International Student Athletes: Soccer
Imagine moving to a country as a young adult where the first language there is different from your first language. Now take that one step further and imagine adapting to a completely new culture, a new system of education and having to play a sport that you’ve excelled at your whole life, but in a completely new way from what you’re used to. This is what most international student athletes go through after deciding to come to the United States. Fortunately for Jade Clarke and Lily Alfeld, English was already their first language, so, it was one less obstacle they did not have to face when coming to LSU.
Jade Clarke is an international student athlete from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. She is currently studying education, with a focus in special education. Her position on the soccer team is a midfielder. Jade had the amazing opportunity to study and play at LSU. She chose LSU because she wanted to try something brand new and away from home. Another big reason she chose LSU was because her sister also played and went to school here; which significantly influenced her decision. International Programs asked her about the adjustment to a new coaching style and if there was a difference in the way soccer is played in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) compared to her home country. “ Coaching style is pretty similar,…it was a little difficult getting used to the playing style; it’s a lot faster and a higher level” explained Jade. Additionally, the transition into academics has been easier thanks to the Soccer program. Jade discussed how they really take care of their players and make sure they have easy access to treatments and tutoring. They really thrive on the athletes succeeding academically, as well as on the field and give them every opportunity to do better. For other international students who want to play at LSU, here is Jade’s advice, “Although it may seem scary at first being somewhere completely new, there are so many great opportunities and people you can meet….and...[opportunities] to travel [to] places you’ve never been.”
Lily Alfeld is an international student athlete from Christchurch, New Zealand. She is currently studying general business and is a senior here at LSU. Her position on the soccer team is a goal keeper. Lily went on a campus tour at LSU and immediately fell in love. She chose LSU because of her wonderful visit to campus and a big influence was that she had some friends who went here and played soccer as well. International Programs asked her about the adjustment to a new coaching style and if there was a difference in the way soccer is played in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) compared to her home country. Lily said that here at LSU it was a big adjustment. The program here was very fast and athletic; more fitness oriented. They focused more on athleticism than technical drills. What she likes most about the program is the wonderful people she’s met all around the world, the facilities, the support she receives academically and coaching wise, as well as, the opportunities she’s given here at LSU. “If I didn’t come to LSU I never would have thought about going to Grad School” said Lily. LSU has influenced Lily by wanting her to achieve more academically. After graduation, Lily hopes to keep playing soccer, stay in the United States and attend grad school or find a position in Sports Business. For other international students who want to play at LSU, here is Lily’s advice, “Just do it! You get so much support.”