Soccer Tours FAQ
Tour Frequently Asked Questions:
Are there tryouts to join the AIA Soccer team?
No, there are no tryouts to join us on an AIA Soccer adventure. However, depending upon the level of teams we will be playing against, we do take into consideration your previous soccer experiences so that we can take you on a tour that best fits your skill level.
Is there an application deadline?
Yes, you must have your application completed (including all references) by the application deadline listed on the website. Our main reason for having an application deadline is to give you enough time to raise your support before the trip. The application deadline is different for each tour and can be found on that specific tour’s information page.
What if I just heard about the trip and the application deadline has already passed, can I still apply for a tour or project?
There is no guarantee that we can open up any more spots once we are past the application deadline. However, after we pass the application deadline and get closer to the trip, we will evaluate whether or not we can accept any more players on a case-by-case basis.
Will we practice together before the tour?
No, the team will not practice together before they meet up to leave for their tour destination. Since players will be coming from across the US and Canada it’s not possible to bring everyone together for practices beforehand.
What is the time commitment to prepare for a tour?
In order to fully prepare for any tour there are several things you will need to do. The main things are: complete the online application, raise your support by sending out letters and following up with people, call in for 2 team conference calls to help you prepare for the trip, and go through a few short Bible studies online to prepare spiritually for the tour.
How do I pay for tour/project?
We encourage you to raise support to cover the cost of your tour. This idea may overwhelm you, but we have always seen God provide financially for players to come on trips. Once you are accepted to the tour, we will send you a package of information with training materials and sample letters for raising support. Those materials have very detailed instructions and lots of resources to help you. Here is a quick overview of support raising: make a list of potential supporters, send them a letter describing the tour and your desire to go, and invite them to help you make it possible. Once accepted for a tour you will also have a full-time AIA staff member connecting with you regularly to help you with any support raising questions/issues.
Does the cost of the tour include my travel expenses to get there?
This varies depending on the location of the specific tour that you participate in. For international tours, the team will be meeting in a city in North America, either for training camp or to depart immediately for the tour destination. The flight arrangements can vary by tour, so please refer to the details on the tour page for the specific tour you are applying for.
For projects within the US and Canada, the cost of the project does not include your travel expenses to get to the project location. You will be responsible for arranging this travel on your own.
When do I have to turn in money for the tour?
There are two deadlines for turning in money. The first deadline will be when we are booking the team’s flights. The amount you need to have turned in is dependent on the cost of the flights. The rest of your money must be turned in 1 week before the trip leaves.
How many players will be on the tour?
The number of players varies with the type of tour or project. For a game-oriented tour, we aim to take a full team of 15 players along with a coach and trainer. For a community ministry-oriented tour, our numbers are more flexible since playing games is not the focus of the trip, and we therefore won’t need a full team. In some cases we have local players join us for the duration of our tour, living and playing alongside us.
What does the average day look like?
The average day on tour or project will vary greatly depending on which area of the world you are in and the goals and objectives of that tour. But you can be guaranteed in any culture outside of North America that schedules are simply loose suggestions of events that we would like to see happen at some point.
When we plan our days, we take into consideration the level of soccer skill, the availability of local community resources, and the openness to the Gospel. We typically eat breakfast together, head out for a soccer camp or clinic for kids in the morning, eat lunch together, and then have a game scheduled for the afternoon or evening. If the circumstances allow, we will stay and have dinner with the opposing team and get to know them a bit over a meal. We also work in a time to have a Bible study together either during the day or at night.
Where will we live/stay?
We typically stay in lodging similar to dormitories or camps so that we can all bunk close together. However, when that isn’t possible, we have stayed in homes with families from a local church or in hotels. Obviously the available amenities change with the location such as television, internet, phones and even hot water. We always make sure that the lodging is safe and prefer to find a place conveniently located near our soccer clinic sites or fields.
What do we eat?
Due to the nature of a soccer tour, we obviously want to provide you with food that is clean and will help you stay healthy and fit. Whenever we travel, we choose destinations where a local AIA staff has established a ministry. They understand that visitors from other countries cannot always stomach the local delicacies. As staff, we make every effort to work out a meal plan of safe and edible foods for our players. Often times we are invited to try the local favorites (which can be delicious!), which is a great way to get to know the culture. Along those same lines, if the local tap water is not safe to drink, we make sure there is ample clean bottled water for our players. Of course, if you are concerned about meals while traveling, you are welcome to bring plenty of your own food such as granola or protein bars, trail mix, and peanut butter (which is hard to find in most third-world countries).
Will there be free time?
No. Just kidding! Of course we schedule for free time. We understand that your body and mind can only take so much before they start to shut down. We also plan excursions to local landmarks and markets so that you can experience the culture and all that it has to offer.
Who will we play?
The skill level of our players will determine which teams we will be playing against. With a more highly-skilled team (those who are playing competitively at major North American universities or professional levels) we play against professional and even national teams. In the past, our AIA Soccer teams have played national teams from various countries including Thailand, Myanmar, Malawi, Swaziland, Paraguay, and others. With a team of averagely skilled players (those who played in high school, smaller colleges, or recreational) we can play local community and university teams.
What does soccer ministry look like? How does it fit into a “missions trip”?
Soccer is the one language that is understood around the world. Why not use it to share the story and love of Jesus Christ? We use soccer as a medium through which to build relationships and create opportunities to share the Gospel. For example, when running a week-long soccer camp for kids, we take a moment each day to share a bit about developing character as a soccer player, tying it into our personal stories or testimonies about our relationship with Jesus. Then, at the end of the week, we close by giving each child the opportunity to hear the full Gospel and respond. Any child who decides to invite Christ into their heart is connected with the local AIA staff and/or church so that they can continue to help them grow.
We always take every opportunity to share the love of Jesus with whoever we are playing or training with by sharing a personal testimony and presenting the Gospel to all who are present. It is our goal to build relationships as we share God’s love and connect our new friends with local AIA Staff who can follow up with any person who is interested in learning more about the Bible or starting a relationship with Jesus Christ.
When we play against a local team, we take all the opportunities we can to share the Gospel either with fans at half time and/or with the opposing team after the game. It is important here that we do not take our God-given gifts and talents lightly. Perhaps it is stating the obvious when we say that you must earn the respect of the opposing team by playing well if you want them to listen to your story as you share about Jesus. If you feel that God has given you the skills and abilities to play soccer, use them as best you can to help spread the Good News and further God’s kingdom.
What if I don’t know how to share the Gospel? Or if I don’t want to share my testimony in front of others?
We’ve all been there. It is our goal to simply give you the opportunity to be used by God. It is up to you whether or not you will allow Him to work through you. We will never force you into a situation that you are uncomfortable with or opposed to. That said, we offer training at the beginning of the tour to help you develop your skills in this area. By the end of the tour we want you to have confidence in your ability to share about how Jesus impacts your life and to help someone understand how they can begin a relationship with Him. Our staff are each trained in this area and are delighted to help you grow personally so that one day you can help train someone else!