Our Excel International Sports tours emphasize cultural exchange and competitive play for youth and collegiate soccer, basketball, lacrosse, golf, hockey, rugby, and swimming teams. Excel Vice President Eric McAleer is a former pro soccer player and has a wealth of knowledge about athletics and travel. We sat down with Eric to ask him a few questions about his background and why he believes it’s so important for sports teams to travel.
WorldStrides: Tell us about your background.
Eric McAleer: I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland and have lived in Maryland since 1996. I’m a former pro soccer player and physical education teacher. I took my first soccer trip to Scotland with Excel Sports in 1998. I’m married to Mignon and we have two teenage girls, Kellan and Michaela.
WS: Why do you think it’s so important for sports teams to travel?
EA: Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and knows no boundaries, whether they be linguistic, geographical or cultural. It is therefore only natural that teams should want to travel outside of their own environment to experience how the game is played in another country and within a different culture.
There is nothing quite like the element of sporting competition….and to do that in another part of the world against people from totally different backgrounds with a common love for the same sport is an awesome experience!
WS: What sets Excel Sports trips apart?
EA: WorldStrides Excel Sports provides athletes with the experience, expertise, options, quality and worldwide support needed to create an amazing international sports experience. Our belief is that each tour begins with a vision and our sports tour consultants will suggest components to turn that vision into a once in a lifetime sports adventure. We take great pride in finding a “shoe-that-fits” for your program. Our goals are to bring sports teams from around the world to compete against each other while breaking down barriers of language, culture and geography.
WS: Where are some of your favorite places to travel and why?
EA: Ireland – for the warm welcome and the hospitality; Spain – for their passion and excitement for the love of soccer; New York – the buzz never gets old.
WS: Best soccer memory?
EA: Captaining the Scottish National Under 16 team versus Russia in the final of the European Championships in the South of France in 1985, live on TV. We lost 1-0 in overtime.
WS: Favorite soccer team?
EA: My hometown team in Scotland, Clydebank Football Club. I’m still a fan.
WS: Any advice or tips for up-and-coming soccer players?
EA: Find a love and passion for the game and follow that passion and dream.
Interested in learning more about our Excel International Sports Tours? Click here.