The University of Minnesota soccer program is set to take a trip to Italy from March 10-18. The program aims to do an international trip every four years, giving student-athletes an opportunity to see the world.
GopherSports.com revisted with the last group of student-athletes to travel with the soccer program. Josee Stiever, a 2017 graduate, traveled with the team to Spain while she was with the Gophers. She shares some of her experiences on the trip, and what the current team, and anyone, can expect when they travel across the Atlantic.
You can follow the Gophers 2018 trip to Italy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The team will have opportunities to play against Italian teams along with visiting some of the biggest landmarks the country has to offer and it will all be captured on either our social platform or GopherSports.com.
GopherSports.com: Tell us about what you remember most from the trip to Spain.
Josee Stiever: I'm still so grateful for all of the donors who helped our team take an international trip. For many different reasons, it is one of my highlights from being a Gopher! One of my favorite memories was traveling to Montserrat, a monestary set in the mountains near Barcelona. It was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen.
GS: What can something like an overseas trip do for a team?
JS: While the overseas trips have great on field value, I think the team benefits more from the off the field experiences. I went to Spain as a freshman with seven other girls in my class. The trip helped me get closer to my own class as well as the upperclassmen. I think an overseas trip is the best thing a program can do as far as team bonding and creating chemistry. Exploring and navigating a foreign country together is so special and I'm really happy that this Gopher team gets to do to experience it!
GS: What can something like an overseas trip do for an individual?
JS: The Spain trip was my first overseas experience. Since then, I have been to Europe three more times including a playing stint in Sweden. This trip sparked my interest for both travel and professional soccer. Playing professional clubs in Spain gave me a taste of what professional soccer looks like in Europe.
GS: Did you play any soccer teams while you were over there? How did those go for you and the team? What are some of the differences in how soccer is played there?
JS: We played three games while in Spain and attended an FC Barcelona game at Camp Nou. The atmosphere at the professional game was one that I will never forget. I hope that soccer continues to grow in popularity in the states and attract crowds like the professional teams in Europe do.
GS: What were some of the more memorable spots/sights?
JS: We packed in a lot of sightseeing during our trip. Some of my favorite spots were Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia, and Montserrat. We usually had some free time during the evening to walk down Las Ramblas, the main street in Barcelona, and stop at the markets and shops.
GS: What was the best dish you had while overseas? Is the food in Europe as good as everyone claims it to be?
JS: We ate a lot of tapas in Spain! There was also churros and chocolate place right next to our hotel. I remember ending up there on more than one occasion!
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