper agreed with our valuable coaching staff when asked the same question. “Most importantly are Dean’s coaches! He really trusts them and feels they both challenge and support him. That is invaluable and, ultimately, I believe this is why Dean is thriving at IDA!”
Regardless of your family’s end goal, IDA will support and guide your child to get there. For the Harper’s, the goal is simple: “Dean wants to be a professional soccer player. Our end goal in joining IDA was to get the absolute best training we could for him. We feel very fortunate to have IDA.” The Layman’s are all about development, and, when asked about their end goal with IDA, responded, “Live in an academy opportunity to provide guidance and mentoring for my boys’ development as young men.”
Both parents that we spoke with agreed that sending their children to Europe made all the difference in their soccer careers. We prioritize high levels of training and competition to drive positive development. When you send your children to IDA, they will be pushed and challenged to become the best they can be. Tamara Harper said, “Knowing how serious Dean is about becoming a professional soccer player, the one non-negotiable was the level of the training. I expected the absolute best training for Dean. That means he is training with the best players and playing on the best teams. The coaches were able to assess Dean and place him in training situations that helped him grow.” John Layman agreed, saying, “JD has been exposed to consistent high-level soccer opportunities. He is learning to be a professional. He understands the Spanish culture and competitive soccer environment. When he returns on breaks, his development far exceeds his peers attending and playing at D1 schools.”
Although developing soccer players is our goal, we equally value the personal growth that your child will experience in the process. Living in a new country allows for cultural exposure, independent learning, and preparation for the next level. “The cultural and soccer combined experience will make them ready for independent living. “Regardless of the soccer potential your child will come back a better soccer player with realistic expectations,” said John Layman. Tamara Harper expresses her gratitude for the lessons IDA has taught her son, Dean, as well. She says, “As you might imagine, IDA has prepared Dean for college life as well as professional team soccer life. He is an only child and had never experienced much about living with other young people his age. He has had to learn how to manage his own bank account, laundry, and food. He had also learned how to live with roommates and really communicate. I have to say that Dean has met some amazing young men at IDA and I believe many of them will remain friends for life! My son has really grown both as a soccer player and as a young man because of IDA. It has not always been easy. You and your child will both be challenged. I believe, however, that you will both grow and become closer because of it.”
Learn more about opportunities at IDA Valencia and talk to a representative HERE.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Of IDA’s 285 alumni, 84% of them reached their ultimate goal, whether it be playing collegiate soccer or signing professional contracts. We are proud to have 5 alumni who have signed professional contracts, and 80+ who have gone on to play at the collegiate level. IDA Valencia Alumni, Jeremy De Leon, played for Puerto Rico in the 2022 CONCACAF U-20 Championship qualifying and now plays for Castellón in the Spanish third division. Another IDA alum, Arik Duncan, completed his time in Spain with semi-professional experience and a full-ride scholarship to play NCAA division I at The University of California, Berkeley. Most recently, IDA UK had three players (Malachi Henry, DaQaio Stewart and Paris Mitchell Robinson) called up to the Bermuda’s 2023 CONCACAF Men’s U17 Championship team.
We understand that education and athletics go hand in hand. As a result, we provide our student-athletes with a range of academic pathways to help them reach their full potential both on and off the field. From high school to graduate school, we are committed to meeting each student-athlete where they are at in their journey and equipping them for success.
For high school student-athletes, we partner with US Performance Academy, a fully NCAA-supported online education program that offers flexible schedules without compromising the quality of education. We also partner with King’s InterHigh, world-renown online British school. Our student-athletes have the opportunity to continue their pathway in Europe by working toward a degree at renowned universities such as Universidad Europea, Loughborough College, and the Link Campus University, and also have access to extra-curricular resources like ESL, Spanish, SAT/ACT Prep, and a UEFA B coaching course.
At IDA, our mission is to help student-athletes achieve their athletic and academic goals. We believe that education is just as important as sports, and we are dedicated to providing our student-athletes with the tools they need to succeed both on and off the field. Whether you are an aspiring student-athlete just starting your journey or a seasoned pro looking to take your game to the next level, we are here to support you every step of the way.
