Two Louisiana Tech University Lady Techster freshman soccer players from Europe have found themselves in an easy transition to life and sports in the United States.
More than 25 student athletes at Tech are international students extending their playing careers on the collegiate level.
Nicole Jaquemet of Dielsdorf, Switzerland, and Rosie Lethbridge of Surrey, England, are two of those 25 who are thankful for receiving this opportunity.
“[Playing] soccer is the greatest part of coming here,” Jaquemet said. “I had to move out of my own comfort zone.”
Lethbridge said she enjoys the friends she has made in her first year in the United States.
“The opportunities that I get to meet people from all over the world are the best thing,” Lethbridge said.
Both players said they found themselves in a quick changeover from their home countries to the United States and started to miss home.
Jaquemet said she was overwhelmed by how fast she jumped into soccer once she arrived in Louisiana.
“I came here and started practice the very next day,” she said. “I came into this program very quickly.”
Lethbridge said she was excited when she arrived but started to struggle after the first few weeks.
“The first two weeks felt like a holiday,” Lethbridge said. “I really started to miss my family and friends in the third and fourth weeks.”
Jaquemet said she pursued a collegiate career in the United States because of the way the university athletics programs are set up in Switzerland.
“[In Switzerland,] university and soccer aren’t linked with each other,” she said. “The coaches and teachers have no connection.”
She said the pressures of coaches and teachers interacting about her academic performance has helped her strive for excellence in both areas.
“This is one of the only countries in the whole world where you can have good studies and play sports at a high level too,” Jaquemet said. “It’s very hard to do both back home.”
Lethbridge said making friends has been the easiest thing she has done since arriving.
“Finding friends was okay for me because I see [my teammates] every day,” she said.
Both players said the biggest difference they see in American soccer is the type of athletes who play the sport.
“It is a much more athletic and physical sport here than in Switzerland,” Jaquemet said. “Back home, it’s more technical, and it’s more about how you handle the ball.”
Although both players are a long way from home and only get to visit their home countries only in the summer, they both said they have found themselves surrounded by great people in an exciting culture.
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