Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Final Thank You from Coach Phil Pincince

What an amazing trip! From the words of Tina Turner: “Simply the Best, Better than all the Rest!”
An adventure filled with soccer, culture, education and fun; the experience and its memories will last a lifetime for everyone that traveled on this 2011 European Trip. I wanted this European Tour to be the best trip we have ever put together as this team had been through so much adversity and sadness early on this year. I think we accomplished this.

After landing at Boston's Logan Airport on July 3rd I recall waiting by the baggage carousel and quickly reflecting on the last 16 days... this trip was awesome!  Without a doubt it was the best European trip a Brown Team has ever been on. The best part of the trip for me was seeing the players smile. To see them happy, bonding with each other and experiencing every day to its fullest. And let's not forget that we went 4-0 playing soccer.  "Brown Women's Soccer - 2011 - On a Mission"

I want to thank the following people...
Michael Goldberger - Athletic Director for approving our 2011 European Trip
Joan Taylor - Associate Athletic Director for handling all the Ivy League paper work for the trip
Joe Austin – Equipment Room Manager for taking care of all our equipment needs prior to leaving

To Dream Team Italy
Ivan Molteni – Co-Owner of Dream Team and my contact for the last two years in planning our trip
Elena Pedretti
Our Tour Guide for the entire trip
Massi  - Our bus driver for the entire trip

Luis Faria and Brian Pincince – My two Assistant Coaches who were very helpful with anything that needed to be done prior and during our trip
Shelley Lundin - Our trainer for keeping us healthy
Laura Almeida'06 from the Brown Sports Foundation  and Teresa Abrahamsohn '85, Co-President of the women's soccer friends group, for co-writing the fantastic blog for our trip

And last but not least I want to thank an anonymous friend & their family  for their loyalty and support of the Brown Women's Soccer Program; without their generosity this trip would not have been possible.

Thank You!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What a Trip - the Brown Women's Team Reflects...

Over our 16 day trip we traveled many miles via airplane, bus, boat, bike, and foot visiting five countries (if you count our short trip through Austria on the way to Germany).  Along the way we each experienced many things.  Laura Almeida ’06 and Teresa Abrahamsohn ‘85 (the blog writers) have tried to capture the experiences of the team.  We thought that it would be great for you to hear directly from each member of the team in their own words what their favorite memory and/or thought was on the trip.

As we sat in the Frankfurt airport waiting for our flight to depart, we asked each member of the team to jot down her thoughts.  Here they are in no particular order.  Enjoy!

  • I wish I could spend every morning the way I did on our last date in Portovenere.  Mika, Ali Mullin, and I woke up early in the morning to walk to a 12th century church high up on the edge of a cliff.  Our plans of swimming were almost cancelled because of the temperature so early in the morning, but when we came across the perfect cove behind the walls of the church we knew we had to.  The water was surprisingly warm and we were sad to leave in order to get back to the hotel.  It was a perfect way to end our time in the Cinque Terra region.  – Kiersten Berg #14

  • My favorite experience was catching the train through the Swiss Alps.  The vast amount of untouched land was breathtaking.  It was a different kind of beautiful that I’m used to, especially coming from Hawaii.  In every city we visited, the architecture and culture possessed so much history that I could never experience in the states.  This was truly an experience I will never forget, and I hope to relive it again the future.  – Erika Lum #30

  • My two favorite memories are cliff diving in Cinque Terre and listening to Massi’s many “speeches” on the bus. –Ali Mullin #9

  • All things Italy. Loved the food, the people, the atmosphere, and the scenery! I could live without their soccer style though, and the refs J. The boat tour where we hopped from different villages of Cinque Terre was so fun and our hotel in Portovenere was AMAZING! Loved the memories that were made at that hotel… - Gloria Chun #12

  • My favorite place was Cinque Terre, Italy.  I loved the gorgeous villages and had so much fun cliff diving and swimming. Another favorite: Massi’ pregame speech, “No win, no bus.” - Jo Price #7

