Athletic opportunities overseas

Soccer players travel to England over break to train and play


Ava Murphy

Freshman Kaylie Cosgrove and her team were given the opportunity to travel to England to expand their soccer skills and knowledge. “It gave me a unique perspective on the game of soccer and allowed me to be coached by experienced coaches and players and gave me a different perspective on the game,” Cosgrove said.

After a full day of traveling, a trip through customs, freshmen Kaylie Cosgrove and her soccer teammates arrived in England. However, this spring break trip wasn’t solely spent exploring this foreign country, but playing soccer with what is considered the best.

“I found out about it back in October. I was just really excited that I had an opportunity like that [and I] was willing to do anything to get on that trip,” Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove and her teammates were given the opportunity to go on a soccer tour throughout England to play and train with the academy teams under the Premier Soccer League teams. A once in a lifetime opportunity.

“[I was] looking forward to getting to play some soccer with some other people and getting to experience their culture and get to go to pro games,” Cosgrove said. “I was definitely nervous because I had no clue what level they would be at and… I was very excited to just get to play and have this experience.”

Cosgrove plays the position of center back, or attacking back, meaning she does more of defending the ball, rather than be on the offensive side of the ball. However, during her second game, Cosgrove made a play that normally most defenders don’t do.

“I had an assist in the second game which felt really good. I play defense, I don’t ever score,” Cosgrove said.

Some of the teammates who also attended this trip don’t normally play with Cosgrove. Sophomore Sarah Hudspeth plays for the same club, but on a different team. When Cosgrove’s coach offered the opportunity to Hudspeth, she knew she had to take it.

“We were scrimmaging [Coach Alex’s] team one day at practice, and afterwards, he needed some players. So he came over to our team and asked if any of us were available to go to England. So I thought it’d be a really cool opportunity,” Hudspeth said. “I talked to my parents about it, and they said, we can make it happen. So that was really exciting, because I really wanted to go… so that was cool.”

Despite being considered a guest player, Hudspeth felt very welcomed to the team, especially by Cosgrove, as they spent time traveling and exploring the cities.

“Kaylie was very welcoming as a player, and I’ve known Kaylie from other backgrounds, like we used to swim together. So it was awesome to kind of catch up with her, and go across the country and play with her,” Hudspeth said.

Even when not training or playing games, Hudspeth and the team toured soccer stadiums, and were given insight on the environment of professional soccer in England.

“The sixth day, we went to Liverpool. We toured their stadium, and we watched a Premier League game,” Hudspeth said. “Seeing the culture of how football is in England was really cool, because I got to see other people playing, and they’re older, like people play, no matter how old you are.”

Hudspeth and the team attended multiple training sessions and played in two games. There, they were able to interact and play with other teams, learning how to better their skills for the game.

“Our first game against Derby County, they were a very welcoming, nice team. I still talk to some of them on the daily,” Hudspeth said. “I learned that it’s not always about winning or losing, and it shows how much people love this sport. Englands the birthplace of football, so going to actually see all this culture… I learned soccer isn’t always about the results. It’s about the friendships you make and the actual culture itself.”

Like Hudspeth, freshman Annalee David was also given the opportunity to travel and play with Cosgroves team. However, before the games. David felt some pressure going into them.

“I kind of felt a little bit under pressure, because our coaches told us so much how these teams would be so good because they’re Premier teams, and so I kind of felt a little bit nervous,” David said. “But once you got out there…all that nerve build up …I feel like it wasn’t hard… there was just a lot of pressure.”

During the teams 2-0 win, David actually scored the first goal off a header, leaving her filled with excitement. Even though she wasn’t playing with her normal team, she was able to find fun within the trip.

“Even if you haven’t played with the same team for a while…it can be hard, pretty hard to adjust to that team. But it’s so easy and fun, playing with new people that are very good,” David said.
Despite the trip coming to a close, David finds not only the soccer aspect memorable, but the experience and trip as a whole.

“Just have fun and to…go out there and… even if they’re not there for the soccer aspect of it just to make [a], memorable time…and have fun like doing all the extra activities like watching games… going on tours because that was… memorable,” David said.