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WorldStrides Excel Programs

International Soccer Tours

For Youth, High School, College and ODP Teams

Site Map  |  Contact

410-489-2287

About Us

WorldStrides Excel Programs is the industry leader in organizing international sports tours for North American teams. Our company was formed in 1998 by Eric McAleer, former European professional soccer player. WorldStrides Excel Programs is headquartered in Glenwood, MD a suburb of Baltimore and Washington, DC. We currently have eight full time employees in our US office and have many part time staff throughout the world. We have 18 years of experience in arranging international soccer and sports travel and have a proven track record with high level repeat customers resulting in significant long-term exclusive contracts with various organizations. We also have a worldwide soccer network at all levels of play from professional to recreational. We also have long term relationships with many elite coaches, managers, scouts and agents around the world. WorldStrides Excel Programs looks forward to working with your team to plan a once-in-a-lifetime international experience!

We are pleased to announce that Excel International Sports was acquired in January, 2015 by WorldStrides, the largest and most trusted student educational travel provider in the United States.  Together, Excel and WorldStrides combine to offer students more than 65 years of student travel experience. We are thrilled to join the WorldStrides team. Our companies share a common mission of providing life-enriching travel opportunities to students from around the world. Together we look forward to reaching even more talented young athletes. Going forward, we will now be known as WorldStrides Excel Programs!

Worldstrides is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA. The organization has offices in 22 locations around the world including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, China, and Chile.  WorldStrides specializes in providing educational travel opportunities to approximately 350,000 students annually.  For more information on WorldStrides, visit www.worldstrides.com. As world travelers, our staff makes it their mission to enhance your cultural and sports awareness. Our clients have noted a special atmosphere that is characteristic of an Excel tour, an atmosphere created by our creative, energetic, knowledgeable and experienced staff.  Our travelers can look forward to a warm welcome when they arrive in Europe and exceptional treatment throughout their trip. Meet some of our staff below:

Staff Members

Eric McAleer

Vice President

Eric McAleer

Vice President

Former school teacher & professional soccer player, started the company in 1998. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. Proud of the opportunities we create and the experiences we deliver. Passionate about family, people, the power of sports travel and friends.

P: 410-489-2287
E: Eric@excelsports.net
LinkedIn

Ashley Herbst

Account Manager

Ashley Herbst

Account Manager

Manages all operational aspects of the team tours. Four year student-athlete at the University of Louisville, started with Excel in 2015 having previously worked with Adidas.

P: 410-489-2287
E: Ashley@excelsports.net

Jill Newman

Operations & Customer Service

Jill Newman

Operations & Customer Service

Deals heavily with client relations and oversees the trip booking process. Has been with Excel since 2010. Loves sports and traveling!

P: 410-489-2287
E: Jill@excelsports.net

Sharon Zelnosky

Financial Services Manager

Sharon Zelnosky

Financial Services Manager

With a knowledgeable background in finance, Sharon oversees accounting.  Has been with Excel since 2014.

P: 410-489-2287
E: Sharon@excelsports.net

Morgan O'Donnell

Account Manager

Morgan O'Donnell

Account Manager

Graduate from Towson University, majored in Sport Administration. Manages all operational aspects of the team tours.  Passionate about the game of soccer.

P: 410-489-2287
E: Morgan@excelsports.net

Daniel Dicce

Account Executive

Daniel Dicce

Account Executive

A graduate of Temple University with a degree in Economics. Has worked with Region One Boys ODP since 2010. Joined Excel as an Account Executive in 2015.

P: 410-489-2287
E: danieldicce@excelsports.net

Chas Allen

Account Executive

Chas Allen

Account Executive

20 years of expertise in sports travel. Holds a USSF A License. Currently entering his eleventh season as an assistant coach at William Smith College. Former ODP Coach for with New York State West Youth Soccer Association. Joined Excel in 2016.

P: 410-489-2287
E: chas@excelsports.net

Steven Macdonald

Account Executive

Steven Macdonald

Account Executive

Originally from Scotland, Steven graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a degree in Sports Management. Has been in the soccer industry since 2006 including coaching and operations. Steven joined Excel as an Account Executive in 2017.

P: 410-489-2287
E: steven@excelsports.net

Emily Perrin

Account Executive

Emily Perrin

Account Executive

Emily played Division I soccer for the University of Virginia. When her playing career ended, she went on to become the Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach for the University of Pennsylvania. Emily joined Excel as an Account Executive in 2017.

P: 410-489-2287
E: emily@excelsports.net

Tour Directors

Robin "Woody" Wood

Tour Director (Scotland)

Robin "Woody" Wood

Tour Director (Scotland)

Been with Excel since our first trip in 1998! From Scotland, has looked after teams in all parts of Europe and is a season ticket holder at St. Johnstone FC!

Jack Dennison

Tour Director (England)

Jack Dennison

Tour Director (England)

Managed Excel Sports groups in the UK since 2006. Married with two grown children and two grandchildren.  Huge Glasgow Celtic Fan!

Stephanie Schluter

Tour Director (Germany)

Stephanie Schluter

Tour Director (Germany)

Due to the nature of her job as a school teacher, she is very experienced in leading groups. Stephanie has been with Excel since 2012.

 

Leonardo Calabretta

Tour Director (Italy)

Leonardo Calabretta

Tour Director (Italy)

A graduate from the University of Verona with a degree in foreign languages. Now a certified tour leader who has guided numerous rugby and soccer teams. Leonardo has been with Excel since 2013.

