Kolby Kettler 08/01/2018
Thank you again for the opportunity to travel to Denmark and Sweden and spend wonderful time with family and new and old friends.
Your philosophy of using soccer and travel to gather various players from different countries, while providing unforgettable and priceless experiences on and off the field, is something extraordinary. I have truly enjoyed watching my daughter grow up over the last few years from middle school to high school to a committed D1 soccer player, but the experience of traveling and playing this wonderful game abroad has provided her with a unique opportunity to grow in the game and with personal relationships with players from around the world. This opportunity is very special and more importantly it creates memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
As a parent, traveling with this group has been a great pleasure. The coaches for NSA have proven to be able to mix a healthy amount of soccer with sightseeing and excursions that are enjoyable for young and old. Also… The coaches for NSA have proven again to be great individuals that really have the best interest of all the participants and players in mind. They go out of their way to be a part of the entire group and really help facilitate an enjoyable experience.
Travel to other countries is always exciting and in many cases stressful. NSA has proven to continue to refine and improve their approach to travel, while always focusing on providing a comfortable, educational and most importantly a safe environment for players and parents.
As for my experience this year, it was great to meet the players and the parents. I had a wonderful time enjoying the matches, the beaches, the amusement parks, sightseeing, dinners, parties and much more! The coaches and kids made the soccer matches exciting to watch while the entire group made all of the excursions a blast! Kettler – 2016 & 2018 (Parent) 8/1/2018
One of my favorite parts about the tour is meeting families and players from various parts of the world and watching the kids make new friends so quickly and bond through their common language of soccer. It’s incredible to have a diverse group of kids from all over the world on the same team. To me this trip is not only about the sport but also an unforgettable cultural experience. People were so friendly that even my non-soccer-dad husband enjoyed socializing tremendously! I loved listening to his cheers for all the players and laughter of joy during the games. I also loved watching my son dance with his friends while cheering for NSA. 🕺Another part of the tour that is memorable to me is the great sportsmanship these players demonstrated on and off the field. These players encouraged one another on and off the field and helped their opponents as well when they got hurt on the field. Multiple times during
the games, I observed our players check or help their opponents after a fall or impact. Several players also jumped in eagerly to cover as goalkeeper when help was needed. The great sportsmanship seems like second nature for these players, and the life lessons will carry beyond the field. Thanks to these great players, their wonderful coaches, and supportive parents, the NSA Eurotour has been a tour of a lifetime! Thank you again for a wonderful tour this year!! It was even more amazing this time! I see how you do this year after year. It’s addicting! I can hardly recover from the fun times, and I was only there for one week. What a great group of people this year. Even Ben broke out of his shell and got super into it. 😉 Thank you again for everything! These fun memories will be with us forever. 🙂
Patty (parent 2017, 2018)
This journey is all about the player, team, twenty seven years of contributions and lifelong experiences that NSA provides. NSA supports this perfectly.
From Erin Lehmkuhl, our spunky Goalkeeper in 1996 on the team that won all games in 3 major tournaments:
In the summer of 1996, I was invited to accompany the National Soccer Academy on a three-week tour through Scandinavia. I left expecting to play world class soccer, I returned expecting the world to have changed as much as I did.
My soccer skills certainly matured but it was my newly refined social skills that surprised me. When my mom left me at the gate in San Francisco that early Saturday morning, I didn’t know a single soul. Three weeks later, eight of the oldest players including myself sat up all night in a small Finnish hotel earnestly clinging on to our few last hours together.
My first game as an international player began on a “sand” field, which is just a Swedish euphemism for dusty gravel. My foot-playing teammates probably didn’t mind the field choice as much as I did, being their goalie. No matter, we beat them 10-0 on their on field and thankfully I didn’t have to make any diving saves. We continued on that victorious trajectory for the following eighteen games, taking home three championship trophies and one Best Club award.
Personally I took home much more than medals. Jaime, my NSA coach, developed my tactical skills just as much as my physical dexterity. Using chalkboard drawings to illustrate points and initiate constructive conversations, he guided our team through our common adolescence. I gained an understanding of the game’s mechanics, which then provided me with the confidence to take command of my eighteen-yard box and the authority to verbally take command of my team. Until this point in my young career, I had never felt like I could lead a team – that was my downfall. I couldn’t lead because I didn’t know where to point my team. NSA took the time to teach me.
These days, Crissy, one of my old teammates, is playing professional soccer in Europe. That may have been my childhood dream but six years after my return, I am quite content with where my NSA experience has left me. Using soccer as my means of access, I have since traveled to countries like Australia and New Zealand. Back home, I have continued my soccer into college at the University of California at Santa Barbara on the club team where we have gone to nationals twice in my two years on the team. Still infatuated with travel, I left for a six-week backing adventure through Europe last summer and this coming year, I hope to study abroad in Mexico City.
I have friends all over the world. I have terrific memories of worldly places. I continue to play soccer. I have the National Soccer Academy to thank.
Erin Lehmkuhl 7/22/2002