WorldStrides Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
As the pandemic continues to spike and spread around the U.S., it is leaving economic upheaval in its aftermath. The economic impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19 on the American youth soccer market is beyond our ability to comprehend just yet. Here is another bankruptcy filing citing the pandemic.
With the tag line, “Experience a European sports adventure,” the Charlottesville-based Excel International Sports was once a company sports groups would turn to when exploring options for soccer trips abroad. Known by the name WorldStrides, the travel company is most likely another casualty of the Coronavirus COVID-19.
WorldStrides filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York.
Even 50 years plus of success providing over 9 million students and youth sports players with travel experiences could not save WorldStrides from sustaining significant financial losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company offered a wide range of programs for more than 550,000 students annually.
WorldStrides’ ability to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain, as is its capability to meet the needs of youth soccer travel once the Coronavirus standstill is over.
Who will be left standing post-pandemic is the big question. Privately owned, smaller companies seem to be financially more secure weathering the unprecedented economic upheaval of the Coronavirus.
The Wall Street Journal’s article, Student Tour Company WorldStrides Files for Bankruptcy Over Covid-19 Disruption explores how this chapter 11 filing underscores the pandemic’s damage to companies in the travel industry.
The Lakeland Tours, LLC d/b/a WorldStrides petition filed on July 20, 2020, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court case # numbered 20-11647 seeks to restructure $770 million of debt. WorldStrides travel business came to an abrupt halt with the spread of the pandemic. According to the filing, WorldStrides intends to continue paying customer refunds and expects to continue paying vendors and other partners in full in the ordinary course of business.
LEGACY Global Sports partnered with WorldStrides for international soccer tours in 2019 and referred to each other as two powerhouse brands in youth soccer that would team up to provide Global Premier Soccer (GPS) players with international soccer experiences that elevate their game and enrich their lives beyond the field.
Fast Forward to 2020 and GPS, WorldStrides & Legagy have all filed Bankruptcy.
Robert Gogel, President and Chief Executive Officer of WorldStrides, said “Our industry has been at a standstill due to the pandemic. We were on track to deliver record-level business activity across many of our brands, but COVID-19 has had a significant impact.”
WorldStrides’ has a plan to secure new financing from existing owners and lenders as the company works to prepare for the return to travel — as soon as allowed by Domestic and International regulations.
WorldStrides was founded in 1967 and provided educational travel and experiences to more than 400,000 students a year. Its sports division was started in 1998 by Eric McAleer, a former European professional soccer player who became part of WorldStrides in 2015.
The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all levels of soccer, from the market value of all professional soccer clubs to an endless series of youth soccer tournament cancelations and several bankruptcy filings. While there are significant challenges ahead, there are glimmers of recovery that should flourish, if we all follow the proper safety protocols.