This week we had a chance to catch up with Ali Dorrego, midfielder from Chatham, who visited Europe on two separate soccer trips this past summer. Ali plays on the FCUSA NJ 04G NPL team and attends Morristown-Beard School where she is a freshman on the varsity soccer team.
Ali was selected from a pool of 5000 nominees from other Yokohama-sponsored youth soccer clubs across the country, to travel to London, England as part of the third annual Yokohama VIP Soccer experience with Chelsea Football Club.
Yokohama, FCUSA’s jersey sponsor, offer this contest as a part of their P.S.I. program. Aligning similarly to FCUSA’s core values of teamwork, respect, integrity & commitment, the P.S.I. program recognizes youth soccer player’s philanthropic commitment to the community, scholarly and academic accomplishments and integrity and sportsmanship.
Twelve players were selected to travel on a four-day trip to London. Joining Ali on the trip was FCUSA Maryland’s Nick Duvall.
During their stay, contest winners toured Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club (a Yokohama sponsor), had a training session at Cobham Training Center where she worked with Chelsea coaches and experienced the local culture along with other VIP amenities. During the training session, a few visitors made an appearance: Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, and Marcus Alonso to name a few.
Not only did Ali tour iconic Stamford Bridge, she attended Chelsea’s season-opening match versus Leicester City F.C.
“My favorite part of the trip was walking into the Chelsea locker room and bring presented with a Chelsea jersey with my name on the back,” said Ali.
FCUSA NJ Technical Director Dominic Rice, “We are thrilled to be a part of the Yokohama family. Not many youth soccer clubs in New Jersey are able to provide opportunities like this to their student-athletes. Not only was it an amazing soccer experience, but fantastic to travel the world and experience new cultures to become a more well-rounded individual.”
One month earlier, Ali traveled to Spain to compete in the Donosti Cup with her FCUSA NJ teammates. On the trip, the current FCUSA NJ players were provided with Steel United apparel, as the FCUSA brand will transition to Steel United in the next year. Click here for more info on Steel United.
The boys and girls teams resided in beautiful San Sebastian, visited Barcelona, participated in the Donesti Cup opening ceremonies and advanced to the tournament quarterfinals. Below is a video highlighting this summer’s international tours.
Lastly, we spoke with Ali’s mother Gretchen who had this to say about her experience with FCUSA NJ so far, “Ali joined FCUSA just over a year ago and I feel like she hit the soccer ‘jackpot’. Her experiences this summer really just capped off what was already a spectacular year at FCUSA. I am so thankful to both Yokohama Tire and FCUSA for giving Ali the opportunity to travel, learn valuable lessons both on and off the field, and create memories that will last a lifetime.”
Stay tuned to hear about the opportunities our current club members will be able to experience next summer.
Check out blog article, “5 Reasons Why Traveling is a Game-Changer for Young Athletes,” from our leader Mick Smoothey.