  • Cinque Terre may just be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Great weather, beautiful water (perfect for swimming), and the cutest little seaside towns! The USA vs. Columbia game was also an awesome time. All of us decked out in red white and blue cheering like crazy AND we got to see Mia Hamm. Well done Europe, well done… - MC Barrett #1

  • The day that stands out most in my memory is our first real day in Cinque Terre and that morning of free exploration. Experiencing an Italian coastal city on your own terms and immersing oneself in the local culture was more fantastic than one could imagine. Watching the harbor evolve from a pallet of pale pastels of a quiet town, to a colorful and vibrant bustling coastal city, the warm Italian waters, and a city steeped in history, it was a day that will not be forgotten.  - Diana “Di” Ohrt #19

  • There are too many unforgettable memories to choose from but one of my favorites was first arriving in Paris and being amazed by the beautiful architecture, the top of the Eiffel Tower, and the many crepes with nutella. The train we took through the Swiss Alps was also incredible, and I just enjoyed spending all this time with my teammates and exploring each new city together.  - Amber Bledsoe #20

  • One of my favorite memories was sitting on the dock at St. Moritz with my teammates, facing the lake with our feet in the water and the best food in my belly. Also, listening to Mia Hamm speak.  - Louisa Pitney #10

  • I remember running down the streets of Germany with a few other girls and noticing how different the architecture was in comparison to the other cities we had visited. I remember turning, running into a park and beginning to hear music, so eventually we followed it and found a huge fair. There were all sorts of small shops where people sold spices, sauces, corn on the cob, jewelry and weird, wooden objects. I loved how such a spectacular thing was so hidden inside the park and how many different and interesting people we saw walking around it. - Emily Wingrove #17

  • One of my favorite memories from the trip was the bike tour of Munich. From Rob’s out of line comments to high-speed races against the other group, it was a pretty hilarious and fun way to see the city. The guys surfing on the river and the beer garden we stopped at were both really cool. Also interesting was watching Emily Wingrove struggle to steer her bike on city streets. - Eliza Marshall #8

  • Cinque terra maintains the most vivid imagery in my memory of BWS Europe trip 2011. As I sat on the Mediterranean coastal rocks watching my teammates cliff dive, I finally registered we were on a trip of our lifetimes. Not only had we grown and experienced individually, but we have grown closer and experienced as a team- something that cannot be forgotten. - Alexa Ellis #3.  

  • Paris, Je T’aime! I must say, I may have fallen in love…with Paris that is. Although, the bronzed Italian men glistening with their sun-kissed skin in Cinque Terra posed some major competition, nothing beat the Greek Gods as they stood upright in all of their glory inside the Louvre museum. Being lost in the Louvre really ain’t that bad. Oh the memories, casually checking out the Mona Lisa…river rafting in the French Alps by day and swimming in the Mediterranean by night sure does beat the 9-5…It really is a hard life! – Katie Rushton # 27

  • Choosing a favorite place among all the beautiful cities we visited on this trip, each with their unique personalities, is certainly is a difficult task. However, I have to say France, especially Paris, holds a special place in my heart. Portovenere in Italy was also quite a sight; I have never seen anything quite like it. As for my favorite moment on this trip, I really enjoyed Tollwood in Munich which was a carnival held at a walking distance from our hotel. I felt that I truly experienced the local culture: browsing variety of authentic shops, tasting local foods and listening to catchy songs from German bands playing on stage. – Sarah Hebert-Seropian #6

  • My favorite place we traveled to was Portovenere.  Before we left the city, a few of us woke up early to go swimming in a cove beneath a church from the 1200s.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  I also enjoyed taking the ferry to various cities in Cinque Terre.  –Mika Siegelman #16

