Over the last 20 years, international trips for American players have become more and more common. Players and teams visit some of the most popular soccer destinations in the world such as England, Spain, Netherlands, and Brazil. These tours give kids the experience of playing top academies such as Liverpool, or Ajax or Barcelona. The trip usually includes tours of world famous stadiums, and tickets to a professional game that create memories to last a lifetime.
As travel restrictions are lifted, Pro Elite Training, a group based out of NJ is doing something a bit different. Innocent Buule, owner of Pro Elite Training, will be taking a group of players back to his native country Uganda. This tour will be a once in a lifetime opportunity experience for the players, as the sport they love will connect the different cultures.
When asked about the trip, Buule said, ”The trip to Uganda is a simple one for us. It’s an idea we have had for years. The trip is a chance for our local players, from New Jersey, at whatever level, to discover how the game is played and approached but, most importantly, how it is a vital and crucial part of a young man/woman initiation and transition to adulthood in a world different than ours." Players (students of life) will attend a private Boarding School, which will be their home during the trip.
Daily Training sessions will be integrated with local players, and local coaches will also take part in helping continue the players’ growth and education. We will have one weekend tournament against schools and clubs, also various scrimmages.
Players will spend some days as actual students in school, as well, getting a chance to experience that other side of the coin: how peers from another country learn and are taught.
We will also take a soccer trip out to ElCambio Academy, in Masaka, one of the top soccer academies in the country, developing young players, young men on and off the field.
Uganda, known for its Wildlife Attractions and great national parks, will allow our players to experience nature as it should, enriching their lives, and affording them the urgency of protecting our planet, our environment.”
Innocent moved to the United States from Uganda at the age of 14, after spending his summers here for 6 years his mother then decided it was time for him to make it his home. At Memorial High School in West New York, NJ, Buule became a two-sport athlete, starring in both soccer and track. Scoring 32 goals his senior year, he led the school to its first Hudson County championship, almost 20 years. In track, he won two medals as a sprinter at the NJSIAA state sectionals as a senior.
In college, Buule first attended Tyler Junior College, one of the top Junior College soccer programs in the nation. After Tyler Junior College, Buule moved back to Jersey to play for coach Kevin East at Rutgers Newark. His Junior year at Rutgers Newark, the team set the then school-record for victories with 13 and earned their first-ever NJAC Championship Tournament berth. Buule lled the team with 20 points including 9 goals, which tied him for the seventh highest season total in Rutgers Newark history. Buule finished his career at Rutgers Newark ranked fifth in points (53) and points per match (.96), third in goals (23) and third in shots (168).
Following his playing career, Buule moved into coaching, where he has become one of the top technical trainers in the state. Buule established a youth club named Quick Touch Futbol in 2016, with the teams playing some of the most attractive soccer in EDP Leagues and Tournaments. Through his training company and youth club, Buule has worked with hundreds of players, and is excited to have some of his players experience his native Uganda. The trip will be a life changing experience for all involved.