Women’s soccer squad enjoys German adventure
by Mark Adkins ’90
Six days in Germany and two days in the Netherlands in late April provided members of the 2006 Wartburg women’s soccer team a first-hand look at history, a new culture and their beloved sport.
“Soccer is so much bigger over there,” said Katelin Gannon ’08 of Davenport. “As an example, one of the teams we played made it to the European Cup final earlier this year. The players are so aggressive. They send five or six players at a time to the net offensively. We do that to some degree but not on every chance like they do.”
Wartburg ended 0-3 on the exhibition match portion of the excursion, falling to European Cup finalists FFC Frankfurt and two other local club teams.
Despite not scoring a goal in the matches, head coach Jim Conlon saw his team grow on and off the field. “The most pleasing part of the trip was how our players grew in their knowledge of history and culture,” he explained. “That’s what this was all about. It was nice to be able to play matches against some top-notch European competition, but the overall on and off the field experience was very important.”
Co-captain Kristin Beck ’07 of Bettendorf believes the German experience adds a key team chemistry component to this fall’s collegiate campaign.
“We had a meeting on the bus after our last exhibition match, and we all agreed the value we’ve gotten out of practicing in the spring and playing exhibition matches against strong competition will help us for next year,” she said. “This can’t end with this trip. Nobody else in the Iowa Conference played overseas, so we feel like we have just those few more steps ahead of them in being prepared.”
Off the field, the Knights visited the Wartburg Castle, a World War II concentration camp and several other historical sites. They also attended a German professional soccer league match.
“The history side of the trip was awesome,” Gannon said. “To be in castles older than our country gives you a real perspective on the rest of the world. I’ve been overseas twice before, but every time you go somewhere different, the different cultures are something you add to your life story.”
“It was just great to do something like this as a team,” Beck added. “I feel like we are much closer for the experience we had, and I’m very appreciative to coach Conlon for making it happen.”