"Woza has developed me into a better soccer player, coach, teacher, and overall female. I realized the power of pairing training for a sport with the essential life skills some might not find at home or school. Additionally, the trip made me more aware of problems that exist in South Africa’s infrastructure and the ways to alleviate those problems which can just start by a simple soccer training session." --Maira, Jacksonville, Fl., South Africa Leadership '19
"This trip was truly life-changing. It put soccer, life, and friendship into a different perspective for me. It broadened my horizons and made truly life long friends. I got to feel connected to a whole another part of the world and find my purpose and joy in playing soccer again."--Cora, Seattle, Wash., Costa Rica '19
"I have a stronger appreciation for the sport I have always loved my whole life. I never thought that I would be able to connect with other people through just a ball and our feet. I made great friendships that I hope to continue for years to come."--Jose, Hawthorne, Calif., Peru '19
"My trip to Peru taught me a lot about leadership and its correlation to teamwork. My team leaders were able to revolutionize service work for me and change how I thought about volunteer work. These incredible leaders inspired and taught me the importance of cultural connections. They were able to change how I thought a leader should act and inspired me to lead in my own way."--Sammy, Edwards, Colo., Peru' 16, Malawi '17
"This trip impacted my life in a way that made me realize how lucky we are to live in the U.S. and play for the teams we play for. Having the experience to share something we have in common with others from another country is really special."--Stella, Montclair, N.J., Costa Rica
"Jack returned with a greater sense of independence, maturity, and understanding of a rich culture"--Woza Parent from Wellesley, Mass.
" 'The best 2.5 weeks of my life' is how Ian described it to those who asked when he returned. And in subtle/indescribable ways, he is a different person. He's seen other cultures before, but doing this without parents and with kids from around the country opened his eyes in new ways, including to himself. He's more informed. He's more confident. He's more mature."--Woza Parent from Seattle, Wash.
"My son's passion for soccer was reinforced and his view of the world was expanded through his interactions with the children in Costa Rica."--Woza parent, from Westport, Conn.
"I think he re-found who he is as a soccer player. His experience playing with people who truly love the game and can't get enough of it reminded him why he loves [soccer]. Some of that had been lost in recent years and those evenings at the parks and courts were just so inspirational. The purpose of the language also really hit home in a way he never would have got without traveling. That will stay with him forever."--Woza parent, from Ellensburg, Wash.
"It helped her reconnect with her love of the game of soccer and it made her feel like she really had an impact on the lives of the young players she met."--Woza parent, from Wellesley, Mass.
"An opportunity to see how much value both a skill and passion for a sport can bring to others who have so much less and how much pleasure you can gain from the giving and how much you can feel another culture and learn about yourself in a short international experience - thank you Woza for providing this incredible opportunity for him - he said it was a "trip of a lifetime" and he has been very fortunate enough to have had many incredible international experiences." --Woza Parent, from Larchmont, N.Y.
"The overall cultural experience, the food, the people are all great, but the biggest impact I see is the drive to help others and raise funds and give to support to these organizations and people in the countries visited." --Woza Parent from Queensbury, NY.
Four of our students participated in Woza Soccer last summer in Costa Rica and absolutely loved it. Soccer as a vehicle for community engagement proved to be very effective. I have met the Executive Director of the Program along with other folks who run it and have been impressed with their vision, warmth, and professionalism. I would highly recommend Woza for your students. It is a gem of a global opportunity. --Nancy Feidelman, Director of Global Education and History teacher at Head-Royce School, Oakland, CA
"I have been very impressed with the Woza programs, particularly with the emphasis on learning and understanding local culture through soccer, and giving back to the game. One of my varsity players had a wonderful experience, and it made a big difference in his performance after his return. His playing time increased significantly, and I give Woza a lot of the credit. He played with confidence and creativity, and was a very positive presence on the team, showing leadership and maturity. I am excited that several of our younger players are enrolled for Woza trips this summer!" --Rob Grabill, Head Soccer Coach at Hanover (NH) High School
"We all know that soccer is much more than just kicking a ball around a field and into a goal - and using the game as the base, Woza Soccer maximizes opportunities for young players to be positively affected socially, emotionally, psychologically as well as physically. By visiting different cultures and environments, their players are exposed to incredible experiences and influences that are all connected through the unifying force of soccer. The goal is to create impact through travel, community and sport and Woza Soccer accomplishes that. Not only have I seen our student-athletes learn, grow and develop through Woza Soccer, but my son was very positively affected by his participation in the Summer 2015 program in South Africa. Woza Soccer does a first class job of organizing, administering and overseeing these trips - I would recommend them without hesitation." --Andy Jennings, Head Men's Soccer Coach at Vassar College
"I have been a leader for Woza and I coach players who have traveled with Woza. To me Woza is more than just a travel experience. Woza will open a player's eyes to the importance of the game. The player will gather perspective on how much the beautiful game means to everyone around the world. The significance of the ball and the shared experience is so important. With this elevated respect for the game, the player will care more about each opportunity they have to play. On a more tangible level, players will be with the ball all hours of the day. This alone will improve their touch and fitness. Players leave the Woza experience with a greater appreciation for their favorite sport. I would recommend the experience to players of all levels, but it may be most important to those hoping to have an extensive soccer career. They can learn about the value of their passion for the game and carry that value with them every time they step on the field."
--Dominic Fitzpatrick, Head Soccer Coach at Pingree School (Mass.), Woza Leader '14
"It can be easy, especially for high school-aged players, to lapse into the belief that soccer practices and games take place in a vacuum. They don't. I have been so impressed with how Woza gives players the chance to understand that soccer brings together players, officials, family, fans, and community and that each element must work to support the others. With its combination of playing, coaching, and service, Woza reveals the very beautiful and transformative power of soccer. Players come back as much more than players, and the Woza perspective imbues them with a much more thoughtful approach to soccer and community." --Joe Addison, Head Soccer Coach at Hopkins School (Conn.)
"I love how the game of soccer has the power to unite. Wherever I went growing up, I always had a ball at my feet and I always remember how easy it was to connect with people through our mutual love of the beautiful game. When I first heard about Woza and their soccer service trips, I knew it was something that I would have loved to have experienced as a teenager. Obviously, being able to play soccer morning noon and night in a country that lives and breathes the game would be incredible. However I think the biggest draw would be the opportunity to interact with local communities and cultures through activities like building soccer fields and teaching young players the game. I couldn't imagine a better way to spend a few weeks in the summer and I think the confidence gained from realizing that soccer is truly the universal language of the world is something that lasts a lifetime!" --Kevin Walshe, Director of Coaching, Seattle Celtic Soccer Club
From Taft School, Watertown, Conn.: https://www.taftschool.org/posts/post/~board/students-for-home-page/post/summer-journeys-the-universal-language-of-soccer
From NEPSAC: http://www.nepsac.org/page/2919/nocat_page/0/705