Women's Soccer Takes on Spain

It’s not the end, it’s just beginning
August 18, 2015

For the majority of my trip, it seemed as though my internal clock never reset or adapted to the European time zone.  However, as I lay stateside and wide-awake at 5:30 a.m., it appears that I may have readjusted after all.  Anyways, this is the perfect time to catch up on my post Spain to-do list.

The end of the Madrid was a whirlwind. That Saturday morning we played our final international match against a Spanish professional women’s soccer team. While the team had ran circles around us, the game was still awesome to play in. Some of the girls on the opposing team had played in the World Cup this past summer and their speed, agility, and skill set were just flawless. It may have been frustrating and defeating at times but there was no denying that watching the way the other team worked with the ball was inspiring. This team will undeniably be the best team we see all season long. All of the girls were grateful to have had such an opportunity to play against a team that challenged us above and beyond our typical competition. 

After the game, we were all given the day off for some final touring and shopping throughout Madrid.  The last day was bittersweet. The Spanish adventure and memories were coming to a close but the cold water, data plans, and American food were all so very close. The team went out that night for one last hoorah before having to depart at 4 a.m. for our first leg of the journey to America.

The travel day got off to a relatively smooth start, minus a bump or three. The day was quite hilarious to witness.  The entire team fell asleep on the flight from Madrid to Paris. Once all settled and well-fed in Paris, a decent amount of the girls choose to cuddle and nap on the airport floor.  Very interesting sight. 

Once we boarded, I was sat on the upper deck of the plane. Even though there is absolutely no noticeable difference between the upper and lower deck of an aircraft, I still found this idea absolutely exciting. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to have the entire row to myself allowing for an extra cozy flight.

After our second round of nearly 24 hours of traveling in two weeks, the team was ecstatic to be stateside. Our Spanish expedition was over it was anything but sad.  While that chapter came to a close another began, preseason and the beginning of preseason means a fall filled will excitement, anticipation, and the road to our second conference championship.

Thank you for reading about CUAWSOC and our journey across the Atlantic! Be sure to check back on us throughout the fall to see how our season is going!!

-Kelly Henderson Sr. #7

CUAWSOC: Madrid Edition
August 14, 2015

As one of our last days of our Spanish exploration comes to a close, I thought I would give a wrap-up of our past two days in Madrid.  To start, Madrid is just stunning.  The city is filled head to toe with the Spaniard culture, from the endless tapas restaurants to the ornamental detail of the buildings. Madrid perfectly blends the culture of the Old Spanish world into the new modern society.

On Thursday after our two-hour tour throughout the city, the team was given the opportunity to explore on our own for four hours.  While some of the girls stayed close to city center to shop and eat, Ava and I decided to venture further into the city.  For lunch, we sat down at a café that was 100 years old. The waiters wore tuxedos and the interior looked like it was straight out of the Titanic.  After lunch, we continued towards the Palace of the Royal Family of Madrid.  The palace is no longer used as the living and governing quarters for the city but rather is open for the public to tour and view.  Inside the quarters, the palace transforms from a building into a masterpiece.  Each room is decorated with different colors, details and biblical scenes so intricate that one cannot help but be left awestruck.

The following day, the team had their second stadium tour of the trip.  The stadium was Bernabéu, home of Real Madrid C.F.  Personally, I loved the tour and the stadium of Real Madrid better than that of F.C. Barcelona’s stadium.  The tour created a more interactive experience with video reels that gave us all chills and activities that really makes one feel as they are essential to the team’s ambience and success.   We walked along the field and were able to sit on the team’s bench, which was awesome.  Let’s just say that there bench seats are nice than most chairs I will ever sit in.  Also, the coaches were able to enjoy themselves and pretend as though they were coaching a Champions League professional team.  Not sure why, I’d definitely consider us a close second to a 32 time European league champion, but to each their own.

As the day comes to an end, the team is hanging out and relaxing in the hotel in order to prepare for our final international friendly before returning to the United States.  Our competition is a local professional team and will provided us with our hardest match yet.  After days of mental preparation and a practice this morning to work out a few flaws from the previous games, the team is determined and has a positive outlook and expectations for tomorrow’s game.

