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Goal!! PLU Soccer Teams Bond—and Win—on 10-Day Trip to England

Posted by: / August 31, 2015
The PLU soccer community poses in front of the Manchester United stadium during a 10-day trip to England. (Photo courtesy assistant athletic trainer Todd Yamauchi.)

Image: The PLU soccer community poses in front of the Manchester United stadium during a 10-day trip to England. (Photo courtesy assistant athletic trainer Todd Yamauchi.)

By Lena Moreno ’17
For PLU Marketing & Communications

TACOMA, Wash. (Aug. 31, 2015)—On Aug. 1, the Lutes and I started our 10-day adventure to England: Eighteen women’s soccer players and 14 men’s soccer players, along with both teams’ coaching staff and a trainer, were fortunate enough to play soccer, experience a new culture and have fun, all in another country.

Our trip also re-established a PLU Athletics tradition of teams traveling abroad. It was the first trip for a PLU squad since the mid-1990s.

Our main objective while in England was to play together as a team before our season starts in September. As it turned out, our travels through London, Manchester and Liverpool served as the ultimate bonding opportunity, since all of us took part in exhibition competition, visited historic landmarks and experienced professional European soccer.

“It was an outstanding trip, an awesome trip,” PLU women’s soccer coach Seth Spidahl said. “It was an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime experience for the student-athletes. It was something that we’d look to do again.”

We played three games against three professional English teams—Blackburn, Manchester City and Crystal Palace—spread out over the trip with practices in between, and trained at and toured some of the best soccer facilities in the world. We came home with a great record: 2-1 against three competitive teams.

Along with playing soccer, we were able to watch soccer at a highly competitive level. After flying out of SeaTac, stopping in Iceland and finally arriving in England, we were rushed straight from the airport to Wembly Stadium to watch Chelsea play Arsenal. Everyone was exhausted, but the cheers from the 90,000-capacity stadium woke everyone up, and both Lute teams chanted with the other fans.

We attended another Chelsea game later in the trip, which happened to be the opening game of the English Premier League. We also toured major soccer stadiums like Old Trafford Stadium and Emirates Stadium.

The trip wasn’t all about soccer, though: We traveled to historic parts of England, as well, walking around the birth city of William Shakespeare and trying to make the guards at Buckingham Palace notice us.

Overall, England was the most memorable time I’ll share with my team. The games and practices gave us confidence coming into preseason that will carry over to our season. Seeing where some of top professional teams play was like a childhood dream come true, and traveling around England was an unforgettable experience. I wouldn’t want to share these memories with anyone but my soccer family.

This story contains information from Tyler Scott/PLU Athletics.