Nov 13 2013

NSA – Folsom CA

Wednesday Nov 13 2013

Local teens have chance to play soccer overseas

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor

As a 15-year-old California teenager, Brian Altman traveled to England to play in a soccer tournament. It’s a trip he remembers well nearly 30 years later.

Today, Altman, 44, is a board member and soccer coach with the Folsom Soccer Club and is grateful for the opportunity he had as a teenager.

“It was a team that was assembled to go to Europe and we played in this tournament in England against teams from England, as well as Spain and Germany,” Altman said. “It was a cool experience and a lot of fun. It was eye-opening to do something entirely different with soccer and to see how players and teams from other countries play. Seeing the other styles of play was entertaining.”

Altman said it was exciting for a 15-year-old kid to travel to England to play soccer, while his parents stayed at home.

“Win, lose or draw, there’s something to be said to being a part of a team that has the opportunity to travel to another country,” Altman said. “Something like that doesn’t happen often. Most kids don’t get to too many places and some think anything east of Colorado is considered the East Coast. It’s good to get out and experience different places, people and the world.”

Youth soccer players serious about soccer and traveling overseas can learn from the same experience as Altman had through the 22nd annual National Soccer Academy’s Eurotour Teams training/tryout sessions to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 and Dec. 15. The training session Nov. 17 will be held at Livermore Park in Folsom, while the Dec. 15 session will likely either be held at Folsom or Vista del Lago high schools.

The sessions are open to all serious players regardless of club affiliation and will consist of exercises conducive to players showing off their abilities. Players can attend one or both sessions and players and parents are encouraged to attend the meeting following each get together.

The NSA program, run by Fred Hsu, is open to boys and girls born between 1997 and 2003. Cost for each training/tryout session is $35.

The players selected for the National Soccer Academy’s Eurotour Teams will travel to Iceland, Sweden and Denmark from July 5-27, 2014. Not only will the teams play in tournaments, but they will also see a different part of the world and broaden their horizons through cultural exchange.

In the future, Esfandiary and City of Folsom Recreation Manager Lynn LePage hope to take the program a step further by inviting players from Europe to come to Folsom to have the opportunity to play in America and explore the region including Folsom, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Yosemite and gold country, among other areas.

The idea stems from the goal of exposing players to the game of soccer globally, as well as life itself.

“It’s a big world out there and there’s a lot to learn,” Esfandiary said. “By taking the kids to Europe, they will see how people live and how they train for soccer and how they play. They will make new friends. They get to see another part of the world and they get to play soccer. It’s a win-win situation. As someone who is not from this country, I know California is a great place to live and there are a lot of great things here, but there’s a lot more in the world than California.”

Esfandiary is looking forward to the trip next July, as it will give him the opportunity to get to know some coaches from another country, meet the people in charge and then offer them the opportunity to come to the U.S.

“It’s great for everybody,” Esfandiary said. “We’re using soccer as an exercise for cultural exchange. This is Fred’s business and he’s got the track record with it and he’s helping us out in that way, but we’re helping him expand and helping our community at the same time.”

For more information, contact Joe Esfandiary, at esfandiary@sbcglobal.net or Fred Hsu at 530-400-1903 or at nsaguru@gmail.com and visit nationalsocceracademy.com.