Jimmie World Soccer
Long ago, while researching University of Jamestown, I knew I wanted to play soccer. As I scrolled through the roster of the University of Jamestown men’s soccer team, I noticed the diversity that had somehow found Jamestown, North Dakota. It was intriguing and I was looking forward to the experience of playing with people from around the world after I signed my letter of intent. However, I did not fully comprehend what was coming.
At the beginning, it was tough to understand the different accents in the group setting as well as on the field, but eventually the information was absorbed. Around the cafe was when personalities started to show themselves and different cultural mannerisms were revealed. As I adjusted and learned, I was able to relate and keep the conversation fluid- instead of constantly interrupting asking what words meant. If anything, my vocabulary has drastically increased.
On the field, the styles of play were quite different, and a single season is nearly impossible to make the proper adjustments. On the field, I found myself yelled at by multiple teammates regarding personal decisions on the ball. Trying to take it as constructive criticism was difficult, but by the end of the season, the knowledge I obtained greatly increased my speed of play.
Everyone is told they will make the friends of a lifetime at college. As adolescents, we agree without fully understanding the weight that statement carries. Now that I am here and am past the halfway mark, I realize that I have friends that live across the world. They are not friendships just because we are on the same team, or we see each other frequently. The friendships are the kind where you endure hardships together and you do not question their integrity afterward; you both preformed to the best of your abilities. The friendships are the kind where you get over the American culture stereotype, and say you love each other because he understands your manliness and you understand his better than anyone else. Hopefully, by the end of college, you are both men.
I have been privileged to play with guys from Germany, England, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand Mexico, Russia, Congo, Jamaica, South Korea, and other states. I take the daily assortment of accents for granted, but one day I know I will miss them. These friendships have opened my eyes to the world and all I can say is that I want more. I have made a personal goal of visiting most of these countries to see the friends I have made in Jamestown. Preliminary plans have already been put in place to attend the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a few other teammates.
None of this would have been possible if I had not attended the University of Jamestown. As students, we frequently focus on the negatives: the cafe food options are below par, our soccer field is not good enough, the internet is worse than dial up. Take a moment, see the opportunity around you, and try to gather as much of it in as you can. It is difficult at times, but the more you do, doors will open. At first I just aspired to travel thinking it would be neat to go places. Over a little time and some reflection and revelation, I concluded, “Well nothing is keeping me anywhere, why not go?” I am going to go because I made the choice that I can.