The Hobart College soccer team is headed to Germany, Holland and Belgium from Aug. 4-14 where they’ll spend time training, sightseeing and playing against European club teams. The Statesmen will play a total of five matches against top level European teams in Kamen and Dortmund, Germany as well as Amsterdam and Zedelgem, Belgium. The team will also train with professional European soccer coaches.
“I have been looking forward to this trip ever since my senior year of high school, when I committed to play soccer at Hobart,” says defender Joseph Escamilla ’18. “This will be my first time in Europe and I wouldn’t want to spend it with anyone else other than my team. It’s going to be a trip that we will talk about for many years to come.”
Escamilla says American soccer is far different than European soccer, or futbol. “I expect us to be able to match up with the Europeans athletically in terms of strength and speed, but I also expect their technical abilities, ball control, passing patterns, finishing, etc., to be a little more advanced than ours. It will be exciting to see how well we match up with their style of play.”
Teammate and fellow defender Tyler Niles ’16 looks forward to learning and enhancing his technical play while abroad. “The experience will help us understand where we are as a team before the season starts,” he says. “It will also give us some confidence going into the season knowing we have had 10 extra days of training and play.”
In addition to the focus on skill development and team building, the Statesmen will also learn about the culture of the countries they are visiting. Plans include touring professional soccer stadiums and historic sites in each country and taking a Rhine River boat cruise.
“Part of our itinerary includes visiting Signal Iduna Park, the stadium that German soccer powerhouse Borrusia Dortmund plays their home games,” notes Escamilla. “I will definitely be leaving the stadium with some souvenirs.” Niles is looking forward to experiencing European soccer culture and perhaps a visit to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam.
“Spending time together as a team helps with team chemistry,” says Escamilla. “Relationships with your teammates off of the field directly impact how well (or how poorly) you perform on the field. The fact that we are all embarking on this journey together will bring us closer as a team.”
Niles agrees. “We are already a really close-knit team but this will be a great transition for us to get together before preseason and have some quality time with one another.”
“In my time here at Hobart, this will be the program’s fourth trip abroad, and the value of this experience is immeasurable, from the team building and soccer development to the educational and cultural experience,” says Head Coach Shawn Griffin. “The trip abroad experience comes up every Alumni Weekend from the players who went on these trips stating that it was just one of the many great highlights they experienced in their time here at Hobart.”
Visit hwsathletics.com in the coming weeks for more coverage of the Statesmen’s European trip.