Women’s soccer: the Portugal experience

By Howard Blake III
December 12, 2014

With another successful season under their belt, the Cabrini women’ s soccer team took a trip to Portugal during the offseason. While there, the Lady Cavs experienced a new land and culture, competed in games and hosted soccer clinics for underprivileged youth.

The Lady Cavs saw their first game action against FC Castrense on June 29. Unfortunately they fell to FC Castrense 4-3.

“The competition was great. In Portugal they play a different style of soccer compared to us,” Gabby Meck, senior psychology major, said.“The game was definitely a faster pace, considering all everyone in Portugal does is play soccer so our team had to do some adjusting but it was very beneficial for us to play against teams like that.”

Coach Ken Prothero had a similar outlook on the match up against FC Castrense. He kept a daily journal on their journey overseas where he made it clear that he thought his team was evenly matched to their opponent.

But he felt as though FC Castrense had a slight upper hand with their style of play.

“Both teams were pretty equal and either squad could have won,” Prothero said, “However, their style of play was very different from US teams with a great deal of passing in the back, which they obviously learned from watching a great deal of high level soccer – still a weakness on our side of the pond.”

The trip was more than just games for the Cavaliers however, it was a learning experience and a way to give back. After the game against FC Castrense, both teams decided to join together for dinner.

“We had to communicate with one another regardless of the language barrier which was pretty interesting to be a part of,” Meck said.

According to coach Prothero it was not hard to have both sides come together as one during the dinner.

“After initially sitting in two separate groups, the Castrense coach and I had them mix up. With plenty of chicken, port, veggies, sangria, soda (+ an orange drink that was kind of like soda), the players started to communicate with each other, “ Prothero said. “Soccer and food were languages that all the players easily shared. Lots of laughs and pictures.”

The Blue and White gave back to the local orphaned youth in the area by hosting two soccer clinics. Meck and her teammates took a new outlook on how fortunate they really are by living in the United States.

“In America sometimes we take things for granted and being in another part of the world puts that in perspective for you,” Meck said.“They enjoyed every minute we were with them. We actually gave them soccer balls to keep and they formed lines and had us autograph the balls at the end of the clinic. It just shows you how thankful they truly are for the little things in life.”

Portugal was a time for the Lady Cavs to not only enhance their teamwork on and off the field, but to expand their sense of culture.

“I feel that our team has always been very close and supportive of one another so going away to Portugal together was just another opportunity for us to all spend time together and enjoy a wonderful experience as a team,” Meck said.

With the season under way, the Lady Cavs are the pre-season coaches’ poll favorite to repeat as CSAC champions. Let’s see if this unforgettable experience helps the Blue and White return to CSAC champion form.


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Howard Blake III

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