2009 was the third year in a row that SC Cambuur, a professional Dutch soccer club headed by the Dutch-American GM Mr. Alex Pama, had participated in the most prestigious international tournament in North America, the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup. The impact of such participation has broadened the lives and football careers of many of the Cambuur players. Needless to say, I have seen the scope of operations, organizational aspects, care and hospitality from HomeStay families, smiley volunteers, and happiness on kids faces that the experience brings because I have attended the tournament for the past three years. On the other hand, the Dallas Cup Experience can also create further opportunities for local Dallas players in their quest to become better players, better people, and more culturally diverse away from Texas. Following our return from Dallas, we have been able to provide a chance for few players from the AYSES soccer club, our most recent HomeStay host, to train in the Netherlands. I will not talk about how I see one particular boy’s experience because I am always fascinated to hear what differences a player notices between two soccer systems, two countries, two cultures, and everyday life and I hope you will enjoy his story. Below you will see the writings of Kyle Herbison after several days during his full access stay at our club. I think it is safe to say that the “Dallas Cup Experience” and SC Cambuur is making it possible for Kyle to live and to train professionally abroad, to compete in a true soccer environment, to gain valuable international experience, to become more culturally diverse and to be better prepared for life after soccer.
Sevy Sucurovic, delegation leader for SC Cambuur of the Netherlands.
“It’s hard for me to get what I am thinking and trying to say into writing, but I will try. Starting out when I left for Holland, it was kind of tough for me as this is the first time I’ve ever left home by myself. But overall the plane ride was good. It is cool that I can email and stay in touch with my parents and family from my new home, they all love hearing my stories and my experiences. Saturday July 25, was a very long arrival day, but I liked seeing all of the new culture in Holland during my ride to Leeuwarden. After I got some rest that Saturday night, we went to Amsterdam the following day. I never knew that Amsterdam was that old but cool; it is also a whole different culture than the U.S. I am hoping that we can go back to Amsterdam and maybe walk down some streets that I didn’t see. Sunday night was also amazing as this was the first "big" professional soccer event that I’ve been to (The Amsterdam Tournament). It seems that I have already learned a lot just by watching the pro play. The camp on Monday was a little tough, not from a soccer stand point per say, but from just being nervous not knowing what to expect plus my knee was bothering me a little. But after Monday, the overall training camp was great. Most of the drills SC Cambuur does, the AYSES do a version of them so it made me feel at home again. Everyone speaks English, but I still must point out a little challenging training aspect, the language barrier. A coach is explaining a drill in Dutch, but once he does an example and I go through the drill a couple of times then I understand it. The guys on the team are great, I find myself laughing with them even though I can’t understand what they are saying in their native tongue. I also like to play full sided games with the team and the times when a coach stops a play for explanation, he or one of the assistants does a good job of summing up what has been said. Practicing 2 times a day was something I wasn’t used to but I have managed to keep up during the pre-season preparations. I have also had a chance to observe from side lines other Cambuur teams since I have been here now for several days. One of the big differences I have noticed in Holland compared to the U.S. is all of the little things that Cambuur does better than a lot of clubs at home. For example, coaches teach you how to use your body and hands to shield the defender and protect the ball. The depth of the Cambuur teams is much deeper and a gap between the bench players and the starting 11 is very slim. I know I will learn many new things from all the coaches while training with Cambuur. Hopefully when I return back home I can share all I learned with my teammates to make us a better team as well. And by the way, another difference between soccer in the U.S. and Holland is how serious people are here when they train. From the organization aspect the practices are very organized; the coach always knows what we are going to do next and even has all of the teams picked already sometimes when we play a game. As far as my overall experience goes, I know just living on my own without my parents looking after me for a month is an experience in itself. This is giving me a good feel of what college will be like. Meeting all of the new Dutch people and learning more about their culture through our conversations is fun. The food in Holland is a lot different than the food in the U.S. and it took me by surprise at first. However, by Tuesday/Wednesday (few days following my current stay) I was fine and now that I am used to it, the food is actually pretty good. The house that I’m staying in is clean, and I like all of the roommates. I think my stay in Holland will be an experience of a life time and loads of memories.”