How does uda prepare students for university?
“We spend a lot of time in preparation before our students go to college. First, we introduce them to the program and share our expectations. We also invite them to an ID camp where they get to meet us one-on-one in person. Then, we invite them to an orientation where our UK staff come over to our US staff to ensure that students and staff are at the same place for the weekend. In this way, the first stage of the preparation is in the US. We also have a strong support network in the UK — from the coaching staff to the university — to guide students through their programs. As students come to the end of their careers, we hold two events. The first one is at the start, which is the Dream Maker program. The other event is a series called Life After UDA where we talk about visa process as well as soccer and career opportunities. In this way, we are involved in helping our students navigate their college life before they get there, once there, and help them figure out what they are going to do after.”
What are some advantages of pursuing higher education through uda?
“One of the biggest advantages for a player to pursue a program through UDA is the longevity of the training seasons. Typically, American students will go three to four months in training, but with UDA, they will train for nine months of the year. The students also play more games — we guarantee them 25 to 30 games. In addition to playing 25 to 30 games, the students are also going to be coached by professionals that have played in professional games, and now have coached in the professional game. Players gain three crucial benefits: longer playing, longer training, and the guidance of qualified professionals.”
What are you looking for in your players?
“We want to make sure our students complete the course, so we’re looking for students who are in good academic standing. We’re also looking for students with good character — honesty and reliability. We also want our players to be able to think critically so that they can solve problems without help. We have played with very technical players who have good mechanics, and are highly skilled, and that is usually what I look for in our potential players.”
What advice do you have for those who are considering applying to a uda program?
“Research the programs. Do as much research as you can on the potential programs; make it a job to research the program and your college opportunities.”
How do you help students plan their academic life?
“We first ask students what they think would fall in line with their career goals. We also ask them to think about the cost: whether the program is affordable. Finally, we advise them to find a program that can go side-by-side with their soccer and academic career.”