How an HP Soccer Player Refined His Game in Germany

Reid Valentine spent almost a year in an immersion program for elite prospects

Reid Valentine figures he’s “half-fluent” in German after spending almost a year overseas, but he’s quite fluent in the fast-paced style of European soccer.

That was a primary takeaway for the Highland Park junior after returning from his stint with Talentprojekt. The program immerses elite American players in youth soccer leagues in foreign countries.

Valentine’s opportunity to play in a small city about 30 minutes outside Munich came when a close friend needed a roommate.

“I was thrilled and really wanted to do it,” Valentine said. “I was just nervous about my parents because I was going to be gone for so long.”

After getting approval from his family and the U.S. Soccer Federation, plus securing his student visa, Valentine left in January 2021 for the first of two semesters in one of the world’s most devoted soccer cultures.

“The coaching was very different, and the style of play was much different,” Valentine said. “They’re very calm and composed there. I feel like I learned a lot.”

His Talentprojekt squad mainly included American players, with a few from other countries. They matched up against teams from Germany, Croatia, and elsewhere.

“We played games against some really good teams,” Valentine said. “These kids were really established and had Nike and Adidas contracts. Soccer is a business there.”

Valentine and his teammates studied primarily online, along with one in-person German class at a local international school. During his second visit in the fall of 2021, he was able to travel more extensively and meet more people with pandemic restrictions eased.

He missed almost his entire freshman season with the Scots and part of his sophomore year but kept in touch through social media.

“He’s more comfortable under pressure,” said HP head coach Salvador Richie. “He was already a really technical player, but he’s one of our most proficient players in terms of controlling the ball with both feet.”

Another HP junior, Elias Taft, is playing in Spain this year through Talentprojekt. Meanwhile, Valentine still notices the benefits a year after returning to the lineup as a defender for the Scots and for his Solar select team.

“I’m more confident in myself as a player and more composed on the field,” he said. “I got much more mature when I was there.”

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.