Thanks for reading about CUA women’s soccer journey throughout Spain! Check back in a few days for the final wrap up of our experience abroad!!

-Kelly Henderson Sr. #7

 

August 12, 2015

¡Hola! Boy oh boy has CUAWSOC had quite an eventful past few days.

This past Monday, we adventured out to the beautiful city of Girona. All the girls loved the city with its cute authentic shops, movie like window balconies, and the overall picturesque scenes of the city streets.  LP and I found our way up to one of the higher points along the old city wall and the views were absolutely breathtaking. We were able to see the entire town, the tower of the ancient cathedral, and how far the wall extended across the city. Truly amazing.

After some gelato and an early dinner, we made our way to our first international soccer game. On the bus ride and in the locker room, one could feel jitters and the excitement to play our first game of many this season. When the whistle blew, the road to CUA women's soccer first victory of the season has begun. With goals by Alexa, Kirsten, Andrea and Tess, the team had a 5-0 shutout completely denying the Spanish team in our first game of the week.

After a long day and night, the girls and I enjoyed our last beautiful Mediterranean beach day on Tuesday morning before heading out to tour the Camp Nou stadium, home of  F.C. Barcelona.  The stadium can hold up to 98,000 fans and hosts some of the world’s greatest soccer players such as Lionel Messi. 

We continued that night out into the Spanish country side to play our second international friendly. Immediately, we knew the game would not be as easy as the night before. We battled hard but ultimately the other team came out on top.  The game was a learning experience and what happened last night we will be able to take forward with us to help prepare ourselves for our final international match and our upcoming season.  One of the more positive aspects of the game was when Kirsten scored a perfectly executed goal, her second on the trip. 

Finally, after a nearly 12 hour travel day, we made it to our second destination of the trip, Madrid.  I'm so excited to be able to see the nation’s capital and all of its culture but I'm even more excited to finally be off that bus.  I may have slept for about 5 hours of the journey but cramming my 5'10" legs into a tiny bus seat was definitely not the most ideal way to catch up on sleep.  

Well, that's it for now. Check back in a few days to see how our trip to Madrid is going!! ¡Hasta Luego!

-Kelly Henderson Sr. #7

 

 

Day 1, or maybe 2, or wait is it the 3rd?
August 9, 2015 

After practically an eternity of traveling, CUA women’s soccer has finally arrived in Spain!  Landing around mid-afternoon to the lovely city of Barcelona, the team journeyed out to a beach town north of the city called Santa Susanna.  By the time we reached our home for the next four days, tiredness and delusion had very much set in.  What’s worse is that we were scheduled to have a late afternoon practice less than an hour after we arrived.  So, the very jetlagged women’s soccer team laced up and began our Spanish soccer adventure. 

Let me tell you, the thought of playing soccer after so much traveling seemed absolutely dreadful to us.  However, once our laggard legs started moving you could never tell that we had just traveled for twenty-four hours to a time zone six hours ahead.  The touches were precise, the movement was fluid and the energy, somehow, was renewed. Soccer practice as a blessing in disguise? Who would have thought?  With our newfound energy, a group of the girls ran straight to the beach and jumped right on in to the Mediterranean Sea. It was the perfect cool down for a steaming, hot practice.  

That night, we took it easy having a nice team dinner, experimenting with some of the Cataluña cuisine (the paella is just too delicious) and explored to the town of Santa Susanna, briefly.  Needless to say though, it was definitely an early night.  

This morning, we woke up and had an early practice with a retired professional soccer player.  Eyol, our trainer, played for the Espanyol club in the 80s anda 90s.  Once again, the jetlag and time change did not seem to phase the team’s energy and skills and the advice and coaching points Eyol gave our team were just phenomenal. 

Well, I’m absolutely starving and need to go grab some croquettes before heading off to our day trip to the city of Barcelona.  Since it will be majority of the team’s first time there, one can see the excitement the team has to sightsee and explore its culture.  Plus, we get are going to watch an Espanyol game, the club Eyol use to play for!

Check back in a few days for more updates on the CUAWSOC team’s Spanish expedition.  Because from the wise words of Kirsten Wosleger, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” 

-Kelly Henderson Sr. #7