Taking a gap year has always been an option for student-athletes long before the arrival of coronavirus. For those who don’t know, a gap year is a decision made by a student-athlete where they choose to take a year between their senior year of high school and their freshman year of college. It is a very personal decision, but it generally revolves around the desire to achieve two things – become a better person and a better player in their respective sport. Taking a gap year to play soccer away from home is likely to see a much higher level of maturation as it will involve a young player being placed outside of their comfort zone and is excellent preparation for what college life looks like. Deciding to take a gap year to focus on developing your game will allow a player to work in a full-time, intense environment to improve their game as they continue to prepare for their final college decision.

We recently sat down with Kaden Foreman to discuss how his GAP semester in the UK impacted his playing opportunities in the United States. Kaden had a dream of playing collegiate soccer. He used a planned GAP semester to fine-tune his skills and he will be playing for Rollins College in 2022/23.

What level of soccer and club you were playing at in USA before to join IDA?

I played at the ECNL level and for my high school my senior year before joining IDA. (Ohio Premier ECNL)

What were you’re expectations enrolling into IDA?

I was expecting to live, and train in a professional academy environment with other players that were serious about reaching their various football goals. I was looking for something challenging for me on and off the pitch.

How was the overall experience from a football standpoint?

The football in England at IDA was amazing, and an experience like no other.

The first point I would make is the level of coaching from the whole staff at IDA. I have had some great coaches with amazing playing experience here in the states, however the level of coaching I received from the whole staff at IDA truly opened my eyes to what it is like to play at the next level. I have always been someone that has had a relatively high football IQ, but Coach Paul, and the whole staff really made me think and challenged me in new ways that I didn’t know were possible.

There were a variety of levels that I could play at while I was at IDA (under 18,19, and 23s) and they were all challenging in such different ways. This was something I struggled to learn and adapt to at first, but the coaching staff assured me that there was more growing I could do even if I was not in the squad playing at the so called highest level possible.

I really do miss everything about the football in England, I have nothing but positives to take from the experience. 

How did IDA help you identify list of colleges you wanted to go to?

IDA, and more specifically Peter Bradley mainly just supported me through different databases which I could use to help find colleges that had everything I was looking for. They did a great job of not telling me which colleges I had to go to, but rather supporting me in any realistic opportunities that were of interest to me. 

How did IDA support you in the process of contacting school and head coaches?

Peter Bradley, who was the person who helped me through the whole process, had almost weekly, or bi-weekly meetings with me to help me reach out or respond to coaches. He would help with wording of emails, or maybe telling me what the coaches emails to me really meant. When I was interested in a school, where Peter or one of the coaches at IDA knew the coach at the school, they would reach out to them as well, which was really helpful to create another connection. 

Do you feel IDA had an impact in your successful college process and how?

Yes, IDA absolutely had a positive impact on my recruiting process and finding the right home for me. Not only from Peter reaching out to the coaches at the school and helping me with the process, but living and playing at IDA for 6 months making me a better player and person with better habits will help me perform at the next level as well. 

What would you say to other kids coming to IDA with similar expectations as yours?

I took a gap year after high school to come to IDA to hope to find a college that felt like home and that I was really excited about playing at. I can confidently say it was the best experience of my life, without a doubt. The people you meet, things you learn about yourself and the things you learn from new mentors and friends, the memories you make, and level of football you play all exceeded my expectations. I made friends and memories that will last a lifetime, and I made my dream come true that will help me make more friends and memories on and off the pitch in the next 4 years at Rollins, all thanks to IDA.

If you come to IDA and really work hard on and off the pitch to meet your football goal (for me playing college soccer), IDA will fully support you and make sure you reach your goal. 

KADEN FOREMAN, IDA UK

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