For Laurens ten Cate, the decision to attend the International Development Academy was easy. He had two options: let this season go to waste, or spend 6 months in Spain and compete against international talent. The recent grad from Staples High School in Westport, CT had been looking forward to his freshman year at Amherst College. He was about to achieve his goal of playing collegiate soccer, while taking on a tough NESCAC Conference and pursuing the second National Championship in Amherst College program history. COVID-19 took this opportunity away from him as teams across the NCAA continue to cancel their seasons. Although he was hopeful he’d have his NCAA debut, the NESCAC’s decision to cancel their season was ultimately not a surprise and as soon as the verdict was made, ten Cate knew exactly what his next move was.
Once ten Cate decided that he was going to take a gap year for academic reasons, Justin Serpone, the Head Soccer Coach at Amherst College was the one who had recommended the International Development Academy. Plenty of prep school programs would allow him to play, but none of them even came close to the experience that the IDA offers. “The ability to go abroad made the IDA extremely attractive as a soccer player. Having the ability to immerse myself in the Spanish culture while being able to play at a high level really stood out to me,” says, ten Cate.
The IDA provides opportunities that domestic prep schools cannot, and if you’re anything like Laurens ten Cate then you know that taking an entire year off is simply not an option.
In January, ten Cate will be hopping on a flight to Valencia, Spain where he will be joining the IDA team until June. Despite this being a once in a lifetime opportunity, ten Cate is not treating it like a vacation. He’s immersing himself into Spanish culture, learning a new language, and meeting some new teammates, but the main thing on his mind is competing at a high level and growing as a soccer player. When his time at the IDA concludes, ten Cate will be returning home to the states and will begin gearing up for his rookie year at Amherst College, with a whole semester of international competition under his belt.
Want to join Laurens in Spain? Click here to learn more about the IDA!