In this interview, you’ll discover more about the experiences of Slamstox footballer Noud Geerdink as a student-athlete in America! Noud has been playing football for many years and made the transition to the United States in the summer of 2023, where he joined the men’s soccer team at Lawrence University. This Division 3 university is located in the state of Wisconsin, where he combines college soccer with his studies. Want to know more? Read below!
Firstly, can you tell a bit more about yourself?
I am Noud Geerdink, born in Arnhem, and have always lived in this area. I attended Thomas a Kempis College, where I graduated with my VWO diploma last year. In the village of Velp, I played football for the VVO club throughout my childhood. I went through all age categories here and eventually made my debut in the first team.
Why did you choose to combine soccer with a study in America?
I chose to play soccer and study in America because I was very drawn to the American sports culture. The way Americans view sports is quite different from the Netherlands; in America, sports are often considered more important. Even at the Division 3 level, you can feel how significant sports are in school. There is a lot of investment in facilities and coaches, and athletes often receive priority. I didn’t just go to America for the sports culture; I was also interested in the American overall culture. What you see in movies often reflects reality, and I was intrigued by how Americans live and think.
Which major are you currently enrolled in, and what do you think of the academic level?
I opted for a major in Business and Entrepreneurship and a minor in Psychology. The academic level, as I experience it, aligns well with the VWO (pre-university education) level. Of course, this also depends on the university you choose. Despite the alignment in level, the amount of schoolwork is significantly less. I have around ten hours of classes per week, spread over three days. I have a schedule where I only have classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, leaving me with plenty of free time!
What do you think of the soccer level in Division III?
The soccer is notably different here. While technical skills are crucial in the Netherlands, the physical aspect is emphasized in the United States. You often play against guys who are older and stronger, which pushes your own physical level higher. Technically, the level here is not necessarily higher than in the Netherlands, but that also depends on the university and conference you attend.
How is the balance between soccer and studying?
The balance between soccer and studying is good. Before school started, I had a two-week preparation period, during which you get to know the team and play a lot together. Due to the limited hours of classes, I have enough time for homework and studying on my days off, so I don’t get caught up with schoolwork. Away games take up the most time due to the long travel times. Homework can be done on the bus or at the hotel where we spend the night before the match.
What does a day look like for a college soccer player in Division III?
An average school day for me looks something like this: I wake up around 8:30, and together with my friends, we head to the cafeteria for breakfast. After breakfast, I spend the afternoon attending classes and working on school assignments. Around 5:30, we head to the soccer field. After changing into our gear, I have practice from 6:00 to 7:30. After practice, we prepare for dinner. In the evening, we often watch sports or spend time with my friends.
How do you like the college life on campus?
College life on campus is very calm. Everyone is in one place, so you see your friends throughout the day. The food and accommodation are well-organized, and cleaning is minimal. You’re responsible for your laundry and dorm, but that doesn’t take much time. Americans are very friendly, creating a good atmosphere around campus. Overall, it’s a pleasant living environment!
What is your best experience so far in America?
My best experience is the entire preseason! Playing soccer with the team all day and no school to worry about. During this time, you make the most friends and have the most free time to explore America. You live like a professional soccer player, and that has certainly left an impression!
What do you and your teammates do in your free time?
My teammates and I often spend our free time together. We play a lot of FIFA and, most importantly, have a lot of fun. There are plenty of parties to look forward to on the weekends, so we’re almost never bored. Occasionally, we take a trip somewhere, and going to the movies, grabbing Chipotle, or watching a sports game is our go-to.
What goals do you still want to achieve in America?
My time in America has only just begun, and I still want to experience a lot here and, ultimately, obtain my diploma. America is full of beautiful places to discover, and I definitely plan to do this with the friends I have already made here.
If you, like Noud, are interested in combining your sport and studies through college soccer in America, feel free to fill out this form and we’ll be happy to get in touch to discuss your possibilities.