Image Courtesy of CUA Athletics
By Alannah Murphy
The Catholic University women’s soccer team started their preseason in Germany, where they competed from August 7th- 15th. During their trip, the team visited many cities, such as Munich, Bavaria, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, and Rothenberg as well as Salzburg, Austria.
Junior captain and center midfield Katarina Bauer said her favorite part was visiting Salzburg Austria.”
This was my favorite city of the trip because of its rich history, amazing architecture, and beautiful views,” Bauer said. “It was unlike any other experience I have ever had. We played at great facilities and were treated with amazing hospitality by the soccer clubs.”
While overseas the team took opportunities to learn about the culture and history of the areas they traveled to. They had “a moving educational day at the Dachau concentration camp,” according to Sommers.
According to the women’s head coach, Casey Sommers, the team was able to travel to Germany because the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) allows athletic programs to travel abroad once every four years. Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at the Catholic University of America have taken advantage of that opportunity. The men’s soccer team went to Portugal last summer, and according to Sommers, the women’s soccer team has gone to Portugal and England in previous years.
“We chose August to extend our preseason but some programs choose to go during other breaks in the school year,” said Sommers.
While in Germany and Austria, the team had the opportunity to play other soccer teams which included FC Bergheim, MTV Dießen, and TSG Hoffenheim. Senior captain and outside back Lauren Cerda said playing against German and Austrian opponents was “a great experience.”
Cerda gave her comments about her experience playing in Germany.
“It was nice to have a common ground, a shared love, and knowledge of soccer, while in such a new environment that none of us were familiar with the language or culture,” Cerda said “Each team we played had varying skill levels, all of which were a good test for us to learn our team identity and build team chemistry.”
Bauer said playing these teams “was challenging” but also “a great learning experience and an opportunity to become better players.”
“We faced some tough conditions during the first game playing through a storm, won our second game by scoring beautiful goals, and fought hard against a team in the top league of German Women’s soccer,” said Bauer.
Bauer, Cerda, and Sommers agree that the trip helped the team grow closer. “The trip really helped the team grow closer, make new memories, and start putting in hard work to prepare for our season,” said Bauer.
The team looks forward to any future opportunities to travel to another country. “There are a lot of great places to visit with competitive women’s soccer,” said Sommers.
“We faced a lot of adversity during the trip between long travel days, missed connection flights, and lost luggage, but never once did our team lose our character,” Cerda said. “We always found a way to crack a joke and lighten the mood and kept pushing forward to make an overall enjoyable experience abroad. I am sure that this resilient spirit will continue through the season in tough games and busy schedules with class and practices and I look forward to showcasing the improvements we have made as a team through our individual and collective hard work during this summer and preseason.”