Who We Are
Global Players (GP) Student Athlete Exchange, LLC was founded by Tara Michael Skultety and Jessica Beard Thornton, hometown friends from Annapolis, Maryland just outside of Washington, DC. The pair has shared a passion for education, lacrosse, and adventure for the past 20 years. International travel entered the scene after Skultety tore her ACL during a Division I pre-season training in February 2002. Skultety decided she could either take this opportunity for granted and sit on the sidelines or take advantage of the time off post-surgery and study abroad. She chose the latter and spent Fall semester of 2002 in Namibia and South Africa rehabbing the injury, interning at the Parliament in Cape Town, and having the experience of a lifetime. Skultety was inspired to seek other such opportunities and without much persuasion, Thornton joined her as they traveled to Australia and beyond using the sport they loved as a vehicle.
After Australia, the traveling player coaches took the scenic route to London via Fiji, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Since then, they have traveled to more then 35 countries, lived on three continents, and counting. Life experience, coaching, playing and traveling, has sharpened the young entrepreneurs' focus on using sport and education to bridge cultural divides. Their personal journeys fueled the deep desire to build this bridge for student-athletes all over the world. Thus Student Athlete Exchange, under the auspices of Global Players, was born: the first ever study abroad program designed by athletes for athletes. In 2008, Beard set up the US office in Atlanta and Michael currently runs GP’s international headquarters out of Amsterdam. Today the ambitious duo has been the catalyst in sending nearly 75 student athletes overseas and helped to grow the game of lacrosse across the world.
The company is not just built on the efforts of these two alone. Global Players is a united front of those that have been a part of it, particularly an incredible network of talented and dedicated alumni that want to offer the same opportunities they have received. In addition, GP gives a warm note of appreciation to all of our alumni staff, parents, coaches, faculty members, academic partners and general supporters for making it possible to provide unique opportunities for more college athletes. Thank you.
Where We Are Going
The vision of Global Players is “to build an international student athlete exchange network which attracts people to our four pillar philosophy Learn. Play. Travel. Serve.” We hope to be as vast and varied as the sports and hobbies found throughout the world with the ability to transcend language and cultural barriers.Currently we offer an International Coaching Program for recent graduates and International Business Study Abroad Program in Prague for all ages over 18 with an athletic focus on the game of lacrosse. Lacrosse proved to be an excellent launching pad as it is a rapidly expanding game which we know and love. And GP is excited to announce the additions of softball, baseball and football to the playlist kicking off in 2012 and Field Hockey in 2013. GP founders and staff have personal experience coaching, playing, and living abroad. We will use this knowledge and expertise to continue to grow and expand into other sports within the next several years. If you are interested in investment, partnership/development, or employment opportunities, please contact us.