  • I loved Italy.  Everything about Italy was beautiful, visiting the coastal towns, walking through the big cities, and even driving through the country sides.  My favorite place on this trip was the boat ride in Cinque Terre to Riomaggiore.  The coastal town of Riomaggiore made me feel like I was one of the locals.  Going into the town “grocery” store and walking through the neighborhoods, it gave me the feel of integration I wanted.  Although I loved Italy the most, my favorite memory was in Germany, during our stay in Munich.  Going to one of the local festivals, Tollwoods, was a great way for me to immerse myself into the local culture.  The music was awesome, just like the food. -Allie Kagawa #35

  • Seeing Munich on a bike tour was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Our tour guide gave us an entertaining and honest tour of the whole city. Realizing that much of Munich had to be rebuilt while some areas were spared was a unique experience for me. We also familiarized ourselves with the best part of Germany—“prosting” with friends. - Mary Lesbirel #15

  • This is a difficult question to answer. Each and every time the team loaded the bus to make our way to the next location the entire team would be brooding and declare that we all wished we could have stayed longer. This trip was just that good. I especially loved Cinque Terre, Italy… but that could just be due to the fact that we found an excellent cliff diving spot.  Florence and Munich are also on my list of favorites. The beauty and the history of Europe is in and of itself something special; but I was lucky enough to have shared it with 19 of my best friends. -Rachael Pack #11

  • Europe. It seems that every time I leave this wonderful continent I leave a piece of my heart behind. From its enchanting mountains, to its still blue waters, to its rich history, each country is unique and every city we visited was amazing. My fondest memory of this trip will be our visit to Cinque Terre, Italy. Something about the Mediterranean lifestyle is soothing and relaxing that can only be experienced and not explained. The boat cruise that allowed us to visit each of the medieval port cities, cliff jump, eat endless gelato, climb rocks, and compare each others’ sunburns were all small parts to a memorable day. Above anything else on this trip, I am thankful for having had the opportunity to end my Brown soccer career experiencing Europe with my teammates for the last time. As a graduated senior faced with the real world, I will always cherish the memories created during the Brown Women’s Soccer Europe Trip 2011. -Joyce Chun #21

  • I could not have asked for a more exciting, enjoyable culmination to my four years at Brown.  I am so happy and thankful to think back on our polite efforts to eat the mysterious sausage offered to us as a traditional dish in Lyon, our breakfasts on the hotel balcony overlooking the calm waters and pastel-colored buildings of Portovenere, the small parade of local townspeople and children dressed in costumes that welcomed us onto the field before our first match in Levanto…I’ll never forget our team’s bus-ride preparations for the US Women’s National Team World Cup Match on our final day—painting faces (including those of Elena and Massi, our beloved tour guide and bus driver), making braided headbands, using temporary tattoos…Our creativity, team spirit, patriotism, and good looks (of course) sure attracted the attention of other spectators.  The aunt of US national team member and player of the game, Carli Lloyd, told us that she would hang pictures of our group in her kitchen!  -Katie Gannett #32       

  • My favorite experience from the trip happened on our last day in Germany.  We were watching USA vss Columia in the World Cup live when the coaching staff offered to buy the graduating seniors a beer each.  For me, the drink represented the end of four years of hard work and unforgettable memories. IT was a delicious acknowledgement of our dedication and passion.  I can’t think of a better way to part from Brown Women’s Soccer than watching a professional game, in Germany, while sharing a round with my fellow seniors.  Thanks to the staff, and a special thanks to the team.  I will miss you all deeply!  FSU next season.  – Gina Walker #34

  • I really enjoyed going to the top of the Eiffel tower on our first day and seeing the spectacular view of Paris. Rach, Lex, Jojo, and I ran down the spiral staircases for more than half of the tower and loved watching the city spin around us. Every day was such an experience; I hope to go back to several of the cities we visited, especially Cinque Terre and St. Moritz.  – Carly Ruiz #5

  • My favorite memory of the trip was visiting Cinque Terre, Italy. Seeing the quaint town, eating the fresh fruit, and swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean was so special and very beautiful. Jumping off the 30 foot cliffs into the beautiful water with the locals was something so incredible and an experience I'll never forget.  - Maddie Weiner #25
We think the players summed up the trip quite well.  It was a wonderful trip for everyone and best of all it was a great bonding trip for the team and terrific way to prepare for the upcoming 2011 season.  The blog might be over but you can continue to follow the team through, especially if you are not able to attend the games in person. 

