North Central Athletes Travel to India
“Soccer is growing,” says NCU’s Men’s Soccer Coach, Jake Smith, “kids want to play. They just need coaches.”
This spring, Smith led both Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams on an international athletics trip to India. The team partnered with a local soccer club in running practices with two different high schools and another soccer club.
One sporting club team, Jaipour, had recently lost a game to a high school team, Neerja Modi, 4-2. Smith worked with Jaipour in practices and trainings, and eventually coached them in another game against Neerja Modi, who was being coached by North Central graduate, Nicholas Weise. After losing 4-2 just the week beforehand, with some coaching, Jaipour found themselves in the winning position 6-2.
The sport is booming in India, where Smith states that many of the players even have “D-1 potential,” given the right training.
Along with coaching, practicing, and playing, students were able to visit the Taj Mahal, ride, swim, and paint elephants, attend a Hindi wedding reception, and were invited to be the special guests at a birthday party, where Smith recalls the intensity of Indian generosity and hospitality becoming clear to him.
“I have every intention of going back to India,” states Smith, recounting that the international athletics trip is not only an opportunity for North Central’s soccer students to travel and see the world, but for them to use their soccer abilities as a way to connect and engage with different peoples and nations.