Learn more about our academic offerings here.
If your athlete has already secured a spot at a college or university but wants more time to get to the top of his or her game, a gap year at our residences could be a great fit. Spending a year abroad is a great way to gain an edge before going into college soccer. Our players are pushed to their max each and every day, constantly sharpening their skills and experiencing game-like training. A gap year is the perfect opportunity to be exposed to new environments and attain a new level, both physically and mentally. Playing a sport in college is rewarding but also challenging: being away from home, 25+ hours of practice per week, difficult classes, a new social atmosphere, etc. A year playing abroad is the perfect segment into this lifestyle. Our alumni, Kaden Foreman, did just this with his Gap year. He decided to join IDA UK in order to fine-tune his skills in preparation for college soccer. He started college at Rollins College and made an impact on his team immediately, starting 19 of 19 games.
The IDA philosophy on the college recruitment process is that each athlete is unique and they need specific help to identify the “right fit” for their college experience. This is a very important decision for our young student-athletes, and the first big life decision where they really need to be accountable and think through their decisions. There are different factors at play, depending on the individual, but the main three are academics, soccer and the social environment.
The IDA college recruitment program is designed to educate players and parents in the college recruitment process, provide them support in every aspect from creating profiles and video highlight reels, to communicating effectively with college coaches and navigating the admissions process seamlessly.
We will provide an initial onboarding call with families as they join the IDA program to get to know the individual goals for each player academically and athletically. Players will receive ongoing support during their time at IDA to monitor and evaluate their communication with college coaches and to help with all questions on admissions and finance, to ease the stress in the process.
Our staff knows what amount of dedication is needed to help players achieve their goals, and we make it known from the beginning that hard work drives success. Our academies use an advanced training software called 360 Player. This program not only keeps players on track with training sessions and academics, but also houses a development section that provides game breakdowns, film, and statistics for each player. This gives our players the unique advantage to learn from both successes and mistakes by watching high-quality films.
Along with making sure each player is on the right path with their studies and training, we also offer a weekly College Placement Group to help players figure out what is best for them moving forward. It is important to get them thinking and prioritizing their future and goals.
Check out more on college placement here.
So, why do this in Europe?
With all of IDA’s advantages aside, location is sure to be an important factor. What makes the European experience so unique? All of the best players in the world have origins in European clubs. From the English Premier League to the Spanish LaLiga, the European environment undoubtedly promotes player development in an unprecedented way.
At IDA, players are guaranteed to train in the most competitive and educational environments available. Our staff is dedicated to growing each player individually with training, game film, performance reviews, and UEFA-licensed coaching experience.
However, after all things have been considered, if an abroad training program is not the right fit for your player, our IDA at DME Academy in Daytona, FL will still provide access to the elite academy lifestyle.
The Whole Package
We understand that it is essential for your children to have a safe and welcoming environment to live, train, and learn. All of our residences have secure, video-monitored dormitories. Facilities are important – and we have that covered.
IDA UK – Reading, England: Students reside at the Hillside Court Village, which is located in the local Reading student community. It includes hi-speed WiFi, study spaces, full living amenities, and areas to have fun and decompress. Our athletes have access to local semi-professional club’s football grounds and facilities as well as our new 4G pitch.
IDA Valencia – Valencia, Spain: Students reside in the beautiful town of Torre en Conill Norte at the Mas Camarena Resort & Boarding School, which is less than 15 minutes from downtown Valencia. They are equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, training facilities, dorms, turf fields, running tracks, basketball courts, paddle and tennis pitches, and a swimming pool.
IDA Rome – Rome, Italy – Students live in university-owned apartments in the heart of Rome. They have space to study, socialize, and complete extra work after hours. The residence is adjacent to museums, restaurants, plenty of sporting events, and more. All student-athletes have access to professional-level facilities, equipment, instruction, and more.
IDA at DME Academy – Daytona, FL: Our US location is right on the beach and residents can enjoy the sun all year round. Our all-inclusive campus includes brand new dormitories, exceptional facilities and technology, a performance center accessible to all student-athletes, a turf and grass soccer pitch, and an advanced recovery facility.
