For the first time in Emerson women’s soccer team history, a preseason trip was added to the schedule. The team traveled to the Netherlands to advance their knowledge of and skills in the game.
This trip was for returning players only—freshman and transfer players were added into the preseason routine once the team returned to Boston. The participants consisted of eight seniors, four juniors and four sophomores.
“I was really thankful, as a senior, to be able to go on the first trip,” said visual and media arts major Christine White.
Even though it was a trip based on preparing for the season, a little fun was also had, according to sophomore Alex Levin.
“Our coach [David Suvak] really wanted to make it happen this year because we have a really big senior class,” said the marketing communication major. “Basically, he designed a trip around soccer, but we got to do a lot of different things.”
Suvak is hopeful the team can do more travel in the future, based on the success of this year’s preseason.
“I think [NCAA] rules-wise, we can do a preseason trip like this every [four] years, so the current freshman class would have an opportunity to do this trip [after they graduate],” said Suvak. “The idea is in play and we will be doing everything to do that trip again.”
According to midfielder White, the skills developed while training with the coach of the Dutch national team—KNVB, or the Royal Dutch Football Association—was the most influential part of the trip.
“He brought to our knowledge a side of the game that as Americans we don’t really think about,” said White. “They focus more on the technical side instead of the athletic and physical side, which I think helped a lot because it improved our passing, our communicating with one another, and our movement off the ball.”
For Levin, a defender, the most memorable part was being able to experience new things with her team.
“I really just loved doing it all with my team—it was so much fun, we laughed so much,” said Levin. “Seeing how well we played with all of those months off was really awesome and made us so much more excited for the season.”
The team stayed in a renovated cottage in the countryside, held two-a-day practices, took a canal tour of Amsterdam, experienced two training sessions with KNVB, visited a cheese and clog factory, stopped at the Anne Frank house, took a tour of the Dutch AJAX stadium, and arrived home with a record of 3-0, according to White.
After preseason officially began on Aug. 19, the team saw the benefits of their trip.
“Playing for a week before coming into preseason allowed us to get our nerves out, so when we came in for preseason here, we were really ready to go, we were fit and healthy,” said White. “We are where we need to be to start our season and to excel.”
The Lions went 6-11-1 last year, with a 3-7 record in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference play. With 11 new players on the roster, Levin said she hopes the trip will help them to see more success this season.
“I don’t think we were as close last year as we are this year. I feel like different people bonded over the trip and everyone got closer,” said Levin. “We brought that back and it helped bring the new players into what we built in the Netherlands.”