Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Lad Reading

We're over the Atlantic Ocean, between London and New York, and junior Matt Schiller has plopped down on the vacant seat next to me to talk about the trip. