A quick interview with Carlotta Cartelli: born in 1997, she is the goalkeeper of the Louisiana Tech University women soccer team. "Charlie", as her teammates call her, tells us about her experience as a student-athlete in the U.S.
Why did you decide to become a student-athlete in an American College?
First of all I was looking for an enriching life experience that gave me the chance to know new people and different places. Secondly I had heard that the American academic system was complementary to the sport system, helping student-athlets to develop both aspects."
Which of your expectations were confirmed?
"I hoped to find an environment where I can do my best in both aspects, the academic one and the athletic one: I wanted to build my future and obtaining a degree without leaving my greatest passion, soccer. I also hoped meeting new people and different cultures and having unique experiences. For example last year, during Easter vacation, a friend of mine invited me to his house and we went fishing catfish and crawfish to the Missisipi river. I think that the chance to go through a different culture is the best experience."
How do you feel playing soccer in the U.S.?
At the beginning it seemed strange to me that we had so many resources available for us but I got used easily to that. Here everyone puts attention on all details in order to enable us to do our best.
Was it hard to balance sport and study?
At the beginning it was not easy but when you start understanding the system things get better. For example, soccer season is in the “fall” (from August to early December) and I know that it is better if I can take hard classes during the winter or spring quarter. If you can not put them off in the off season quarters you need work harder. However usually professors are very willing and if I skip some classes beacuse of away games they help us. Last year I skipped three math classes because of the conference tournament and my professor made skype calls in the evening to explain to me what they did during the classes that I missed.
What are the differences between Italy and the States?
I can say that in U.S. there is more attention for the athletes studies. Athletes receive all the help and the tools they may need to succeed in sport and studies. For example, in my university all freshman athletes have to study 8 hours a week in the student-athletes study-hall and they have to meet their athletic advisor every week in order to verify everything is ok with school. Moreover, if I need help for studying or some additional explanations in addition to my professors I can get in touch with some tutors, too. Based on my experience in Italy I can say that not all my teachers supported my sport commitment, quite the opposite… I can say that in U.S. you receive more supervision.
Tell us something about your American experience that especially impressed you.
From the athletic point of view for sure the attention to details and discipline. From the scholastic point of view I can say the willingness and openness of professors. However the things that really impressed me are the new bonds I established. In the U.S. I have an “adoptive” family, always ready to help me. We meet for dinner twice a month and whatever I need they are always ready to support me. They helped me finding a car, they brought me to remove my wisdom tooth and I spent some days at their home: they wanted to make sure I feel good.
Would you recommend the student-athlete experience in the U.S.A. to your friends?
Yes, I would, especially to those who want to take a challenge. This experience changes you and help you to grow.
What are your future plans?
"At the moment I don’t have a clear idea. First of all I would like to finish at best the year and half remaining for my graduation; I would like to achieve satisfactory results in the academic and soccer field. After college I have some plans and ideas, I would like to come back to Italy to play soccer and continue studying. I would also love to volunteer around the world and help children with hardships.