There Swaneveld combines the study of economics with high-level football. The Virginia Tech team is one of the best in the country and the facilities are excellent. “I have nothing to complain about here,” the 21-year-old goalkeeper said in a conversation with VTBL.
to have fun
The sport is taken very seriously in American universities. Swaneveld hopes to eventually break out as a professional soccer player through the school. This realistic opportunity was demonstrated by his predecessor, Ben Lundgard, who is now under contract with Frank de Boer Atlanta United.
But for a potential professional adventure, the Dutchman is mainly enjoying life as a football player at the University of Virginia. “I am enjoying my time here. It is a beautiful school and the people here are top notch. As a foreign student you are welcomed with open arms.”
Right now, there is a lot to do in America on the topic of racism. Swaneveld learned a little of this himself, neither in school nor in the field. “To be honest, I had never experienced this in three years. During the first year and a half I was living with three dark men and I sometimes asked them if they were there, that wasn’t the case. But I think it’s a real problem in other parts of America.”
In American movies and series, you often see that athletes associate women with each other at school, in reality it’s no different. “Girls here find it very interesting when there’s a foreign boy. If you’re an athlete too, you’ve come to the right place haha.”
Swaneveld totally enjoys student life in America. “Americans take every reason to celebrate. Here they are basically house parties and parties with two to three hundred people in the house are no exception. There is a party every weekend.”
Despite excellent exercise, no one has any issues with partying. “The coaches think it’s good. When we win, they often say, ‘Guys, enjoy it and stay out of trouble. You’re not picked up. As long as they don’t know it, they’re fine. You play sports very seriously, but we’re students and we’re not professional players.'”
Football and school
Anyone who thinks the young goalkeeper is just a celebration is wrong. There is intense sports seven days a week. “The class schedule is based on your training schedule. It is completely different from what we are used to in the Netherlands. There are 30,000 people in school here. It cannot be compared to student life in the Netherlands.”
Sport is very important in American schools, especially with the best sports “In the Netherlands, you have to do your best to get a college degree. Some studies do not suggest anything here and half of them can be found online. Although most studies are of good quality and difficult.” Very well, but if you can do sports well and learn less, then you choose a simple study and do it yourself. In my opinion, the value of this certificate is slightly less than it is in the Netherlands. “
In particular, the players on the American football team are not known for being very smart. “The soccer team has a hundred guests, if you are very honest, most of them are not very bright. They can only do the sport very well and then they just do a little study beside it. You really have to do your best to spoil it.”
As an athlete, you won’t be short of anything at Virginia Tech. “I think only Ajax, Eindhoven and Feyenoord can match the facilities we have. We have everything. For example, there is a bar where we can have healthy food and we have a two-story energy room. It’s strange.”
In August, Swaneveld begins his final season at Virginia Tech and then hopes to prove himself to take a step into the professional world. “My coach has already introduced me to an agent, but I haven’t spoken to any clubs yet. I just want to do that during this season.”
Excellence shouldn’t be an issue, because everything is broadcast and can be seen in America. “Recently a separate network was set up for our competition, the school invested thirty million in it. Ridiculous sums, but perfect for us.”
The goalkeeper has only one piece of advice for Dutch athletes who have doubts about making the move. “To do it! If you get the chance you should always do it. The experience is great.”
To get an idea of what studying in America is like, you just have to watch Netflix. “It’s literally not the same as in the movies, but really ninety percent of that. I had only watched the movies and after the first night out I knew it was right. The image you see in the movies is real.”
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