ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Scott Gallagher Illinois girls program recently returned from a 10-day trip to Feyenoord in Rotterdam, Holland where the girls spent time training and sight-seeing. The traveling party included 24 players from the 2003 and 2004 age group and a handful of coaches and parents. They landed in Amsterdam on March 31st and spent the day taking a boat tour of the city. Over the following ten days, the girls completed five training sessions and played three games against regional European girls teams. They also watched three professional games involving local clubs Feyenoord, Excelsior, and Sparta Rotterdam before returning on April 6th.
“The affiliation with Feyenoord over the last several years has opened new growth opportunities for our players, parents and staff,” said SLSG IL Girls Program Director Shawn Hewitt. “Our objective with the trip was simple: give our players, families and staff the opportunity to have an incredible and memorable experience that they will remember forever. Seeing a culture rich with passion and tradition will no doubt leave an imprint on the minds of those who made the journey. A big thank you to the Feyenoord International Department led by Gido Vader, Melvin Boel and Sevy Sucurovic who took great care of our entire travel party during the trip. We are looking forward with anticipation and excitement for the next opportunity.”
"Overall, I loved the experience,” said Anna Chor. “I'm very grateful that I was given the opportunity to go to another country and see the culture and playing style of girls my age from across the world and I hope that one day, I'll be able to go back or help someone get there. I'm also forever thankful for my family, friends, and coaches who helped me get there and I hope that one day, I will be able to repay them for the experience and knowledge that they gifted me with while sending me to Europe. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am glad I got to spend it with my friends and family."
"I feel extremely lucky that I had the opportunity to play the sport I love in such a beautiful place with the most amazing people by my side,” added Gracie Giacoletto. “The memories made I will hold close to me forever.”
"I loved Holland! It was an amazing trip that I will never forget,” reflected Ella Mentzer. “I realize how lucky I am for this experience. I cannot thank my coaches enough for providing my family and I this wonderful opportunity.”
“The 2018 SLSG-IL Girls Holland trip was the perfect combination of soccer, travel, and adventure for both the players and accompanying family members,” said parent Julie Gary. “The girls were challenged to adjust their game to new teammates, coaches, systems, and opponents while becoming accommodated to another time zone. It was an amazing opportunity for my daughter and other SLSG IL players to hear new voices and soccer ideas through Feyenoord Academy coaches and teammates, to experience soccer played internationally in an unmatched environment, and to be adventurous through travel while building lifetime bonds with teammates, coaches, and family members. The girls established relationships and maintain contact with Dutch soccer players they competed against and the travelling SLSG families and coaching staff made memories and built bonds with each other that will last a lifetime. I would highly recommend the trip to the players and families who are presented the opportunity in the coming years. This trip resulted in both personal and soccer growth for Jordan and is a deliberate, well-organized, fundamental step in taking the girls program at SLSG IL to the next level.”
“As a parent observing from the sidelines, I hardly have the opportunity to see what the whole experience of playing soccer is like for my child,” added parent Gina Etter. “I see teamwork at its best and exciting play, but that’s just merely the soccer perspective. Fortunately, my trip to Holland with the 03/04 SLSG teams opened my eyes to more than I could ever have imagined. I discovered it is more than a sport. The game is as much about building character as it is competition. While on this trip, I witnessed first-hand the excellent comradery between the coaches and their athletes. I saw endless smiles on all their faces, and heard laughter of pure happiness for ten days. From the outstanding soccer training to the cultural experience gained, I have no doubt my daughter has exponentially grown as both a person and athlete. Thank you to the coaches and staff of SLSG. The hard work in planning and preparation did not go unnoticed. Your efforts created an opportunity of a lifetime. This experience gave me insight and confirmation that my child is a part of an amazing team, and she is surrounded by people who truly care about her. I speak in confidence for all parents that the training and trip were invaluable. Together as a soccer family, we created memories to last a lifetime and we are forever grateful to SLSG for their commitment to our children as they journey through life both on and off the field.”
The St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Illinois division recently announced a renewed partnership with Feyenoord of the Eredivisie (Dutch first-division) for the next two years. The SLSG IL-Feyenoord educational partnership has existed for the past four years to bridge the gap in coaching and player development for both clubs. Each year, SLSG IL staff visit Feyenoord to gain knowledge from the technical and operational side of the club while the SLSG IL players gain valuable experience by playing against Feyenoord teams.