April 30, 2014
As students are taking their final exams and gearing down for the end of a school year, the Indiana State University soccer team is revving up for an adventure in Morocco.
The team leaves Sunday for its first international excursion, to play in a tournament organized by a university there. The women -- still in a state of euphoric disbelief -- have been busy researching the North African country, buying electrical adaptors and figuring out the currency exchange rate.
"Wow. We're going to be in Morocco at the end of this semester! We're rolling off of finals and going to Morocco, which is unbelievable," said Kylie Sumner, a sophomore from Cincinnati. "We've worked extremely hard. The past two years, we've been to the MVC championship. Everything we've done has made us be able to get this trip. Not a lot of teams get that opportunity."
The team learned of the news a few months ago when Coach Erika True held them a few minutes longer after a routine spring practice.
"First off, I thought we were in trouble. I always think we're in trouble when Coach has to talk to us longer," said Brittany San Roman, a freshman from Glenview, Ill. "Then, I thought she was pulling a joke on us. (But) the seniors were like, ‘Nope, we're actually going.' My mind was just blown -- this is my first year -- it's a great opportunity, so I'm really excited."
Some players said they were concerned how jet lag or a new environment might affect their performance, but with a recovery day built into the schedule, they should be fine.
"Once we step on the field, we'll zone in like we always do," said Kayla Welch, a freshman from St. Charles, Mo.
Any language barrier shouldn't matter, said San Roman, who is the goalie and hears lots of indeterminable yelling every game.
"Half the time, I don't know what they're saying anyways, so I don't think it'll make much difference," she said. "My goal is to go out there and show we can play with people around the world. It's not that we can only play in our conference, with people from around here. I don't want to go out there and lose 5-0. I want to go out there and show we came to play."
As the tournament's honored guests, the team will participate in the opening and closing ceremonies and then spend a few days sightseeing.
"In the U.S., soccer is a big sport, but in other countries, it's a bigger sport," said Katrine Baker, a junior from Las Vegas. "I think it's going to be really cool to see how they are passionate about it and see the different play as well. Each country has its different kinds of play, when it comes to soccer skills, and I think it's going to be a challenge for us and be really good for us, going into the next fall season."
Some of the players, such as Baker who is fluent in French, have travelled extensively; this experience is the first trip abroad for many of them.
"We all want to do the camel rides, because it's Africa. I don't know if we'll be able to do that or not, but I've heard the beaches are really pretty," Sumner said.
So, how do the underclassmen plan on topping this experience next year? "Winning the MVC Championship -- that's how we're going to top it!" said San Roman, without missing a beat.
"This team has a gift for making memories out of the smallest stuff, so something like this will be something we will have forever," she said. "We'll come back in like 10 years and say, ‘Remember that time in Morocco?' We'll be talking to the kids that come in next year and say, ‘Tsk ... you weren't there.'"
Photos: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Sports/Soccer/Soccer-team-practice-for/i-z4ktKBT/0/X2/04_23_14_MBA_Soccer-6069-X2.jpg -- The Indiana State University soccer team and coaches pose for a team portrait on April 23, 2014.http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Sports/Soccer/Soccer-team-practice-for/i-kDpF5Cg/0/X2/04_23_14_MBA_Soccer-6048-X2.jpg -- The Indiana State University soccer team practices in advance of their trip to Morocco, May 4-14.
Contact: Erika True, head coach of Indiana State women's soccer, 812-237-7738 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Contact: Libby Roerig, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or email@example.com
The team will participate in a tournament and then spend a few days sightseeing.