Each summer USIT hires hundreds of Irish football fanatics, looking for a dream summer in the US surrounded by the beautiful game. Lauren McGinn spent her summer touring through Kansas, North Dakota,South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota on our Coach Soccer Programme, before hitting New York. We’re not jealous at all… Now you can hear all about how she got on!
3 months, over 200 kids coached and 10 different states visited. Summer 2018 has been the best summer yet. I made the decision in October 2017 to apply for the Coach Soccer USA programme and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made to date.
I was placed in the Kansas region which I was initially apprehensive about as on the map of the US it looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere, far away from places such as New York or Boston. Nevertheless, I was excited for this adventure. The training weekend in Warwick answered all the questions I had and I knew I was prepared for what lay ahead.
On the 26th of May I flew out to Kansas City, had a meeting with the regional directors on the Sunday morning and then we were off to our first camp in Dickinson, North Dakota. A typical camp day involved waking up around 7:00a.m in the morning (if you had a bit to travel for morning camp). Camp typically consisted of 3 hours for a half day of camp or 6-7 hours for a full day camp. Sometimes we had an evening half day group. I did camps in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.
I usually spent my free time with my host families. Staying with host families was one of the highlights of my summer. I have met new families that I know I will stay in contact with for the rest of my life and no doubt will go back to visit. They cannot do enough for you. Initially it takes some getting used to. You arrive at camp on a Sunday with the other coaches, all lined up waiting to see what family are going to take you but by the time it comes to leave at the end of the week you don’t want to say goodbye. I spent days with my host families out on lakes, going quad biking, visiting some amazing views or just taking in some local landmarks, or going to American sports events like baseball or soccer games.
After week 1, I got to visit Mouth Rushmore, an experience that most of the human population will never get to witness. Half way through the summer is the 4th of July. This is a holiday week with no camps. I decided to go visit family in North Carolina for the week. They surprised me with a trip to Washington DC. Washington DC was beautiful and my favourite place I visited this summer. It was mind-blowing to see sites and landmarks I had only ever seen on tv. Then it was back to camp for the second part of the summer.
At the end of my coaching contract I went travelling. I visited Boston and New York. As the time came to hop on the plane home from Boston I was not ready. I wished I had more time to spend in the states, even if it was spent working (although is it really working if you’re having the best time ever?!). One of the best parts of my American experience was being able to visit states that people do not typically visit, or places that you typically hear of and see on the tv. The culture and lifestyle are completely different but so easy to adapt to. I know I will be going back next summer to explore more parts of the US.
Interested in making your own Soccer Camp USA memories in 2019? No coaching experience of badges are required and anyone aged 18-30 is eligible to apply. 90% of Assessment Day participants get hired.
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