AFW ELITE HS Tours: A Student-Athlete Review
My opportunity to travel with AFW ELITE will forever be one of the most memorable, life changing experiences that I’ve had the pleasure of participating in. I met other players from around the country with the same passion as me, who are now lifelong friends after only one incredible week shared together. I also met some of the most influential people that I’ve met in my 18 years in the coaches that helped make this trip a success.
My experience started with an 8-hour flight from Chicago to Rome without my immediate family, but with other team members who I now call brothers. At first, I was really nervous for the unknown. Upon arrival in Rome, I soon settled down quickly, and realized that this trip was going to be amazing. After meeting up with the guys from NYC, we set out for the Roman Coliseum. There aren’t words to describe the power and intensity that you feel when entering that ancient arena. Over the course of that day, and the next, we visited the Forum, Trevi Fountain, and more. Nothing will ever compare to the beauty of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Morning practice had a high, focused intensity about it and I learned a lot from the coaches that were assembled from around the country.
After our departure from Rome, we traveled to Florence, which is one of the oldest cities in the world. The culture there was life changing. The field that we practiced on those two days was also incredible. Facing the mountains in the background at sunrise is a sight I’ll never forget. Another beautiful encounter was Cinque Terra, which was actually my favorite place that we stopped on the trip. Wading in the Mediterranean Sea is something I’ll never forget.
After visiting Milan as well we also surprisingly took time for a half-day in Switzerland. I’m so glad that we got to take that day trip to Lugano because seeing the lake pressed up against the foothills of the Alps was really breathtaking. In addition, it was also a really beautiful, clean city and a nice taste of a different country.
As for the football aspect, there is nothing more that I could’ve asked for than the huge win that our American team produced. The team that we formed in that short week was a well-oiled machine, and I can’t even imagine how great we could’ve become if we had been able to stay together and practice a couple weeks more.
After this trip, my vision for what I want to do when I graduated college changed. I have decided to major in History Education, with a minor in Italian language. I am pursuing a degree that will allow me to teach U.S. History. I loved Italy and the Italian culture so much that I have a tremendous desire to go back and experience more of life there. After college I would also love to continue my football career overseas, whether as a player or a coach.