Testimonials

“Working with WorldStrides Excel Sports Programs has been a pleasure for me and our state association. From the planning, actual trip adventures and post debriefings, I have always felt that our relationship with WorldStrides Excel Sports Programs has been an awesome experience in every facet of world travel. I'm always exited for the kids traveling to the European destinations and coming back with a lifetime of soccer memories.”

Mark Cantor, President, MSYSA
“Our trip to Manchester, England with Excel was fantastic! It was a perfect combination of outstanding soccer, beautiful sightseeing and incredible fun for everyone! Was truly a lifetime experience with memories we will cherish forever. Thank you Excel!”

Teresa Heitzmann, Chaperone, Maryland State ODP, England
“I highly recommend Eric McAleer and Excel Sports to anyone thinking about international travel with a youth sports team. We took a U12 boys team to England to play in a tournament and it was fantastic. Eric and his staff have lots of experience so any challenge that arose was quickly solved. The professionalism was outstanding but the attention paid to us set them apart. Eric and Excel were always cheerful and fun. They made every participant important and made good trip become really great.”

Terri Spurgeon, FC America, Liverpool
“WorldStrides Excel Sports Programs provided a trip of a lifetime for this group! Thank you so much for all you did to set everything up including great hotel, food, tour director, games, and the Barcelona v Sampdoria game.”

Graeme Millar, Stevenson University Women’s Soccer
“I strongly recommend Excel to any team looking to explore a new country. With our tour guide Paul's help, our team was able to experience the culture of two major cities. Our team was able to see all Barcelona and Madrid had to offer. He also shared some great local food and shopping spots. This trip had something for everyone, but I enjoyed the chance to train at incredible facilities and play really talented clubs the most. This was a trip of a lifetime and it was all possible with Excel.”

Claire Woolley, McDaniel Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach
“You cannot and will not find a better company to deal with and handle all of your needs as a group to travel to any country. I have had the pleasure of using this company and participating in over 8 trips and not one wasn’t a ten and I mean that. They are professional, quick on their feet and use the best guides you can imagine. You will not go wrong using them.”

Herb Gainey, Maryland ODP Girls Head Coach and St. Mary’s College of Maryland Head Men’s Soccer Coach
"Our trip was spectacular from start to finish. The opportunity to train, play, and experience Barcelona is something that will not soon be forgotten. The cultural influences we encountered will be lasting and the memories will last a lifetime."

Mark Biagi – AZ ODP Boys, Spain
“WorldStrides Excel Sports was there for our Knox Men's Soccer program from Day 1. They worked closely with me and listened to me. This was the first international trip for our athletic program. I'd call the experience "User Friendly." From the president, to the representatives in Costa Rica; everyone was professional but made us feel like part of a larger family. In the end, when our amazing 9 days concluded, our program was undoubtedly better from the experience. We can't thank them enough!”

Tyler Sheikh, Knox College, Costa Rica, 2016
“This trip was so great. On the coaching end, we progressed everyday as a team. The competition allowed them to see where they need to be individually and where the USA needs to be at the youth level. I honestly feel the major part of our progression was the players actually seeing the difference of play.”

Megan Schmidt, Coach, Maryland State Girls ODP, Denmark
"Our entire team and coaching staff had an amazing 8-day tour to Barcelona, Spain this past spring. The trip was the perfect mix of competitive games against local professional teams, some fantastic sightseeing and cultural experiences in and around Barcelona and the opportunity to watch close-up a number of professional games and training sessions. Thank you to Excel Sports for making this happen!"

Luke Wildy, Assistant Men's Soccer Coach, George Washington University, Barcelona
“Our team recently took a trip to England. Excel did a great job integrating requests for our overall experience. As the coordinator, I appreciated Excel's responsiveness during planning. Excel handled all logistical requests and the itinerary was a reflection of their experience and our requests. It was reassuring to know we'd have tour guides through the entire trip. It was a trip of a lifetime. I'm thankful we worked with Excel and look forward to continuing our relationship.”

Angela Schichner, Three Lions United, London and Manchester
“The Whittier College Women's Soccer program took part in a 10 day tour to the UK. Excel Sports matched all of our needs, organizing competitive soccer games with local opponents. We also utilized much of our free time to visit various parts of England/Scotland- while enjoying the culture, the food and the people! Two visits to professional games was the icing on the cake! Without a doubt, we will be using Excel Sports for any future foreign travel...They are the absolute best!”

Monica Gerardo, Head Coach, Whittier Women’s Soccer, England
“Our trip to Germany and Holland with Excel was a fantastic experience for our team. Although we had a small group, the trip was worth it. Playing overseas was a great experience for my team and all came back with an enthusiastic attitude for the upcoming season. Our tour guide, Stephanie was a great leader and her knowledge and work ethic made the trip a success. Highlights of the trip were casual dinners we enjoyed with other teams in Germany. This showed us how people live around the world.”

John Plevyak, Head Coach, Stevenson University, Germany & Holland
“The trip was fantastic. It was a trip that allowed me to share an incredible first visit to Europe with my two son's. The memories are for a lifetime. I miss Robin "Woody" Woods, our tour guide and now friend, already!”

Bob Viti, (Dad) – Hood College – Manchester/Stirling
"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, University of Maryland, Head Men's Soccer Coach, London
“The cultural experience traveling to Scotland with our boys was absolutely fantastic. WorldStrides Excel Sports crafted an itinerary perfectly balancing matches, training and sightseeing. The boys were constantly upbeat when exploring historical sites, stepping out the tunnel at Celtic Park and even on the bus as we drove through the countryside. I recommend this trip to anyone from a first time traveler to an experienced adventurer, a soccer tour is a totally unique way to explore the world.”

Conor Prachar, MSYSA Boys, Scotland