Traveling to another country was not something that seemed possible for the Cabrini women’s soccer team. There was always talk about possibly doing a trip somewhere during summer 2008, but they knew it would be an immense amount of work and planning.
With miraculous fund raising over the past year, they made a dream become a reality. On Tuesday, Aug. 5, the team left the U.S. from Philadelphia International Airport and took flight in set of Sau Paulo, Brazil for a ten-day tour through parts of South America.
After a three-hour flight to Houston, a six-hour layover and a nine-hour overnight flight to Sao Paulo, the team finally arrived.
The first night the team had the opportunity to see a professional men’s soccer game. Santos played Atletico in the Santos stadium which is where Pele, the most famous soccer player in the world, played growing up. The stadium was packed with thousands of fans and the environment felt much like a U.S. football game.
“The atmosphere was crazy,” Denise Brumbach, senior special education major, said. “The fans were insane. When the home team scored, they lit fire and flares in the stadium.”
The following night, the team had their first indoor soccer game. In Brazil, most of the players play futbol, which is played indoors on a court similar to a basketball court with a smaller ball.
“Soccer was completely different to how we are used to playing here,” Jen Burke, senior elementary education major, said. “The Brazilians have a much better touch and move the ball a lot faster than we do from always playing in smaller spaces and indoors.”
“Brazilian soccer is the most beautiful in the world. It’s good for our players to see more creative play,” Ken Prothero, head women’s soccer coach, said. “They are not afraid to take chances and to attack one versus one. Our players in our country need to do more of that and it was good for them to see it.”
On the way to the next city, Sao Bento de Sapucai, the team stopped in the city of Sao Paulo to work and play with kids at a daycare center. The center, Cabrini Creche, is affiliated with Cabrini College and has kids from the ages of four months to 15 years old. While at the daycare, the players ate lunch, played games and exchanged gifts with the kids. Even though they all spoke Portuguese, the language barrier did not serve as an orphan.
“The orphanage really opened our eyes
to see how fortunate we are in the U.S. and the opportunities we have. It was a lot of fun working and playing with the little kids. We could tell they really appreciated us being there with them,” Burke said.
During their three days in Sao Bento, the team hiked up mountains to a farm, went horseback riding and visited a local artist. They also went to a men’s club game and played two soccer games. Unlike the first game, these were both played outside on a regular grass field.
The last stop for the soccer team was the island Ilha Grande. This final part of the trip was more relaxing and the players enjoyed it immensely. They went snorkeling and spent a lot of the time on the beach. One night, team had a Bar-B-Que on the docks of the island and another night they had a bonfire on the beach.
On the last day of the trip, the team traveled to Rio de Janiero. While there, they visited the “Christ the Redeemer” statue which is one of the seven manmade wonders of the world.
The team and coaches could not have been happier with the way the trip turned out. They are hoping that because of doing so many activities and playing together even before season, they will be a much stronger team for this season and it will help aid in the success they hope to have.
“This trip was extremely important, especially this season, given the opportunity and chances, we are going to need to win the conference. It was the perfect way to bring the team together and bond,” Jess Huda, assistant women’s soccer coach, said.
“It was definitely a great bonding experience,” Brianna Connor, sophomore secondary education major, said. “It brought our team so much closer together which will definitely show when we play together this season.”