A Day in the Life of Joey
“JOEY!!!” Woodlawn’s sophomore class cheers when the Facetime call is answered as World History class begins. On the other side of the screen is Joey Carol, class of 2021. Joey is currently residing in a small hostel located in the Spanish coastal town of Sitges just outside Barcelona. He was selected for the soccer program, TOVO, founded by professional soccer player, Todd Beane. Along with 18 other student-athletes between the ages of 13 - 20, all of whom have traveled from the US and two other countries to play what is internationally known as football, “the world’s sport.” Joey will be refining his athletic abilities during a three-month stay from October to December of 2018. Previously, Joey had played for the highest level of youth US soccer at the Charlotte Soccer Academy. He would travel along the east coast for games and out west for showcases. When he comes back from Spain he will resume playing for the Lake Norman Soccer Club as a center defensive midfielder for their highest U-17 team.
Joey balances a rigorous schedule for soccer training, four hours a day, five days a week. Each day, he awakens at 6am to start homework by seven, eats breakfast at eight before taking a thirty-minute trek with teammates to training. From there, he works on schoolwork in his two hours of extra time, eats lunch by noon, and travels back to the field for a second training session at 3 pm. After training, Joey spends some of his free time snacking with fellow teammates and studying. At 6 pm he takes his A3 Spanish class where he interacts with a teacher and students rather than solely learning from a text or computer. On most evenings, he will eat dinner and complete any remaining assignments before calling home to family and getting to bed by 11 pm. His teammates have become like family, and his housemother, a second mom overseeing the group.
Separating yourself from regular daily life and immersing yourself in something completely unknown to you, forcing yourself to adapt, is incredible. It allows you to discover more about other people, cultures, customs, and most importantly, about yourself. You get to understand yourself better. Everyone should try to accomplish those things no matter their interests or lifestyle!Joey Carol '21, Barcelona, Spain
During Joey’s time in western Europe, he has already traveled to Munich, Germany, to meet with his mother at her medical conferences, as well as cities in Spain. These include Tarragona, Lleida, and Montblanc, which Joey describes as an amazing, middle ages city that has not been modernized. “It feels like you’re walking right through Spain in the twelfth century!” In Sitges, he attended a Spanish concert on the beach, a celebration where people danced down the streets in costumes, a firework show for the birthday of the Saint of Sitges, and experienced Spain’s version of Halloween. With his father, he has driven to Montserrat, Girona, and Villa Viela. He also explored Barcelona with his friends, who he can definitely call brothers now. They attended an FC Barcelona game in the Camp Nou and agree that “this is every young footballer’s dream.” During his next few weeks, Joey plans to visit his German grandparents with his mother, in Warsaw, Poland, and traverse the city. Joey has also been given the opportunity to tour the Cancer Research Center in Barcelona, which he is very excited for.
Although it is too early to reflect on the program’s impact, Joey did add, “I do know that all the lessons I’ll have learned by the end of the program will be lifelong ones, and I know the experience will be an unforgettable one with stories I’ll be telling my whole life. Already, I am learning a tremendous amount about soccer and how to continue to improve; how to live away from my family and friends with new people for an extended period of time; how to balance work / soccer / rest; and Spanish as a foreign language and new culture. Also, how to have a great time no matter the situation!” With this, Joey is looking forward to seeing how much he has grown physically, mentally, and emotionally from when he departed Woodlawn in September. “Separating yourself from regular daily life and immersing yourself in something completely unknown to you, forcing yourself to adapt, is incredible. It allows you to discover more about other people, cultures, customs, and most importantly, about yourself. You get to understand yourself better. Everyone should try to accomplish those things no matter their interests or lifestyle!”