During the Spring of 2020, I was sitting at home with my family in lockdown because of COVID. This was a really tough time for me personally, as a missing time to develop as a GK, was hitting me hard mentally. During this period, I would often speak to my parents about what was the best move for me next. I knew I had one more year of High School to complete. We agreed that I needed to apply for colleges, which we did, but I also had a burning ambition to play soccer at the highest standard I could. This is where I had my first contact with Coach Essig from St. Francis University. I didn’t get any athletic scholarship offer at this time but it was great to see the College and understand what it had to offer.
It was at the same point of speaking to colleges that we connected with the International Development Academy (IDA). As a family, we looked at the prospect of playing in the UK, doing my High School Diploma online, and using the experience to help gain an athletic scholarship at a college in the USA. While at the same time giving myself the best possible opportunity of getting top-class coaching and being watched by clubs in the UK. My dream of being scouted by an English professional football team, felt like it could become a reality! This opportunity seemed too good to be true. It was a financial investment for the family at the time, however, this would plan out to be the best investment we could have ever taken!
Everything IDA offered us; competitive soccer schedule, high-level Goalkeeping training, playing at a very good level in the UK, strength & conditioning training, recording of games, with video analysis support to create video highlight footage, a cultural experience, an opportunity to make new friends with people from all parts of the world & play soccer with them! Has it all happened?
I say this with a huge smile on my face, and I am delighted my time at IDA UK has been more than the above! The experience has given me a whole new family. It made me believe in myself and not undervalue the skills I have. It’s driven me to improve as a footballer, psychologically, physically, tactically, technically every day! It’s given me life skills and allowed me to grow into a man in the world we live in. The coaching staff here in Reading has been incomparable. Coach Rosco and his world-class staff here have driven me to compete, show me a whole different style of football compared to football in America, and have developed my knowledge and understanding of the game.
The biggest compliment I can give IDA is the role they played in helping me gain a scholarship of $35K a year at St Francis University. In the space of 12 months, my offer changed 100%. The confidence the IDA team gave me when I met Coach Essig for a second time, played a key role in the offer I received. I am so excited to join St Francis University in Fall 2021. I also feel honored that Coach Rosco has told me the door is always open for me in the UK to train, play games and develop.
I would strongly recommend this program to anyone! If you’re thinking about taking an opportunity with IDA, my advice is, don’t think! Do! It will be the best decision you ever make.
IDA Uk Goalkeeper
Class of 2021
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