Our 2021-2022 season is here and off to an exciting start. We are thrilled to have our athletes back on IDA grounds and grinding on their game. After navigating uncharted waters last year, IDA staff and athletes are ready to hit the field.
One Month Down
We’re a month into having our players back at our campuses and the excitement is tangible. Coaches and IDA faculty have described the first month as highly-anticipated, a season start for the books, and a flash-back of normalcy. IDA’s focus, as always, is to combine individual player development on the pitch, with academic growth in the classroom. This year we’ve made it our mission to keep our heads in the classroom and cleats in the game as safely as possible.
Covid aside, we chatted with Jordi Gomez, IDA Valencia Director of Operations, about how the first month back at their academy went. Jordi gave us the run-down on how students are getting familiar with the campus, their coaches, and the city. Here’s what he had to say:
We have 50 players this year, 35 of them are new to our academy. Our veteran players are doing a wonderful job at helping out our newer players. From navigating our campus to exploring downtown Valencia, our seasoned players have played a huge role in our new player’s induction.
Now having 12 academy games under their belt, students are settling in and losing those first-game jitters. Coach Jordi noted that as the players get more comfortable in the facility, they’re getting more curious about exploring the city. So far, they have participated in a true Valencian experience of a lifetime, the Fallas Festival. Though typically celebrated in March, the festival was postponed due to covid to the first week of September and was attended by the students and IDA staff. The festival celebrates the coming of spring, fitting as we are celebrating the beginning of something ourselves, the school year that is.
The roster at our UK academy expanded as well. We welcomed 18 new international players and over 30 domestic academy players! IDA UK General Manager, Ross Weatherstone, said that though they’ve had the biggest intake of international students to date they have all integrated seamlessly with the UK domestic players. The players settled into their residences, explored the grounds, and met their coaches, professors, and teammates the first week back. They soon hit the field as players and spectators. IDA Uk pupils traveled to Wembley, the Home of Football, to support England in their international fixture vs Andorra. England beat Andorra 4-0, we’ll just say that the campus was anything but quiet that night!
“After a fantastic summer of football in the UK with the Euros and now with the Premier League back in full flow, it is football, football, football 24/7 here in the UK.” –Ross Weatherstone
With September underway, players at both academies are excited to attend LaLiga, Premier League, and Championship games. One of the many, many perks of attending IDA in Europe is the exposure to professional clubs, being able to learn live from the best of the best. Through this exposure, our players get a full understanding of what it takes to become a professional athlete – high-level training, nutrition, rest, and competitive opportunities. In addition to the player’s local cultural immersion, they are exposed to players from all over the world. This year IDA has students from 16 different countries – the USA, Canada, and Bermuda being the most represented.
We all know navigating pandemic times is no easy feat. The only thing that is certain is our commitment to our student-athletes and their commitment to their sport and academic success. With an extensive network, throughout Europe and the US, International Development Academy ensures a diverse range of educational experiences, resources, and pathways for all of its student-athletes.