The summer is when athletes train to get better at their sports. Well for the University of Mary women’s soccer team they will have the opportunity to get better overseas and see some of the best women’s soccer players in the world compete.
Starting on June 10, 22 of the 26 members of the women’s team will spend seven days in France, including incoming freshman.
“That’s one of the best parts about the trip is that we get to know our incoming class with our returning class,” head coach Sarah Cook said.
Most of that time will be spent in Paris. The team will get a chance to watch three World Cup matches, including seeing Team USA twice.
“All of them have watched it on TV,” Cook said. “To see it at this stage, all together, I think it will definitely make them appreciate their experiences more.”
But the women will do more than just spectate, U-Mary will play two exhibition matches against opponents in the French Women’s League.
“What an experience to play on international soil,” Cook said. “I’m a competitive person, but these don’t matter. It gives us an idea of where we are before August and September roll around.”
For some of the players like star rising sophomore goalie Madisyn Waltman, this will be their first time traveling to Europe.
“Seeing a lot of the historical factors that we learned about in school will be really, really cool,” Waltman said. “A lot of the architecture and the historical sites are things I’m most looking forward to.”
Rising junior Cassidy Pierce spent a part of last summer in Paris and will help her teammates adjust to different cultural customs overseas.
“We use our cars to get around,” Pierce said, “they use busing systems and such. Also, there are other small things that are different. You have to pay for water, where we are not used to that. You have to pay for public restrooms.”
The players said they hope they to take a selfie with Team USA.
U-Mary’s home schedule starts September 12 against Black Hills State