So long Europe!  Au revoir, Arrivederci, Auf Wiedersehen!

Thanks for following us!

Ever True,
Teresa Abrahamsohn '85 and Laura Almeida '06

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 15 - USA vs. Columbia

Day 15 began quietly – everyone had free time to spend in Frankfurt as they pleased before lunch that was being served at 12:30 p.m. Beginning at 7:00 a.m., there was an elaborate breakfast buffet being served in the hotel. There was every type of breakfast treat including eggs, bacon, sausage, crepes, omelets, bread, meat, fruit and then the not so familiar breakfast foods such as miso soup, sushi, and rice noodles. The group entered at their leisure and almost everyone took advantage. Since this was one of the longest mornings the group had to themselves some chose to sleep-in while others went into the city of Frankfurt to check-out the famous skyline from across the river and do some shopping and exploring of the various historical buildings.

After a fun morning walking around Frankfurt, we gathered in the lobby in all of our USA gear ready to cheer our heads off.  The team was well equipped with our Wal-Mart America gear. Our two hour bus ride consisted of massive amounts of face paint and Michael Jackson.  Amber used her professional face painting skills to paint intricate variations of stars and stripes on our faces, unique to each player of course and Katie Gannet painted Massimo and Elena and even managed to paint the American flag on her own face.

Once we arrived at the Rhein-Neckar Arena in Sinsheim, we killed some time by wandering the stadium buying souvenirs and food and drinks. The atmosphere this time around was completely different from the first World Cup game we watched. It was filled with excitement and pride as the stadium slowly filled with fans from all over the world. Our face paint sure did turn heads! We had a bunch of random people ask to take photos with us; it was almost creepy.

After the nerves of the players wore off, the game was purely dominated by the USA.  Their first goal was a beauty by Heather O’Reilly, she took a pass from Amy Rodriguez and set herself up beautifully with a great first touch and ripped it into the upper left hand corner.  Their second goal was by substitute Megan Rampinoe making a quick impact right of the bat and the crowd went wild.  Their third goal the Colombian goalie got a hand on it but couldn’t handle the force of the strike from Carli Lloyd and the USA ended up winning 3-0.

The USA vs. Colombia game was the most perfect way to end this trip. Each member of the team took away a different piece of the experience. The bonding that has been created through our own team wins over the last 16 days and today’s USA win over Colombia have set the stage for Fall 2011 – Ivy League Championship here we come! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 14 – Morning in Munich, Dinner in Frankfurt

We were able to sleep in this morning and have breakfast at our leisure as we didn’t have to meet until 9 a.m.   Breakfast was the same as yesterday but just as good.  The roads were dry, the sky overcast, but no rain and the temperature about 55 degrees.  This meant Mike’s Bike Tour of Munich was on.  We quickly checked out of Hotel Europa, loaded the bus and headed back to downtown Munich.  By the time we reached the meeting point for our bike tour, the sun had come out and the sky a welcome blue. 

Our guides were Rob from New York and Elliot from England.  At 10 a.m. they had the group doing the traditional Bavarian dance of the barrel makers.  We also learned that monks founded the city and built a monastery (St. Peters, 12th Century), a bridge so they could cross the Isar river, and started making beer. 

Then it was off to pick up our actual bikes, we were split into two groups, and started our two wheel adventure.  Along the way we stopped at Maximillan plaza, where the Bavarian State Opera House and
Royal Place
are located.  The Palace takes up one city block, yet only housed Maximillan’s family.  We learned other interesting facts about the city as we peddled through the streets, dodging automobiles, pedestrians, and other cyclists.  As our guide said, “You must dominate the road.”

