This year, the UoG players have had some unique opportunities in the football world. The team had the recent opportunity to attend a Champions League game between Manchester City and the Belgium champions, Club Brugge at The Etihad in Manchester. Following that win, the students came back for another Premier League match between Manchester City and Brentford. Finally, the UDA UoG squad attended an FA Cup game between Liverpool and Norwich at Anfield.
We strive to create a football experience for every UDA student-athlete. "What an achievement for these players" said Programme Director, Mal Salville. Opportunities to attend professional matches are integral to the student-athlete experience and allow them to immerse themselves in British culture during their time in the UK.
In addition to visiting some of the top world class sites for football, the students get to bond with one another during their excursions. It's more than just building a football team, it's about building a team for life on and off the pitch.
Four students from the UDA Academy at New Mexico State, Nate Stewart, Joaquin Villescas, Matteo Cavallo, and Kean Garcia spent their spring break visiting the University of Gloucestershire campus, training, and playing with the UDA UoG Academy students this past week.
"I really enjoyed experiencing a day-to-day life as a UDA UoG student-athlete" stated Matteo Cavallo.
During their visit, the students played at the local professional stadium, Gloucester City AFC as part of a UDA showcase event.
The NMSU students also had the opportunity to play against the University of Gloucestershire first team, train with the UDA coaching staff, and watched a local professional game at Cheltenham Town.
Watch Matteio Garcia's goal in the 3-1 win against a Gloucester City AFC squad.
To top off the visit, the NMSU students visited London while two others attended the West Ham versus Aston Villa game at the Olympic Stadium.
Head of the UDA UOG Academy, Dave Nicholos, complemented the students from the NMSU Academy stating, “The students were top class in all respects. They were on time, courteous, hard working, and were excellent throughout the trip. A credit to the coaching staff at New Mexico and the UDA organization.”
"Overall, the trip was another great experience and culturally enriching. Some of the highs to take away from the trip were experiencing a different culture, playing against a different style of soccer, traveling, watching a Premier League game, and playing a professional youth team" stated Nate Stewart.
In an ongoing effort to widen and broaden experiences and opportunities for students, we look forward to continuing to provide training and playing opportunities, for selected students both in the UK and USA.
Over President's Day weekend, first-year at UDA UoG, Roi Gil attended the BBYO International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
The BBYO International Convention is an annual event where more than 5,000 young-adult leaders of the Jewish faith come together to attend one of the largest gatherings of teens in the world.
During the convention, delegates have the opportunity to attend speaker sessions, learn leadership skills, and experience the energy filled weekend among new and old friends.
The convention is also an opportunity for participants to garner leadership skills within the Jewish community while having access to music performances and global friendship throughout the weekend.
Throughout the weekend, Gil held a few roles. The first was to speak about his experiences being a Jewish athlete in a university setting. During the convention, Gil got to be a part of two panels where he detailed his experiences in the UDA Academy at UoG to interested teens considering furthering their athletic careers.
Gil's second role was to be an advocate for Lost Tribe's community. Lost Tribe Esports is one way that teens and young-adults come together to share and learn more about the Jewish faith. Gil became a Minecraft Counselor at Lost Tribe Esports, where their mission is to strengthen Jewish identity among teens, particularly through online gaming. Through his position, Gil became a lead counselor where he taught children about Judaism through the popular video game, Mindcraft.
From this position, Gil discovered that Lost Tribe had an athletics branch, Lost Tribe Athletics, that he quickly joined. Lost Tribe Athletics can now sponsor Jewish collegiate athletes, which allows Gil to meet monthly with a community to discuss upcoming opportunities for events and projects while advertising the organization's mission.
At the convention, Gil used his knowledge of Lost Tribe to share his experience with how the organization uses social media and video games to build a community for Jewish teens and young adults to connect. Gil notes he had the opportunity to meet four other sponsored athletes and staff members from Lost Tribe, "It was great to see them in person and not behind a screen. I'm looking forward to seeing them at the next event," he added.
Reflecting on his biggest take-aways from the convention, Gil noted, "hearing how others have dealt with being Jewish athletes in areas with a small Jewish population has helped me learn ways of improving my understanding on how to make the most of my university experience." He continued, "I also believe that this convention combined with being in the Lost Tribe community ensures that even in an area with not a huge Jewish community, I am part of a Jewish community. Attending this convention helped me realize that."
Although this is Gil's first year attending BBYO IC, he can't wait for conventions to come.
If you are interested in learning more you can view BBYO IC's mission and future events here. If you'd like to help further the Jewish faith among teens and young-adults, consider becoming part of Lost Tribe Esports or Lost Tribe Athletics.