As a teenage soccer player from the Netherlands our club organized an international exchange with a German club each year. These exchanges made a tremendous impression on me. I still remember the friends we made, the first time I ate food I had never heard about and the different social environment and sights I was visiting. Bonding and socializing, sharing our passion for the game of soccer, with my teammates and German players left great memories.
Five years later the organization in charge of these exchanges hired me. I was a very lucky person! More than 30 years later, I have been organizing international tours and exchanges for millions of players from all over the world. I am very fortunate that I can work on these events and tours every day. I can live my passion through my work and create an opportunity for players to meet other players from all over the world and introduce them to different cultures.
The most rewarding part of this job is when teams come back from their trips and call us up to share the stories from their trips, and when they send us the pictures and video’s from the trip as well. To hear and see the exciting memories being made is an absolute thrill!
One of the highlights, and fondest of memories I have, which underlines my motivations and objectives, is the following story: Some decades ago I was working at one of our international tournaments. During the event a French player met an American player and on the day of departure they wanted to exchange addresses. They had a pen but no paper. One player grabbed a piece of fruit from their lunch packet and wrote down their address on this. After this they both left to go home with a true smile on their face. I then realized that I am working each day to help kids create happy, lifelong memories and friends, all through sports!