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Leadership Team

TARA MICHAEL MBA, M.SC
CO-FOUNDER
DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS & CUSTOM PROGRAMS
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As the CEO and Director of Development, Tara Michael is responsible for overseeing all Global Players operations, strategic partnerships and custom programs such as Faculty-Led and Team Travel . In addition to ensuring Global Players continues to execute our mission and vision, Michael focuses her time on building Global Player's collaborative efforts with universities and providers across the world. Michael received her MBA degree from the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Business School. In 2004, she graduated with honors from American University (AU) in Washington, D.C. with a multi-disciplinary degree in Communications, Legal Systems, Economics, and Government. Michael received the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year award in 2004 for her efforts in the classroom as well as First Team honors in 2003 and 2004 for her success on the lacrosse field.

"I realized I could either take advantage of my options in college or take them for granted. I chose the former. Studying abroad changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. I am so thankful for having the presence of mind to make that decision - it changed who I was, who I am, and who I would become. I dare say Global Players would not exist if I did not study abroad to understand the need for student-athlete programming”

Being surrounded by AU's diverse student body sparked Michael's interest in international affairs, but it wasn't until she tore her ACL sophomore year that she seriously considered a semester abroad. After surgery and rehab, she headed to Namibia and South Africa where her love of travel and culture was born. Michael has since traveled to over 40 countries on six continents, playing lacrosse in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Holland along the way. She now resides in Haarlem outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands with her husband and their two children


JESSICA BEARD THORNTON
CO-FOUNDER
DIRECTOR OF CUSTOM PROGRAMS
CONTACT JESS

As Director of Marketing and Direct Enrollment, Jess Beard Thornton ensures all staff members not only achieve the mission of Global Players but promote the organization with integrity and authenticity. She is in charge of managing all the incoming applicants while growing the brand from top to bottom.

Thornton pays extensive hands-on attention to the day-to-day operations at GP, to ensure that the students' and universities' experience with us is a positive and rewarding one. She graduated a lacrosse All-American from James Madison University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Marketing and immediately recognized the potential to use sport as a platform to travel all over the world.

After committing to several months of global service in the region of Southeast Asia, from Tsunami relief to orphanage work, Thornton settled in London where she continued her service as a lacrosse development officer. Committed to mentoring young men and women on and off the field, Thornton co-founded Global Players soon after her return to the US, with the desire to offer the same opportunities to student-athletes in college that she had after graduation.


Eamon Thornton
Director of Coaching and Leadership
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As the Director of Coaching and Leadership Eamon Thornton is responsible for developing the International Coaching Practicum (ICP) curriculum to prepare participants for careers in coaching, teaching or general leadership positions on the youth, collegiate and global scales. He not only develops the core competencies that are taught overseas, he implements and facilitates these courses directly to the student athletes as well. He has been with Global Players since the beginning and has been an instrumental member of staff in making it what it is today. Due to his efforts, collegiate athletes that came on our program as beginners now hold jobs both nationally and internationally at all levels of coaching and management.

Thornton graduated a Lacrosse Academic All-American from Hampden-Sydney College in 2006. While working in England as a Development Officer, he learned the value of getting out of one's comfort zone and becoming immersed in another culture. Upon returning to the US, Thornton quickly became certified as a Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine in addition to coaching lacrosse at Archbishop Spalding High School in Baltimore, MD and went on to found NXT Training, sports specific personal training for young adults interested in lacrosse. Currently, Thornton is a teacher and coach at McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is busy earning his Masters Degree in Coaching and Leadership from Ohio University.
 


MICHELE FRIEDMANN
STUDENT AND PROGRAM MANAGER

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Michele lives in Denver, CO where she serves as a Student and Program Manager for Global Players as well as a Social Media Manager for SocialTrekker. She received her MA in International Education from the School of International Training (SIT) and previously worked for the Foreign Fulbright Program. She has traveled to over 50 countries and is passionate about promoting studying and interning abroad. Michele played soccer at Gettysburg College and is enthusiastic about encouraging athletes and teams to play abroad! 

Michele helps manage team tours by assisting with the itinerary, logistics, fundraising ideas and overall management. She advises prospective students and interns by helping them choose the program that best fits their needs. She also assists with general office management and helps answer student and parent inquiries.

MICHELE ON THE VALUE OF THE GP EXPERIENCE: "The best decision I ever made was studying and interning abroad. I’ve studied abroad three times and interned abroad twice. These experiences not only enhanced my resume but helped me become a much more open minded and worldly citizen. I couldn’t encourage it more!”

In her free time Michele enjoys skiing, mountain biking, playing soccer, photography, traveling, reading and basically anything outdoors.

 

Matt Vozzolo
Athletic Director, prague

As Athletic Director Matt Vozzolo is responsible for assisting in the development of our athletic curriculum in addition to being on site to execute it each summer. This involves working closely with our host clubs abroad to build our participants training schedule, organizing tournament participation and running strength and fitness trainings while ensuring that our players are effective and intentional in using their sport as a vehicle for cultural immersion. He is no stranger to the benefit of using sport as a means to travel, as he has been abroad several times to play and coach lacrosse as a Global Players alumnus.

MATT ON THE VALUE OF THE GP EXPERIENCE: "To be given the opportunity to take college student athletes abroad to play, coach and learn was an absolute blessing. I valued my GP experience because it taught me a lot about myself and how much I love lacrosse. Teaching is a passion of mine and having the chance to do that while traveling was amazing.  I decided to come back as an Athletic Director because I wanted the chance to help and build others through a great experience to travel, teach, and learn."

Matt graduated from New England College in 2010 as an Academic All-American and Scholar Athlete of the year in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.  In addition to his role as Athletic Director, Matt is an elementary school Physical Education Teacher and lacrosse coach in the Kearsarge District in New Hampshire. Matt is not only behind the whistle but he has had much post-collegiate playing success as well,  playing 3 seasons of Senior "B" Box lacrosse in the Quebec Senior Lacrosse League for the Vermont Voyageurs and one season for the Rhode Island Kingfish in the North American Lacrosse League.