Do we look like we are ready to dominate?

After about an hour, the sky had darkened and large, cold, rain drops began to fall.  We were at a great spot to leave the bikes and go inside the Theatinerkirche (Theatine Church, 1675), the first baroque style church build outside Rome. We had about five minutes to wonder around the church and get a little warm before hoping back on the bikes.  The rain had let up and the sun peaked from behind the dark clouds.

Then we were off to the Englischer Garten for our lunch stop.  The park is three times the size of New York’s central park and is the seventh largest city park in the world.  The river flows through it with many tree lined paths with large green meadows in between.  Our guide was quick to point out the there was a specific meadow were anyone is allowed to go au-natural if they so choose.  No climpes were had as it was too cool and wet to have even the bravest nudist sunbathing.

Before we knew it we were at the Chinese temple.  This is the location of the biergarten in the park.  It can hold about 6,000 people.  Only a few hundred were out braving the weather today.  Once again we had the opportunity to purchase typical German fare for lunch.  We had about 40 minutes for lunch and a little relaxation.  At one point it started to rain again and the temperature seemed to drop ten degrees.  Good thing we were all smart enough to move under the cover of the tower when we felt the first few drops.

At 12:45 p.m. it was back in the saddle and off to finish the tour.  Before leaving the park our guides told us pull over to the side near the river and pull out our cameras.  Much to our surprise and delight, there were individuals surfing the river.  It was like one of those water parks with a wave pool but this was an actual river.  There were a number of surfers enjoying the river so we got to see surfers in action.  Very cool!  

Surfing in Munich

An American engineer working for BMW, in 1972 figured out how to place ropes across the river to create this realistic wave.  

Our guides had to pull the group away as we needed to get back.   After another 15 minutes of peddling through the wind and ever increasing rain, we were back.   We said good-bye and thank you to Rob and Elliot for the entertaining, fact filled, bike tour of Munich. 

Team Elliot

Team Rob
We quickly walked to our waiting bus to begin the long bus ride (410 km) to our last stop, Frankfurt, Germany.  It was now 1:30 p.m.  The bus quickly quieted as we began to warm up and lulling motion of the bus to most of the group to sleep.  

We arrived at the NH Hotel in downtown Frankfurt at 8:45 p.m. after a seven hour bus ride.  This was a little longer than anticipated as we ran into Friday afternoon traffic of people trying to escape the city early..  Very similar to what we experience in the states, like traffic on a Friday afternoon to the Cape.

We did make two rest stops along the way to stretch our legs and give our bus driver his required breaks.  Then, as we approached Frankfurt, we took a little unplanned detour around the countryside surrounding Frankfurt.  Okay, we got a little lost.  GPS are not always perfect.  But our tour guide, Elena got it straightened out and we found the hotel without further delay. 

After finding our rooms and having 30 minutes to relax, shower, unpack, we met for our final group dinner at the hotel restaurant. Diner included a wonderful cream of celery soup (better than the one in Munich), rolls, roast veal in a mushroom cream sauce over a bed of fresh peas, and fancy potatoes.  For dessert we had a rich, extremely chocolaty mouse. 

We are looking forward to tomorrow morning to explore Frankfurt and attend the USA vs. Columbia match.  Stay tuned.

Day 13 – A Rainy Day in Munich

We’ve been on the road now for 13 days and have been so lucky with the weather. Today – not so much. We woke-up to quite a downpour in Munich; we had scheduled our Mike’s Bike Tour of the city but had to quickly plan another agenda as riding around in a pack of 35 in the streaming rain did not sound very fun! The change of plans was no problem for our happy group. We re-scheduled the tour for Friday with hopes of brighter skies and went on to our new plan – some lunch in the city center and time for shopping.

