After avidly fundraising for the past two years, RIT women’s soccer team finally departed for Barcelona, Spain! This spring break, the girls went on a couple day trips for some sight seeing, experienced a FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid game, trained some local youth girls and had the opportunity to train with a Spanish professional coach and play some European football!
Sophomore, Sierra Kiss, shed some insight about the team’s day trips in Girona and Tossa Del Mar.
“Our day in Girona was chilly and it was difficult to find places that were open, but the sites that we saw were beautiful. We were able to visit this huge gothic cathedral that had an incredibly interesting interior. The streets and the buildings are so intricate and they wind throughout the town so much that the roads have a unique look to them. We came to learn that you have to explore all the little side streets that connect to other unpopulated roads in order to find cute places to shop or to eat. Since lunch is a very important part of the Spanish culture, many stores are closed in the middle of that day, so that people get an extended amount of time to return home. A couple of us girls spent a good amount of time in a small coffee shop just enjoying the environment and keeping warm with coffees and pastries.”
Junior, Jamie Martinez, described her experience at the FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid soccer game.
“The FC Barcelona game was unreal. We were all in awe of the entire experience. I’ve never seen something more magical than 100,000 Barca fans waving their flags in unison to create a sea of scarlet, gold, and blue. It was incredible to see the passion every single fan had for their team. The entire crowd erupted in song for the first couple minutes of play, which was an amazing thing to witness. Our section was right next to the Madrid fans caged in and protected by guards, so watching the interactions between Barca and Madrid fans was definitely entertaining. Overall, it was amazing to see the world’s most talented footballers play live. The speed, technical ability and vision they had was even more impressive to watch in person. While the game ended 3-1 in Madrid’s favor, I know everyone can agree that we will never see such an amazing sporting event like the El Classico again”
Senior, Ashlene Potter, describes how her experience in Spain was an eye opening experience and will bring the team together in the future.
“As a team, we had the opportunity to coach a clinic with a local youth team in the town of Lloret. Going into the trip, no one knew that we were going to have this opportunity until we arrived. We were unsure of what to expect and how we were going to be able to communicate with the girls. In Spain they eat, breathe and live soccer so we at least knew that these girls were going to be talented.
As we walked to the local turf field, we saw a bunch of youth girls (ages 8-12) running around the field and getting ready for us to start. We paired each girl on our team with one of the youth girls. For some reason the only English the girls knew was “Justin Bieber,” which made for interesting conversation to say the least! A lot of the girls are learning English in school, so they knew enough English and we knew enough Spanish to be able to communicate throughout the clinic. You could tell the girls were excited that “Americans” were teaching and playing with them for the night. It really was an amazing experience to work with the girls, especially because they are so passionate about the game of soccer. Even though we were able to teach them some things, I think we were the ones that learned the most!
Also, we had the opportunity to have three training sessions with a professional Spanish coach and play two games against local Spanish teams. The training sessions were awesome! We got to see the European style of soccer and our coach gave us some insight on what areas we could work on to become better. After the first training session, our coach was so surprised by how good we were! (I guess they don’t think that Americans like soccer as much as they do!) It was awesome to get together as a team and play in a foreign country with a different coach that can give us a different perspective about the game.
Overall the trip to Spain was a amazing experience and a good eye opener to really be thankful for all the commodities that we have in the United States and everything that we do take for granted. Being able to coach the girls and play actual games was a great added bonus and will be something that in the future will bring our team together!”