Mountaineers wrap up spring break trip to Spain
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 01:04
Traveling overseas and experiencing another culture is something that everyone needs to experience.
The West Virginia women’s soccer team was fortunate enough to do just that while making a nine-day trip to Spain over spring break.
The Mountaineers departed Morgantown March 24 and returned April 1st.
They split their time in Spain between Madrid and Barcelona and were able to watch professional games, tour some of the world’s largest stadiums, as well as train and participate in exhibition games themselves.
"Anytime you go over and play in an international arena, you get a different appreciation for the game of soccer," said head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "Especially when you go into Spain, they’re so focused on the technical ability and the passing. That was something apparent for our team to see. I think it opened our eyes to how much soccer is a part of their entire lifestyle."
Izzo-Brown set a goal before the team left that it would improve both culturally and as a soccer team while overseas. She feels that goal was achieved.
"They definitely were able to walk away from it knowing what the culture of Spain was and just the appreciation of what everyday life is like being a Spaniard compared to being the United States," Izzo-Brown said.
Perhaps one of the most memorable parts of the trip was touring FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium. The stadium is one of the largest in the world, as it can hold 120,000 fans.
"I think for us to be able to see that stadium and the trophy rooms and the understanding of the history— it’s just unbelievable," Izzo-Brown said. "You get some chills just walking out in a 120,000-seat soccer stadium in Barcelona."
As for the exhibition games, the Mountaineers finished with a record of 3-1. Sophomore forward Frances Silva scored all six West Virginia goals during the week.
"Frances was on fire. She’s starting to make strides now entering her junior year," Izzo-Brown said. "I believe very strongly that Frances is ready to take on that leadership role."
Injuries have been something that has forced Izzo-Brown and her staff to play many young and inexperienced players this spring. But, it is beginning to pay off. The younger players are now progressing and have avoided making the errors that were made earlier in the spring.
"As a coach, you’re always pleased that you’re playing your best soccer at the end," Izzo-Brown said. "I think every day the young players are getting better. I am pleased that some of the mistakes we made early in the season, we’re not making now."