Stevie is currently completing his Masters in Chester via an online option. He has successfully applied for his graduate visa and intends to live in Chester for the foreseeable future.
"As one of the first intake of UDA players to come to Chester it was a scary and risky decision. But after going through the 4 years I can honestly say that the risk was worth it.
I graduated with my BS(c) Honors in Psychology combined with Sport and Exercise Science and then continued my education studying a Masters in Communications and Behavioral Analysis.
As well as the educational factor being successful, I also saw a huge improvement in my footballing ability. This is due to the exceptional coaching staff that coach at the highest level. We are also exposed to different levels of football to enhance our development.
I want take the time to thank all the UDA staff for making my footballing time in Chester enjoyable (Joel, Macca, Graham, Jared, Craig, Nathan. And Rich) I also want to thank Gaynor for making the transition to Chester and the transition to life after UDA easier cause without her we would be truly lost."
~ Stevie Thirawit
The experiences I have had in Las Cruces have created memories and lessons that I will be able to use for the rest of my life. I’m beyond grateful for this program and can’t wait to see what my last semester will hold for me.
JD Meyers (GK, Herriman Utah)
I’ve been playing soccer since the age of 3 all the way through to the collegiate level. I’m a sophomore transfer from a DII college. I have only been a part of the UDA@NMSU program for two months but in the short time since joining them, I’ve been able to experience some of the highest level soccer of my career thus far, including playing in the UPSL national tournament and making it to the Elite 8.
What really sets the UDA program apart for me is the high intensity and competitive training environment. Coupled with a great coaching staff, UDA provides a very professional and thriving culture.
When compared to the college level I previously played at, UDA is just as comparable if not higher. Additionally, what really sets the program apart, for me, is the 10 month season. UDA provides considerably more games and opportunities than traditional college schedules to get on the pitch which really has allowed me to develop and improve all facets of my game.
Joining UDA was the right decision for me and my future in the sport.
Lucas Burch (MID/F, Alamogordo New Mexico)
My second school was in Leeds, England and did not have the same guidelines as those Universities in the US. We could play and train as we liked and even travel when we saw fit. This experience and opportunity opened my eyes to how I believe things should be. Playing against pro teams, traveling for international tournaments, and training all year round were game changing for me.
This led me to UDA@NMSU where I could get a similar experience at a more affordable cost and a lot closer to home. UDA afforded me the opportunity to get an accredited degree while playing 10 months out of the year. To be able to do something that not a lot of programs in the US can do is extremely unique.
Even though my time and career at UDA@NMSU has come to an end, I was able to lead and inspire a new wave of young student/athletes that have capabilities far beyond what they can imagine.
Nate Stewart (MID/DEF, San Antonio Texas)
"UDA Soccer Academy program is truly one of a kind program where academic success is at the forefront of everything they do, along with the best-in-class football academy. What we experienced went above and far beyond all of our expectations.
As a parent, I am extremely excited and look forward to the opportunity for my son, Brandon, to be a part of the UDA Soccer Academy program.
If any student or parent is looking for a best-in-class degree abroad program in the UK that is coupled with a best-in-class football academy, you need to look no further."
Alex Ley, Parent
Reed is coming back for his second year when he returns in September and is studying Software Engineering.
In his words:
Roi Gil is originally from Israel, moved to Canada when he was 11 years old. He started playing football when he was five years, and ever since it was his dream to play professionally. His favourite player is Diego Forlan from Uruguay, and he is also a big fan of Kieran Tierney from Arsenal. Tierney plays left back position, just like Roi. While playing football matches and doing trainings, Roi is studying Computer Science course and successfully balancing the two.
“I decided to study at the University of Gloucestershire because it gave me the opportunity to play football at a high level and study the degree that I wanted. This is the best way to combine my goals in football with my academic goals.”
“University of Gloucestershire is in partnership with the UDA Football Academy. I want to play professionally, that's my goal, my dream. And UDA allows us to play how other professional academies train and play. And the University of Gloucestershire also allows us to take our degree, so we can get the best of both worlds.”
“You can study any degree you want, you get to choose whatever you want. We play football, but academics is first. We can't miss class for training or for a game. It is all about balancing. When I was in high school, I've always had football and another thing or two more. It's become a habit. The main thing is learning time management and prioritizing. I want to make sure that I'm enjoying myself, but also do what needs to be done.”
“I go to class in the morning and then training in the afternoon and then get back home and do the homework. Or the other way around, where we have training in the morning and then class and then you go home and you either do a bit more training on your own or homework. This year we played matches mostly around once a week. But next year is going to be more matches because we should have more players coming in. It should be about at least twice a week for most weeks.
“We train at Oxstalls (Gloucester) at the Sports park, and I study at Park campus (Cheltenham). The sports facilities are very good. They gym is quite good, and the fields are also great. They have good turf fields, and the grass fields are pretty high quality as well compared to what I'm used to. I think even the universities facilities like the library, the classrooms and everything is quite good. A lot of the classrooms are suited for small courses, and I really enjoy having a small amount of people in my course because then I get to know the lectures and module tutors, which helps my learning.”
“As a Canadian, I thought the living expenses would be more. The food and shopping are a lot cheaper than I expected. I thought that I wouldn't eat out as much (laughs). But it wasn't very expensive.”
Favourite places in Cheltenham and Gloucester
“Town centres in both Cheltenham and Gloucester are nice. The Gloucester docks are quite nice. The cathedral is very nice to see. I've also been to Manchester and Liverpool. I hope to travel more during my second year.”
“The application process was quite straightforward. I also really liked the fact that
the University responded very quickly to my application cause in Canada it’s different. You apply and then you hear back within the next six months.”
“I study computer science, so my course is fairly small. You get to know the lectures and most of your classmates. You can help each other out when you're struggling with certain things. I only have 4 lectures a week, but they're 3 hour and it would be about an hour and a half of lectures and an hour and a half of practical. I found that there's a lot of hands-on stuff which helps me to learn what I'm interested in.”
“The modules are directly related to my degree because I know in Canada you have to take certain modules that might not necessarily be related to your degree. This is more focused on employment, it's teaching you what you'll use in the real world after you graduate.”
“If I'm good enough to play professionally, I will. If I could even play semi-professionally and work, that's probably the goal. I would consider a masters, I might be interested in sports analytics.”
Advice to potential students coming from Canada
“Look at accommodation because I think that's quite important. Each accommodation would be different. Make sure that the accommodation has what you want. If you want to be very close to campus and meet a lot of people, it might be easier to live on campus. Or if you want a cheaper accommodation near the city, private housing might be the way to go. Really depends on your needs.”
"Twenty years in the Navy, I know what it's like to be a part of a community that treats you like family. I'm so glad we have found something similar for Luke here. I truly believe that his soccer skills will really develop and flourish with a team that feels like family to him."
"He says he has people there that he can turn to for help and that really care about his success. This makes me proud of him and so pleased that we chose UDA and UoG. He would not have gotten this level of personal care at a US university."
- Jennifer Jeans, Parent