WorldStrides Excel: Soccer Adventure at its Best

Considering that the potential to challenge, learn, and grow through soccer feels immense and limitless, Girls Soccer Network’s motto “the worlds at our feet” feels pretty fitting. Now, we have found a perfect teammate, a partner who takes #theworldsatyourfeet concept to powerful, eye-opening new places. Literally.

GSN is excited to have linked up with WorldStrides Excel who is the trusted industry leader in organizing international soccer tours for North American teams. Over the decades, Excel have helped thousands explore, learn and grow through the beautiful game. Whether it be ODP or high school, a desire to travel to Scotland or Spain, Excel has the know-how, connections, and resources to make it happen.

WorldStrides Excel would not be the ever-growing and reputable organization it is today without its “founding father”, Eric McAleer. McAleer, a former pro from Glasgow, who spent a lot of time bouncing around Europe in his playing days. When he hung up his cleats, he came to hold a vision. His hope was to bring the love of travel and the love of the global sport to young people.

During Excel’s initial years, McAleer did nearly everything to get these trips off the ground. He booked hotels, contacted the teams abroad, led the tours as a guide, and even drove the busses!

Twenty years later, a lot has changed. However, the qualities of the early one-man-show commitment to detail, safety, and the pursuit of an impactful, safe educational abroad experience — remain. In 2015, Excel Soccer Tours was purchased by WorldStrides, the nation’s largest accredited travel organization.

Since its inception in the 1960s, the guiding principle of WorldStrides has been experiential learning. What’s better than having 8th graders sit in desks to learn about the White House? How about taking them to DC. and having them see it for themselves!

Experiential education through soccer is at the core of WorldStrides Excel’s soccer tours. If you and your team embark on the incredible journey with them, there will absolutely be quality soccer playing, watching and learning. You will play elite games against foreign teams, hand-picked to appropriately challenge your skill level. You will tour soccer’s holiest sites like the Camp Nou in Barcelona and the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. You will attend a competitive match, bumping elbows with passionate local fans; the awe and education go far beyond the pitch.

WorldStrides Excel provides an engaging and culturally-immersive educational experience. During your stay, you will adventure, learn about historic sites, eat native cuisine, and converse with locals. Ziplining in Costa Rica, taking in the Northern Lights in Iceland and perusing ancient ruins in Italy are just a few examples of the memorable scenes one can encounter on an Excel tour.

While the organization’s goal is to get athletes out of their bubble and challenge them, one of biggest things they emphasize is its safety and customization. For example, younger groups (as young as eight-years-old), WorldStrides suggests going to the United Kingdom first. This way, kids experience another culture but still have the ease of a common language.

Additionally, WorldStrides Excel strives to make the trip you’ve drawn in your head a reality. Do you hope to see Old Trafford because you have a heavy dose of Manchester United fans on your team? Do you want to incorporate a community service aspect on your trip? Worried about the attention span of your 11 year-old-girls on a long museum tour? WorldStrides works to meet all of your requests.

Currently offering trips to 24 countries on five different continents, over the years, WorldStrides has struck an incredible balance between knowledge and experience to ensure a comfortable trip plus openness to provide an engaging one. Unlike many other soccer tours abroad, WorldStrides Excel does not only offer the same trips over and over. Rather, they are always changing and developing.

Team visit to Arsenal’s Home “The Emirates”

WorldStrides takes a love for the interest in the game and turns it into something bigger and deeper. These trips are an exciting, memorable way to become a better soccer player and a more educated individual. After all, soccer is more than the world’s most popular sport. It is also a bridge, a language, and a means of understanding.

Through soccer, we can learn about others while we leave our comfort zone to immerse ourselves in other cultures, and different ways of seeing the world. We can grow as individuals, teams, and larger communities. WorldStrides Excel has identified this truth and has done everything possible to tap into its potential.

Taking into the opportunities available, it comes as no surprise that travelers have described their WorldStrides Excel experience as “life-changing” and say things like, “this helped me understand…” If the idea of soccer and travel excites you as much as it does us, you probably already threw your cleats in a suitcase and texted your coach to get her on board.

You will find more information about trip details, fundraising opportunities, as well as answers to any questions you have may, here



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