The Hobart soccer team was traveling abroad in Germany, Holland and Belgium. The team was spending its time abroad sightseeing, training and playing against European youth club teams. The Statesmen have been sharing updates throughout the trip. This article contains the August 7-8th update for the European soccer excersion.
Day three of the tour brought much fun and excitement. Through our professional translator, James Hull, as well as the antics of senior captains Tyler Serafine and Kyle Herod, we have befriended a local youth club from Detmold. After some intense, but always friendly foosball matches, Hobart and Detmold have developed a great relationship. They came and supported our first match, and in return, we watched the U11 group play in their match the following day.
A tour of Signal Iduna Arena (home of Borussia Dortmund) was the first part of another exciting day. The team got to see the largest stadium in Germany and feel the “Echte Liebe” – real love.
Following the tour, we were off to the town of Siegen to see a DFB Pokal first round game between Darmstadt (Bundesliga club) and Erndtebrück (fourth division). The small stadium was almost completely filled with 8,000 supporters, providing a fantastic atmosphere for our first professional soccer match abroad.
Saturday brought another game for the Statesmen, this time against SuS Kaiserau. The team was led by Herod as well as strong midfield play from seniorTJ Kazubski. Junior JP White put in another strong performance up top, working hard to keep possession and act as our dangerous target man. Junior Joe Busuttil opened the scoring with an absolute cracker from 30 yards out that beat the opposing keeper. Later in the first half, Herod scored his third career international goal on a corner courtesy of sophomore Clint Dunn. Kaiserau struck back to make it 2-1 and the game suddenly became a lot closer. The real turning point in the match came in the second half when White drew a penalty for the Statesmen. He cooly stepped up the mark and buried the “elf-meter.” Not going down easy, the home side themselves drew a penalty that they also converted. The final whistle blew and the Statesmen came away again victorious, 3-2.
After the game, we were transported to Cologne to see another DFB Pokal match, Viktoria Köln vs Union Berlin. The American Bobby Wood and his Union Berlin squad were heavily favored against fourth division Viktoria Köln. Yet the underdogs pulled off the 2-1 home victory. The club gained about 27 more American supporters, and we are all now contemplating naming our daughters Viktoria.
The team is currently enjoying its second German city, staying in a hotel in Düsseldorf. Tomorrow we get to work with coaches from FC Köln as well as see the beautiful city of Cologne.
Of the overall trip so far, Coach Griffin stated, “It’s been a very positive experience from the cultural and athletic point of view. We’ve seen some outstanding scenes here. And most importantly, we’ve gotten the ability to give a bunch of guys quality time on the field.”