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Soccer Training Academic Opportunities Around the World, Part 1

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Looking for play your favorite game in an exotic location? Teams in Europe, South America and Asia offer fantastic opportunities for soccer players. World-class soccer training programs in Italy, England, France, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and China have opened their doors to young players looking to hone their soccer skills.

Like any worthwhile goal, traveling abroad to play soccer requires preparation and planning. But you're used to hard work, right? If you're committed, you may find soccer opportunities you never dreamed of. You may come back with a whole new game, like Chris Musto, one of our EduKick players who recently had professional trials in Belgium.

For starters, you'll need a passport. If you're looking to spend only a few months in the country of your choice, you can get by with a North American passport. To attend a long-term soccer school program (90 days or longer), you have to apply for a student visa.

This is important because players attending our long-term study abroad soccer schools must also participate in educational coursework. This can be one of our affiliated high schools, language study at our affiliated universities, or, as in the case of Bolton, England, studying a BTEC certificate program in Sports Science. Those affiliated schools require a student visa.

To get that valuable student visa stamp in your passport, you'll need several things:

1. A "letter of invitation or acceptance" from the academic institution affiliated with the EduKick program you wish to attend.
2. Clean bill of health from your doctor and proof of compliant medical insurance
3. Letter of financial means stating tuition fees are paid
4. Bank account statements from your sponsor (parents or otherwise)
5. Proof of accommodation (a letter from the program directors stating your future address)
6. Supporting documents regarding means of transport and return (copy of return airline ticket)

If you're serious about long-term soccer training abroad, it's crucial to give yourself enough time to complete the student visa application process. This can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to complete.

The earlier you start, the better. In some countries we find the visa application process more difficult than others. For example, we had a boy from Senegal who wanted to train in one of our soccer programs in England. We completed and submitted the visa application process two months before his arrival date, plenty of time (or so we thought).

However, complications arose at the consulate's office. They began to ask for more proof, more documents. We scrambled to get everything together. The initial application was rejected. We submitted the whole thing over again, and the second application was finally approved.

It took another four weeks before he could arrive in the program. That's an unusual case. Ninety-nine percent of the time, applications are accepted without incident. So long as people put the documents together exactly as instructed, the application generally goes smoothly.

If you're considering long-term programs, it's also important to have current academic transcripts and school records available. One of the criteria for acceptance into these long-term soccer training programs is to be both a serious soccer player committed to developing skills and a student in good current and past academic standing.

For the younger students still at high school, one of the things they have to consider when studying abroad in a high school program is that you won't automatically receive credit for those subjects you're taking abroad. Students must pass courses abroad with a 51 percent or better, and ultimately it depends upon the North American school to accept transferred academic credit from abroad.

For that reason, EduKick recommends that interested players and parents communicate with your home school before you leave. Explain what you're doing for the year. We'll supply the foreign curriculum of academic courses to be taken to help you get the agreement. The agreement basically states, "Yes, if you receive a passing grade, we will credit that."

Every year things change. The process is always evolving, so it keeps us on our toes. The consulates all have the same general guidelines, but each office has its own little quirks. They need a new document, or suddenly they don't allow people to apply by mail, etc.

We keep on top of international soccer travel changes on a daily basis. When our students call us, we have the latest information to assist them in fulfilling their dreams of international soccer training.

Whether you stay for a few months or an entire year, training with professional coaches in another country adds a pretty impressive mark to your résumé. Think the guys back home will have that? It gives you an edge, and in a sport this competitive, you'll need every advantage you can get.

Kick start your soccer training today with EduKick Academic Year Soccer Boarding Schools in Italy, England, France, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and China. Inquire at: 1(866) Edu-Kick (338-5425)
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