Alessandro Otti of Soderbergh visits his home by plane during Christmas. The 24-year-old is already offering a full soccer scholarship in the USA. Experiment report.
Syracuse/Soderburg – More than four months ago, Alessandro Otti took a big step across the Atlantic. Now the Soderbergh guy, who’s on a full football scholarship to Le Moyne College, USA, has his first semester behind him — and he feels great.
Access was not smooth. There were already delays at the departure airport in Hamburg, and Otte almost missed the connecting plane in Frankfurt am Main. The 24-year-old looks back with a smile: “At least the bag came with us.” Fellow was less fortunate. He had to pass through the US for a week without baggage.
In Syracuse (pop. 148,000 / New York State), site of Le Moyne College, Otey immediately went to the house Otey shared with four teammates. “I could live on campus, but you have to share a room with someone. You don’t have any influence over who it is,” explains the former player from Lüneburger SK.
Although two of the five residents had to sleep in the living room of the newly renovated house for six weeks (“We drew a lot to see who was sleeping there”), it was like home to the Suderburger. “It settled in really well and I felt comfortable from the first second.” The extroverted nature of his fellow humans would have made that part easy. You have to get out of your comfort zone, but then you will get help from all sides.
The defensive ace first feared homesickness: “At first I thought I was going to miss friends and family so much because I am a family man. I miss her, too, but I feel better here than I have in a long time.”
However, there was a change: “The food is more fatty and hearty. It’s a little difficult when you eat healthy food. The body must first adapt to it.
Even with his new soccer team, the Le Moyne Dolphins, there were no problems adapting. But in terms of sports, the Dolphins got off to a stuttering start: “First we had to find each other, but then we played good ball. We were just too stupid to score goals,” Otti admits. Gradually, the team encountered several casualties. “But she clicked with the starting team and we won almost every game.” Ottey’s bottom line was: “It was a totally successful and wonderful experience. It’s a completely different game here. It’s more about emotion here.”
While Otey had plenty of activities this off-season with two games a week and seminars, there was free time after that: “After the season, I went to Niagara Falls. On the weekends we do a lot with the team, go partying, or play tech ball.” Or basketball, or we go to the gym.
Above all, Defenders celebrated Thanksgiving. “The international was invited by a teammate’s family. That was a real experience, especially with all the meals.”
For the time being, Ote returned home to Soderburg. “I can’t imagine Christmas without my family. I’m really looking forward to spending time with them and reliving the annual tradition.” There’s plenty of time for that. Only on January 15 will she return to the United States. Then hopefully without travel problems.
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