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A Soccer Dream Come True

Spanish foreign exchange student lives out dream of playing soccer in the USA

Biel, our ETC exchange student from Spain, has already been contacted by a University in Montana. He has to return to Spain for his last High School year, but is open to the possibility to study at an American University.

Biel is kind, gentle, and has a great sense of humor. It was his dream to come to the U.S. and this has been better than he expected. Biel was born in Tarragona, Spain. He started playing soccer when he was 4 years old. At the young age of 9, he was selected by the Nastic Tarragona club, and trained with them for 4 years. This is a very important club that competes with big teams like the Barca from Barcelona. He plays as a goalie and he mentioned everyone makes fun of him on his team since he never runs. Then, last year he became member of another soccer team in Reus who also competes with leaders in his country.

Biel is living with an amazing host family in Billings Montana. He describes them as friendly, caring, fun, and said that he feels very fortunate to be with such a fantastic family. His host dad is a soccer coach. The connection was immediate with all the members of the family.

The trajectory of his “mini career in soccer” in the U.S. started at the High School level, he played until the season just ended. Now he is part of the Montana Youth Soccer Club.

The Montana Development Program (MDP) is a state program offered by Montana Youth Soccer. MDP falls under the Olympic Development Program (ODP) umbrella of US Youth Soccer at the national program level.

Here is his testimonial letter about his exchange experience in the USA!

Soccer has been my passion since I was very little. 

It has been a way to disconnect from different things and have a good time. I started when I was very young, 4 or 5 years old, playing at school. We tried to spend as much time as possible running after the ball. At that time, I used to play with my friends from school, indoor soccer, and then I enrolled to play soccer as we know outdoors. 

Then I started to play as a goalkeeper, this was the position nobody wanted to play in, but I did like it. I spend a year with this club until I transferred with the Club Nastic from Tarragona, the team of my city, I was 7 years old then. I really improved there, as I was training several days a week, everything was more serious too. I played with them until I was 13 years old, then I tried to get into other clubs around my city. In those clubs, I did improve a lot, I became the official goalkeeper, the player playing more time from the group! Beside the training with the team, I also trained specifically as a goalkeeper; techniques, placements, and all the details relevant to being a goalkeeper. This training went beyond goals being stopped by an acrobatic stop. These trainers helped me a lot as they also came to see me play during the games, if I failed in something, they would work with me to fix it. In those clubs, I played against great teams and others very goods too, el Barça, el Cornellà, el Español, el Villarreal, el Nástic, among others.

Last year, I was recruited by a club that I always admired for its amazing team, the Reus Team. This was very serious and almost at a professional level. We were playing at the maximum level of Catalunya in our age range. It was an amazing learning experience, both as a player and as a person. We had a trainer for each topic, total 6, we also could rely on a trainer/coach at the gym club, and a psychologist.

This year, I am on the ETC exchange program in the U.S.A., in Billings- Montana. Football here is known as soccer, it is not the same level of experience as in Europe or Spain, because less people practice it, they also do not understand the game in the same way.

I have witnessed people really in love with soccer, and a lot of people that play it but is not so knowledgeable of its rules. I share my tactics with my team, and I have also learned a lot from them (they are 2 years older than me).

The fall season has ended; therefore, I will not play with the HS team anymore. I will be training with the Montana State team with people my age, to be ready for Spring season, as I will be playing with the city team. I will also train more days to continue improving. I am also trying to play soccer with a university here.

My relationship with my host family is very good. I am very grateful for giving me this opportunity and treat me so well from the first day I got here.

I am feeling like one of them. Like me, they love soccer, so we practice together, watch it on TV as much as we can. 

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