Living at one of our residences sets players up for the focused lifestyle that is crucial to development at a young age. Athletes are able to walk out of the classroom and straight onto the pitch; this a luxury that we are fortunate to provide. Our professional atmosphere teaches diligence, time management, and hard work – all necessary attributes to play at the highest level. Our players form close-knit bonds with one another through countless hours both on and off the pitch. Our coaching staff is dedicated to creating an atmosphere that is positive, welcoming, and, most importantly, challenging.
Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of IDA 2023-2024 – talk to an IDA representative here!
Arik Duncan grew up playing soccer for Concorde Fire Soccer Club in Atlanta Georgia. After high school, he went on to start his collegiate career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2019. Arik had quite a successful career at RPI, where he played in sixteen games, tallying five goals and three assists. His college soccer career was put on hold, however, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Arik began looking for different opportunities.
Arik chose to join IDA Valencia because it had all the key components for him: an elite coaching staff, top class facilities, close knit teammates, and a high level of training right at his fingertips. “My main goal was to get better. I did not necessarily have a goal of signing a professional contract or going back to the US for a Division 1 school… I just wanted to get better.” Arik stated that the coaching staff and players with similar ambitions originally peaked his interest in IDA Valencia.
When asked about his experience in Valencia, Arik stated, “My experience at IDA was really great. Especially the first six months because that is when I was most involved with IDA. It was a really great group of guys. We were really close knit. The level of training at that time was really high, and I built some good relationships with the coaches and gained a lot of experience as a player. It was awesome in general to see around Spain and different parts of Valencia. Overall it was just a really great experience, not just soccer-wise but embracing the culture of Spain and the different lifestyles.”
Arik played with IDA Valencia full-time for six months after his arrival before reaching an agreement with UD Vall de Uxó. During this time he was still living in the IDA facilities and training with the IDA team part-time. When asked about the IDA preparation for playing at the next level, Arik stated, “It introduced me to a more focused lifestyle. I had the field right next to where I lived and I was constantly training everyday. Constantly having access to the gym, pool, recovery, being able to train as much as I was, it really prepared me to take the next step in a competitive environment.”
Arik had many great mentors throughout his career but he is especially thankful for all of his coaches and directors at IDA Valencia. Arik said, “Ivan Berlanga and Jordi Gomez have always supported me, whether it was on the field or off the field… They helped me find opportunities and to settle in Spain. George Nichols also has always helped me on the field a ton.” Arik wanted to give a special thank you to Antony Blackburn, “He was my main mentor at the time and we have a really great relationship. He has been very vital to my success in Valencia.”
Antony Blackburn, one of Arik’s key mentors in Valencia, knew his player was going to do big things. He shared with us, “When Arik joined us, we sat down for our initial meeting as we do with all players. When I asked him about his aspirations and what he wanted from his time here, he simply said “to improve and leave a better player”. We help a lot of players improve and achieve their next level. That question is often answered with something like: signing a pro or going on trial somewhere. Arik just wanted to get better. It was refreshing to hear that, and it always stuck with me when working with Arik on a 1to1 basis – he just wants to improve. Maybe for some, DIII to DI might come as a surprise, but for people who know him, it’s no accident. Arik made the most of the resources he had available here at IDA: the analysis, the sport psychology, the mentoring, the training and games programme, and working 1to1 with our staff – he truly maximised his time here. We are all extremely proud of Arik, not just for his footballing achievements, but just as much for his growth as a person – he’s had a lasting impact on our staff and our program. UC Berkeley have signed a fantastic player and an exciting talent. But above all – and most importantly – a wonderful person.”
Arik is taking the next steps of his career at The University of California, Berkeley in mid-January and will compete for his final two years of eligibility in the NCAA. His impressive development earned him a full-ride scholarship over the course of his time as a Golden Bear. Arik gives this advice to any younger athlete aspiring to play at the next level, “You have to really be obsessed and have to really want it. Training well, eating well, making good habits. Being obsessed with the game, falling in love with the game.” IDA wishes Arik the best of luck as he continues onward with his soccer career at Cal!
If you are interested in learning more about IDA or our resources available to help you get to the next step in your soccer career, speak with an IDA representative here.