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WorldStrides Excel Programs

International Soccer Tours

For Youth, High School, College and ODP Teams

Site Map  |  Contact

410-489-2287

FAQ

If there are any questions you may have that are not covered in the below section, please contact us at info@excelsports.net

 

Planning your Tour

What is the minimum length of a WorldStrides Excel Programs international sports tour?
The minimum is seven nights in accommodations.

When will all arrangements be confirmed?
Depending on the destination and time period, this will generally be 4 – 6 weeks prior to departure. Minor details can change up until a few days before departure.

Can I/we make my own air travel arrangements?
Yes, you may book your own flights. WorldStrides Excel Programs has its own in-house travel agent who can book group fares available only to travel agents.  However, some participants chose to do a ‘land only’ package and book flights using points.

What is the standard of the accommodations? 
WorldStrides Excel Programs selects accommodations with great care. Most accommodations have been used for many years with great satisfaction by other soccer groups. The choice of accommodations depends on the budget of each group. We offer many lodging options, including university dorms, budget hotels, business-class hotels and sports centers.

Are family members welcome on the tour?
This is decided by each individual club, school or university. Most tours are ‘coach driven’ and the goals of the tour are set by the team’s coach. Their decision as to whether it is a soccer intense tour or a social and soccer tour then affects whether families would be welcome.

Can I send my child without a parent, or with one parent only?
Yes.  It is recommended by the US and Canadian governments that if only one parent/guardian is traveling they carry a notarized (witnessed in Canada) letter of permission from the stay-at-home parent.  If sending a child alone, it may be a good idea for the group to obtain a notarized letter of permission signed by the parents or legal guardian.

 

Ready to Book

How far in advance should we book our trip?
In our experience the teams who start the booking process approximately 15 to 12 months in advance have a better chance of making the trip happen. Our best advice is to decide on your preferred trip and confirm the dates as soon as possible. Because the trip is dependent on availability of services at the time of booking, the sooner you confirm the more likely the exact dates, hotels and flights you want will be available. If you are traveling during high season, airlines and hotels can have significant demand for seats/rooms and the sooner we are able to submit your group’s request, more likely we are to secure your exact, preferred schedule. Please contact us as early as possible for a tour proposal that is fine tuned to the exact the needs of your team.

We are ready to book. What do you need from all tour participants to put it into place?
We require a completed and signed general conditions form and deposit from each traveler as well as a group contract from the group leader.

We have others who may be interested in joining us on our tour; can they be added after we book?
Yes, subject to flight and accommodation availability.

We do not know all the participants names at this time. Can we still book and provide the names at a later stage?
Yes, but we still require a deposit for each traveler, regardless of whether we have their name.

What happens if our full roster of players is unable to go on the tour?
Many of our teams travel with less than their full roster. There are many reasons for this; family holidays, school conflicts, financial inability, seasonal employment, academic reasons, or selection for the O.D.P. or Regional squads. In order for the other players not to miss out, you may choose to invite guest players from your own club, other clubs, or classmates to complete your roster. Guest players can also be found for you from your destination country.

 

Payment and Costs

Can we make payment by credit card? 
Yes. Full payment of each installment should be remitted to WorldStrides Excel Programs on or before the due date. Installments can be remitted by credit card (3% surcharge), club/school check, money order, or personal check.

Does group size affect our tour cost?
There are benefits to bringing larger groups, including better discounts. Please request details of this from your soccer travel specialist.

What if I/we have to cancel?
Our cancellations policies are clearly defined on our general conditions form and we would encourage you to read them in advance of booking your trip.

 

Documents and Insurance Information

Do we need a passport or visa to travel? 
A valid passport is needed for any person travelling outside your country of citizenship. Tour participants are individually responsible for obtaining a valid passport prior to departure, as well as any visa that may be needed.  Please make sure any non-US or Canadian citizens and non-permanent residents have the necessary documents required for entry into your destination as well as any country of transit. Please inform us of any non-US or Canadian citizens in your group as soon as possible.

Does our team need permission to travel?
This will depend on your governing body (NCAA, USYSA, etc). Most governing bodies require each registered team to advise them of their plans to travel. The group leader/tour coordinator should contact their governing body as soon as possible to complete the relevant paperwork.

Should we purchase trip insurance? 
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance.  We can provide you with brochures and details of how to purchase travel insurance.  The terms and conditions of coverage vary according to the insurance provider.  Cost of coverage is generally based upon the cost of the trip.  It is understood that WorldStrides Excel Programs accepts no liability for damages incurred by circumstances that would be covered under trip/travel insurance.

 

Differences in Europe

What is the weather like; can we call home; what is the food like; etc?
These, and many other questions, will be answered in our pre-trip handbook which is available on your unique MY TOUR team page.

What is the electricity supply? 
The electricity supply varies by country. We suggest you travel with an adaptor and converter which are designed for your destination country.

Will my cell phone work over there?
Most US cell phones do not work in Europe unless it is a tri-band phone and you have the correct provider. If they do work it can be very expensive to make and receive phone calls. If a cell phone is need we suggest renting a European cell phone.

Should I take my laptop to check my email or will the accommodations have internet access? 
This varies by accommodation and we provide this information prior to departure.

How do the age-groups work in Europe? 
Most countries in Europe work from calendar year of birth, similar to how O.D.P. works in the US. However, many tournaments offer dispensation for a certain number of players born between August and January of the previous year. Again, this changes from tournament to tournament. Please contact us for further details.

Is there any difference in tournament or friendly game rules?
This changes from country to country and from tournament to tournament. If you are looking to participate in a certain tournament, please ask for details on that tournament’s rules. In most friendly games the make-up of the game is very flexible and can be arranged to suit the needs of both teams. In the past games have consisted of 2 x 30 minute halves; 3 x 30 minute thirds; 2 x 40 minute halves, etc, etc. Much of this depends on the roster size, time of year, and many other factors.

Testimonials

“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
"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
“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
“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
“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
"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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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
"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