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Mountaineer Football Players Relish European Experience

West Virginia Football
© West Virginia University Athletics

Members of the West Virginia Mountaineer football team completed a two-week trip throughout Europe this week. The selected Mountaineers are members of the Chambers Elite Climbers through the 5th Quarter Program started by coach Neal Brown in 2020.

Notable team members that took part on the trip included quarterback Nico Marchiol, defensive end Sean Martin and tight end Kole Taylor. The Climbers visited seven countries in Europe over the two-week timespan.

Excellence Off the Field

The Chambers Elite Climbers program provides selected WVU football players to develop further within the 5th Quarter Program. Student-athletes must apply and meet the standards of the program to join. In their first year of membership, they gain experience in technology, financial education and communication. In between their first and second year comes the trip abroad. In their second year, members will focus on entrepreneurship, community service and career preparation.

Brown has made many positive impacts on the West Virginia football team—the 5th Quarter Program may be his biggest. The program aims to develop men, graduate student-athletes and win.

“The 5th Quarter Program is an integral part of the WVU football student-athlete experience," Brown said. "We want to position our players for success on the playing field and for life beyond graduation.”

Mountaineer Football Takes on Europe

The Climbers began in Germany with a trip to the International School of Dusseldorf, visited the European Football League’s Rhein Fire and met staffers at NFL Germany. The following day, they trained with FC Köln on the soccer field. To wrap up the tour of Germany, they visited the BMW Museum in Munich and the STOCKMEIER Urethans plant in Lemgo.

Members then visited Spain, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, United Kingdom and finished the tour in France. While in France, the Climbers went to VivaTech 2024, Europe’s biggest startup and tech event. They also spent an evening with John Chambers, the former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, and whose name the business college at West Virginia University is named after.

It’s safe to say the Chambers Elite Climbers were quite busy on their tour of Europe. From visiting the Louvre to seeing the coast of Greece in Santorini, the trip left a lasting impact on those who were selected to go.

“Our journey to Prague allowed us to be quickly introduced to local culture," Marchiol said. "We marveled at the Prague Philharmonia, a stunning testament to the city’s devotion to classical music. In Kutná Hora, the grandeur of St. Barbara’s Cathedral and the haunting beauty of the Sedlec Ossuary, adorned with thousands of human skeletons, created memories that will be cherished forever.”


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