Just like there is no typical host family, there is no typical exchange experience for our exchange students. Across the country, life as a typical American teenager varies greatly! Our students discover that often times, what they have seen in movies about high school in the U.S. is not always true, although just as exciting to experience. But one student, Matyas from the Czech Republic, was able to get an all-American experience when his football team won the State Championship title!
Before coming on program Matyas knew that he wanted to try out football. “I always thought that football is a really cool sport when I saw it in movies,” he shared. Before he even left, he had shared his hopes with his Host Family, the Morrisons, who helped out by talking to the head coach. When Matyas arrived in Virginia, he was able to join the Magna Vista Warriors!
Many exchange students become kickers for their football team, as they often play sports such as soccer that involve kicking. “First, coach thought that I was going to be a kicker because I am guy from Europe but I did not work,” Matyas shared. Because he is tall and fast, he decided on playing a Wide Receiver.
For Matyas, every second on the team, from the practices to the games, was an amazing and memorable experience. “The guys from the team took me as the part of the team and of the family.” He was surprised about how involved families were in football but that the commitment only added to the excitement of the experience. “The people live with the football, it is part of everybody’s life. Then how many people come to the games and the atmosphere in the stadium during the games was just unbelievable.”
For the Morrisons, this isn't the first time one of their exchange students won a title. Just last year, their Italian student also joined the Magna Vista Warriors football team who took home the State Championship. Host dad William shared, "Having 2 students back to back that won state football championships is awesome! Here in the south, this is a big thing. Both students were able to come early enough to practice with the football team over the summer. They already had a support system in place and became part of the community prior to their first day of school. I was able to make it to every game and really enjoyed it."
Of course, being a part of the State Championship team was a once in a lifetime experience for Matyas. “That was just amazing and I got memories for rest of my life which I will hopefully one time telling to my kids how we won the state title.”
“Now I am Warrior forever, part of the big family. The guys from the team are my best friends and they are always going to be now. So I did not get just this amazing experience from playing football but also amazing friends for the rest of my life. I want to say big thank you to all the guys from the team and also to all coaches that they took me as a part of the big family.”