Massi, our ever so handsome bus driver, dropped us off in the Munich’s city center which was just a 15 minute ride from our hotel. We were given 2.5 hours to splash around the city and do some exploring. It was a great opportunity to take in some of the architecture and also do some last minute shopping. One of the highlights for many was having lunch in the world famous Haufbrauhaus (HB). The HB is known for its HUGE mugs of German beer, authentic and mouth-watering German fare and live polka music playing every couple minutes. Many of the team members and also the staff enjoyed lunch in this festive atmosphere. If you ever have the chance to visit Munich, you have to make time for the HB biergartin.

The Team in Downtown Munich

After some time in Munich’s city center, we boarded the bus and headed to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site and museum. This was an emotional experience for many people in our group. Each person was given an individual audio guide to the memorial as well as a map of the concentration camp and museum. Some people took this time to go off on their own and others chose to share this somber experience with some of their teammates.

The audio tour included pieces of history about the camp, it gave insight into the living conditions and what life was like day to day, and also included interviews and personal experiences from survivors of Dachau. It’s difficult to explain what it felt like to be at Dachau. We spent 1.5 hours there and as we met-up and headed back to our bus there was a quiet calmness that had surrounded our group.

The rest of the afternoon was a bit of free time for everyone. We were given the option to either go back to the hotel or go back to the city center for some more exploring. The weather had improved greatly so about half of the group went over to Munich’s center of town and spent some time looking in more shops and enjoying some dessert. Some even found American flags to bring with them to the FIFA World Cup USA vs. Colombia game we are going to on Saturday!!!

The other half of the group went back to the hotel. Some napped; others browsed the internet while catching up on emails and chatting with friends from home on Facebook. A couple others even chose to spend this time going for a run to explore a different part of the city of Munich. We were lucky enough to be about 1 km away from the Olympic park of Munich. It was the location where the 1972 Olympics were held. Those that chose to run through this park were able to see the structures used for the various summer Olympic Games. There was a huge lake there as well and also a gym that members could pay 54 Euro/month to train where the Olympians had while at the games.

Another highlight to the run was the finding of the biergartin located within Olympic park. It was like a giant festival of small pubs, live music, food stands of every type and shop after shop of handmade crafts, jewelry and clothing. It was quite the site to see and the finding of this local hot spot would prove to be a great outing for some of the team to experience the nightlife in Germany later tonight.

After some free time we met back-up as the family we’ve become and sat down for dinner together in our hotel. Tonight’s meal was just as delicious as the night before. It was a buffet overflowing with salads, vegetables, pastas and meats. Everyone had their fair share of German deliciousness. After dinner many headed to the closest TV to watch the Women’s World Cup Germany vs. Nigeria game. Since we are in Germany the game was being played at 8:45 p.m. and we thought it would be pretty interesting to watch Germany play with some local fans! All in all a little morning rain didn’t stop today from being a fantastic day!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 12 – Good bye Switzerland Hallo Deutschland

After a good night’s rest we were up for breakfast and ready to board the bus at 8:45 a.m.  We pulled away from the Hotel Allegra at 9 a.m., right on schedule for our 325 km drive to Augsburg, Germany for our first FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 game. 

It was time to say goodbye to Zurich and Switzerland, and hello Germany.  After about 15 minutes the bus grew quiet as the team took this opportunity to sleep, read, or enjoy the ride through the country side.

We were pleasantly surprised when we made a stop at the Austria boarder.  Turns out going this route was quicker than staying on the main highway.  Thus we can now say this was a five country tour.  We were to be in Austria all of 24 km (that’s just under 15 miles).   The route was through small towns and country roads.  It ended up taking a bit longer than anticipated due to unplanned road construction in a tunnel.  After not moving for about 10 minutes, Massi our bus driver, re-evaluated the situation and made a u-turn.  He knew another route that was slightly longer but would end up being less time than waiting for our turn. Before we knew it we were back on track and quickly in Germany.

