Soccer and adventure, in the shadow of the Alps
Women's soccer team took the trip of a lifetime to Bavaria in Germany and on to Switzerland and its majestic Alps to visit picture-postcard villages, tour castles older than the U.S. and compete on soccer fields tucked into hillsides rimmed by snow-capped peaks.
Imagine the trip of a lifetime to Bavaria in Germany and on to Switzerland and its majestic Alps. You ride a cable car to the Jungfraujoch, known as the top of Europe, where you go snow tubing, ziplining and gliding. You visit picture-postcard villages, tour castles older than the U.S. and compete on soccer fields tucked into hillsides rimmed by snow-capped peaks.
Oh, and you do it all with your very best friends.
The Green Terror women’s soccer team didn’t need to imagine – they lived it, thanks to coach Sandy Lagana. Every three years, so that every team member experiences a trip somewhere, Lagana takes her team on a trip abroad. They visited Costa Rica in 2013 and Spain in 2016. They immerse in the cultures of the teams they play, and often both teams get together for dinner and camaraderie after the match.
Alp-laced memories of shared laughter and awe almost make those early morning pre-season workouts on McDaniel’s soccer field enjoyable and certainly fuel the team’s game-day fire.
“This trip was even more than I could have imagined,” says Lagana of their 10 days in Europe. “We loved sharing these adventures together and experiencing cultures we’ve only read about. It’s really unique to take the field against another team that speaks a different language.
“I see it bring so much joy to this team and it makes all of the planning and fund raising worth it.”
Even the game of soccer took on new dimensions as the women competed with club or recreational teams from the towns they visited.
“The players were speaking another language so we really didn’t know what they were saying,” says senior Biology major Kaylee Holliger of Forest Hill, Md. “And that was really interesting because we had no hint of what they might do next in the game.”
Off the field, they traveled to Munich and to the old university town of Tübingen and a cruise on the River Neckar. While in Tübingen they went to nearby Rottenburg for a match with the club team there.
After a match with FC Kuenssnacht in Switzerland, they were treated to dinner with the Kuenssnacht players bringing sides, desserts and an eagerness to socialize and learn about their American opponents.
Surrounded by 360-degree breathtaking views, they savored lunch on a glacier and the sound of snow crunching beneath their shoes as they explored villages of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen — and training at a local pitch in Wengen.
Despite the words they use to describe the adventure — Awesome. Magnificent. Energizing. Inspiring. — it is a story best told in the images they brought home with them: