By Ayden Adams
Did you know? In the middle of June, the University of Findlay women’s soccer team traveled to Ireland to compete against international teams while diving deep into the Irish culture.
On June 16, the team met at the Chicago O’Hare International airport and took flight to Dublin, Ireland for a nine-day trip filled with soccer matches, food, and sightseeing. The players met the new UF head coach, Michelle Rick, in the airport for the first time this season.
Since this is a voluntary trip that was managed by past coaches, families and players were responsible for paying the set amount that the touring company priced the trip at. All three of the current coaches were able to attend the Ireland tour.
“For myself, at the Chicago airport was the first time I met all of the girls,” Rick said. “So that was kind of crazy because I don’t think many coaches can say they met their new team in the airport—that was really cool, it was kind of a once in a lifetime thing. Then we flew to another country for two weeks.”
Rick was previously the assistant coach at Marietta College and played at the Division I level at Wright State University in Dayton.
Once the lady Oilers touched down in Dublin, they met their tour guides James, Jacqueline, and Phillip from the First-Choice Soccer Tour.
The tour company took care of everything from flights to and from Ireland, tourist attractions, scheduling matches, and all dining experiences.
Ellie Janszen, sophomore on the team said this trip was extra special.
“Most times when people do these soccer tours in different countries you just go with your team, and it’s supposed to be a good team bonding thing which it very much was,” Janszen said. “The cool part was we got to bring family, friends, whoever wanted to go.”
The Oilers took all three coaches and 18 players, which included eight freshmen on the trip. With friends and family attending the trip, there was a total of 70 people who went to Ireland.
The team got new and unforgettable experiences while on the tours in Ireland. Places toured include the Guinness Storehouse, Dalkey Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Windsor Park, and the Titanic Belfast.
All of these locations are highly toured areas while in Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher are an iconic site seeing attraction for many people as it offers views many people do not get to experience. The Titanic Belfast museum offered a journey to the early 1900s to experience nine interactive Titanic galleries.
“The Guinness factory was something insanely cool we did,” Janszen said. “We got to get a tour of the brewery with everyone and see how everything is made. It’s just a very touristy thing you do there, and it was something fun to do as a team.”
After exciting days of touring, Findlay would compete against tough teams local to Dublin. The Oilers played and won three matches while on the trip.
Some teams were around the same age as the lady Oilers, but other teams had significant more years of soccer experience, which lead to some nail biting matches.
Teams played include the EWFL (Eastern Women’s Football League), Treaty United, and Crusaders Strikers F.C. which are all highly competitive teams.
The Oilers enjoyed meals with the teams they played after the matches and got to experience Irish culture firsthand.
Sydney Noble was one of the freshmen on the trip along with seven others in the class.
“There’s more chemistry between us (now) because in Ireland we barely knew each other,” Noble said. “Now with all the time we’ve spent together we know how each other plays better and we can connect more.”
The lady Oilers are 7-4-2 (win-loss-tie) on the season and 6-3-1 in conference. The next game is Saturday Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. vs Kentucky Wesleyan at home.