The countryside here in Germany is very green with many dense forests that are close to the highway. Farmland can be found between the trees.  Switzerland and the Alps faded quickly as we reached our final country. 

The Autobahn is the German highway known for speed.  The highest posted speed limit prior to Germany was 90 km/hr with 70 km/hr the most common.  The posted speed limit on the Autobahn was 120 km/hr.  We’ll leave that for you to convert to miles/hr.

After three hours on the bus we pulled over to one the many rest stops that are found all over Europe.  This one had a cafeteria style restaurant where we were introduced to our first real German fair.  The team took a little time to peruse the choices before making their decision.  I think everyone was happy with their choice.

After the 45 minute lunch break, we were back on the bus for the remaining 60 km to Augsburg for the Norway vs. Equatorial Guinea (EG) game.  We arrived at 2 p.m., one hour before kick off.  On our way to our seats we explored the entire stadium, mostly unintentionally as we went right when we should have gone left while searching for our seats.

Augsburg stadium was beautiful, a real futbol stadium.  There were no bad seats.  We found our way to the blau (blue) section; block O, rows 22 and 23, between the corner flag and the 18-yard box on the north end of the stadium. 

We had plenty of time before kick-off to purchase souvenirs, Coca-Cola, and sausages in a pretzel before settling in for most of the groups first ever Women’s World cup match.  After both teams completed their warm ups, they left the field to put on their game uniforms and prepare for the official march on to the field. After the national anthems for Norway and EG were complete the teams shook hands and then huddled together one last time before the whistle blew.

Norway had two quick chances in the first five minutes, but then the surprising upstarts of EG gave Norway a run for their money.  EG’s center mid had three great scoring opportunities but was not able to finish.  The half ended tied 0-0. 

In the second half Norway made a few changes and started to figure out EG’s system of play, but EG continued to create chances using their speed and desire to attack.  Overall Norway played uninspired.  Finally with about 10 minutes to go in the game Norway was able to put the ball in the back of the net and win the game 1-0. 

Not the game any of us expected but the 12,928 fans in attendance seemed to enjoy the experience, especially those rooting for their national teams.  The team is looking forward to the USA game as it is more fun to attend a game when your nation is one of the teams playing.  But this was a great introduction to World Cup play for the team.

After the game it was back to the bus for the hour ride to Munich and our Hotel Europa.  We all met at 7:30 p.m. for dinner at the hotel.  This may have been our best meal yet.  It was a buffet with all typical German dishes according to one member of our group.  I’ll have to take her word.   

We started off with the salad bar consisting of potato salad, cucumbers with dill sauce and thin slices of salmon, caprese salad, roasted red, yellow, and green peppers with red onions and tuna, cucumber and tomatoes.  These may sound familiar to you but they were made the German way.  There was also an incredible cream of celery soup; so good many of us went back for seconds and possibly thirds.

Then there was the entire buffet consisting of penne pasta with a light, creamy tomato sauce and chicken, spatzle, and roasted pork with carrots and green onions.  If this wasn’t enough, for dessert there was a dish of Bavarian cream with cherries. 

A great way to end day 12.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 11 - Guten tag from Switzerland and Match # 4

We all caught up on our sleep this morning.  Breakfast was from 8 – 10 a.m. and the players awoke in time to enjoy the breakfast buffet of yogurt, fruit, cereal, bread, meat, cheese, eggs, fresh orange juice, and sausage.  Setting their alarms was purposeful as there was a city pool five minutes from the hotel with free admission for hotel patrons. 

After enjoying another wonderful breakfast they were off to the pool.  It was an incredible facility.  Not just one pool but three, including a diving area, kidding pool with slides, and a lap pool.  The pools were surrounded by grass with plenty of shade trees.  It was a perfect morning for a swim and some diving as it was in the low 80’s.Yes, Zurich and much of the area is having a heat wave. Today’s high reached 87 degrees – the highest it has been here in 3 years.

