Past Trip Testimonials, Movies and History
The Maryland State ODP teams traveled to Europe over Spring Break 2014 for some top quality soccer matchups and an enriching cultural experience. The 1997 Boys travelled to Barcelona, Spain; the 1999 Boys to Manchester, England; the 2001 Boys to Stirling, Scotland; the 1999 Girls to Amsterdam, Holland; and the 2001 Girls to London, England. The 1997 Boys enjoyed a week of top quality soccer and got the chance to attend the FC Barcelona vs. Bilbao game. They also toured Camp Nou Stadium, home to FC Barcelona and saw the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished temple. The 1999 Boys played against Oldham Athletic, Wrexham FC, Farsley Celtic FC and Curzon Ashton and got the chance to see Everton FC vs. Manchester United at Goodison Park. The 2001 Boys played games against Glasgow Celtic Academy, Partick Thistle FC, Alloa Athletic and Stirling Albion. They also Edinburgh Castle, the William Wallace Monument and Celtic Stadium. The 1999 Girls enjoyed a guest coaching session with a former Netherlands Professional Women’s player and toured Ajax Stadium and the Anne Frank House. Lastly, two 2001 Girls teams travelled and played four games each against teams like Crystal Palace Ladies FC, Swindon Town FC, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, and Reading FC. They also attended a professional game, West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace FC and visited the Tower of London and Windsor Castle.
Click here to watch a video from the 1996 Boys trip to Barcelona, Spain
Click here to watch a video from the 2000 Boys trip to Stirling, Scotland
Click here to watch interviews with the ODP players that traveled to Scotland in 2013
Click here to watch a video from the 2000 Girls trip to London, England
The trip was made possible by the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association and Excel International Sports, European Soccer Tour Specialists. For more information on the teams and/or the organizations visit their websites at www.msysa.org and www.eurosoccertours.net
Below are testimonials from staff and participants on previous ODP International trips provided by Excel International Sports:
Staff Members -
"Glasgow Celtic is proud to have participated in games against the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association ODP since 1999 and our players and staff look forward to this excellent opportunity each year. With the high level of players in the U.S. and Region 1, we feel this tests our players well and also allows us to scout possible future U.S. recruits. As a result of these games, two Maryland ODP players have returned to train with our academy and reserve teams".
--Brian Meehan, Coach, Glasgow Celtic Football Club
“Can't say enough good things about the trip to Spain. We all had a really good time. Overall, I think this was the best trip I have taken with a team. Touring Camp Nou stadium and attending the Barcelona-Majjorca game were awesome. Walking up the ramp from the locker room area to the field was something a lot of people will never forget - everybody in the various tour groups were talking about how it gave them goose bumps. Can you imagine being a player doing that for a regular game? Wow!!! Gemma was an outstanding tour rep - she worked very hard to make our trip enjoyable, and to get us where we were supposed to be on time. She also made sure we saw the highlights of Barcelona and Girona. Eric, you and your staff do an outstanding job putting on these trips.”
-- Rich Fabrizio, Board Member, MSYSA, Spain 2013
"Our England trip with Excel was a top quality experience for our program. The training facilities we used were excellent and for our players to face the reserve teams of three top EPL teams was a great opportunity for them. Our players also toured Old Trafford Stadium and attended the Manchester United v Liverpool and Spurs v Arsenal games. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our players."
-- Sasho Cirovski, Coach, University of Maryland Head Men's Soccer
“The Spain trip was awesome!!! Santa Suzanna is a beautiful resort and the accommodations were top notch. There were so many places to visit and too many places to eat! You could definitely spend a week in Barcelona and still not see everything! Oh yeah... It was a soccer trip! Camp Nou and the Barcelona-Bilbao game were exciting, as well as the Olympic Quarters. The trip to Girona was special. Thank you for scheduling that excursion into the itinerary. Just a great experience. Addison had a blast! Paul was a terrific guide, very knowledgeable about the area, and patient with the boys, as well as the adults. Excel International Sports really does a terrific job putting the itineraries together for the soccer excursions. The soccer games for the boys are very competitive and good soccer all around. The experience of going abroad and building friendships is priceless. All in all, these trips and their experiences are too valuable to pass. Thank you for the memories!”
Mary Testoff, MSYSA 1997 Boys ODP, Chaperone, Spain 2014
“We had an outstanding experience traveling with Excel. It was a wonderful week of soccer, English culture and team bonding. We are looking forward to the next one! Thank you!!” Teresa Heitzmann, Chaperone, Maryland Boys ODP, England 2012
“It was a wonderful trip. You and your team clearly have this business nailed down. You made what could have easily been a stressful process run very smoothly. I can’t think of one thing that wasn’t perfect.”
-- Todd Rowe, Chaperone, Maryland Boys ODP, Scotland 2011
“Scotland is an amazing country. The Stirling Management Center could not have been a better place for the boys to call home for the week. Their staff was fabulous and did everything possible to make it a super trip for the boys. The boys got to see what real football was all about. Woody did a great job of coordinating games and fields - regardless of how much rain they got over there. The kids were great troopers - and I think that they thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
-- Richard Kaiser, Chaperone, Maryland Boys ODP, Scotland, 2009