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Student athletes remain in the game

Student athletes remain in the game

Kelvin and Gonzalo are 2018 ISD graduates. Kelvin spent all 14 years of his school career at the school and Gonzalo started at ISD in grade 3.

Both began playing soccer for ISD in the Sportverein’s U10 competition and transitioned to local clubs for U16 soccer (different clubs). Due to COVID-19, Kelvin and Gonzalo have been back home in Düsseldorf and maintaining their training through conditioning at home and time at the ISD fields.

Kelvin is now playing soccer for University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine), an NCAA Division 1 school, where he is undertaking a double major in business and technology.

He follows a rigorous schedule of sport and academics; training, match analysis, classes and study can easily fill 14 hours on a regular day. During the summer, Kelvin trains twice daily and, from August through December, he and his team play a competitive game every three days. During the off-season, the demanding schedule remains the same, with more focus on conditioning.

Kelvin has had a relatively easy transition to university. He tells us that his ability to manage his time effectively and negotiate the pressures of academia was acquired at ISD. 

“The IB Diploma Programme provides you with a grasp of Uni classes and helps to ensure that you are successful as you begin your university career,” Kelvin said. 

“Being familiar with people from all around the world has allowed me to relate to my teammates and classmates at UC Irvine.” 

Gonzalo’s experience at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL has been similar to Kelvin’s. Gonzalo is undertaking a double major in communications and economics and competes in Division 2 soccer.

As a Division 2 school, Eckerd is smaller (2-3,000 students) and has many international athletes. The age rules are different in this competition, so Gonzalo’s team mates are a few years older than him. As a result, he is challenged to play at a very competitive level.

Like Kelvin, Gonzalo trains 2 times each day and takes part in games every 3-4 days during the season. Since he is in Florida, his practices are often split up between the very early hours and evening hours each day. While athletes are given priority registration for classes, they have more time during the day to take classes with this split training schedule. 

Nearly all international students at Eckerd are athletes. 

“The friendships and experiences that I’ve had are really special and different from students who don’t participate in athletics,” Gonzalo said.

“The IB prepared me so well for my first year of college. ISD provides the foundation for students to go anywhere you want in the world and gives you the courage to try something outside the norm – particularly as a student-athlete.”

Having had such a rewarding experience in his first year, Gonzalo is eager to offer a word of advice to ISD’s current cohort of student-athletes.

“You have the opportunity to study anywhere in the world – so go for it!”