After the refreshing dip in the pool, it was back to the hotel to get ready to meet the bus at for our trip into Zurich. We reached our meeting spot by noon, giving everyone 2.5 hours to enjoy the city center and surrounding area. Zurich’s newer part of the city sits on one side of the Limmat River, while the older medieval part sits on the other.  It’s very easy to navigate the City of Zurich.  The team enjoyed their time in the city exploring both the newer and older sections through sightseeing but also shopping and grabbing some lunch.

At around 3 p.m. it was back to Hotel Allegra for rest and relaxation before our 5 p.m. pre-game meal.  The team fueled up on sandwiches with meat and cheese and brownies for dessert.  We were back in the lobby at 6:15 pm ready to board the bus for the 20 minute ride to Club FC Zurich Frauen’s stadium match #4

Match #4 – Brown vs. Club FC Zurich Frauen

We could tell this was going to be a great match as soon as the bus pulled up to FC Zurich’s soccer complex.  The complex consisted of 15 full sized soccer fields, a small restaurant, a baseball field and club house.  Everything was spotless.  They even had a number of cleat brushes so players could clean their cleats after the game. 

The grass field was beautifully manicured and lined.  The officials were there 30 minutes before kickoff and warmed up as a team.  Elena (our tour guide) explained that these three women were national referees.  They travel all over Switzerland to referee major games.  They lived up to that expectation as they weren’t noticed during the game.  A sign of a great referee is one you don’t notice.

The teams lined up for the official march to midfield for pregame handshakes and coin toss.  Game time temperature was about 85 degrees.  A bit on the warm side for the players but it was a wonderful evening for a soccer game.  The starting whistle blew right on time at 7:30 pm.


Brown kicked off and the battle began.  Quickly one could tell FC Zurich was a team.  They moved the ball well and were organized.  It took both teams a while to find their rhythm.  Brown had most of the play in their attacking half, earning two corner kicks.  FC Zurich did earn two corner kicks but the defense knocked the dangerous balls out of the area. 

Brown’s best opportunity of the first half came in the 44th minute when Sarah Hebert treaded a beautiful through ball to Mary Beth, splitting the two center backs.  Mary Beth ended up 1-v-1 with the keeper.  She slotted the ball past the keeper but her shot hit the post, rebounded back into play right to the keeper.  The half-time whistle blew seconds later.  It was a hard fought 0-0 battle in the first half.

The second half started a bit slow with FC Zurich finding a few holes and creating a number of scoring opportunities. But the defense and MC Barrett kept the ball out of the net.

Brown had their first real scoring opportunity in the second half at the 19 minute mark on a great left footed cross to the penalty spot from Katie Rushton to the streaking Allie Mullin.  Allie just couldn’t get enough on her shot to beat the diving keeper.

The game continued back and forth but Brown was gaining momentum. The game was won at the 31 minute mark when Allie Mullin won the ball in the defensive half, took one touch and knocked a beautiful long ball down the right flank behind the FC Zurich’s back line for Kiersten Berg to run on to.  Kiersten took the ball down the right side with two defender drawing closer as she entered the 18 yard box.  Just when everyone thought she was going to shoot, she made a terrific fake, cutting the ball back in to the center, beating the two defenders, and creating a better opportunity.  The keeper had no chance at this point. Kiersten’s shot was in the back of the net before the keeper could dive.  Brown 1 – FC Zurich 0.

The goal energized the team.  But there was a scary moment with just minutes to go when FC Zurich earned a corner kick.  It was a well struck ball that bounced around in front of the goal after one FC Zurich player got her head to the ball first, but the defense held tight and didn’t panic. The ball was cleared out of the box and the game was over. 

Another win for Brown as well as another clean sheet for the goalkeeping duo of Amber Bledsoe and MC Barrett.  Go Bruno!  What a way to end the soccer playing portion of the trip.  Wins: Brown 4; Europe 0.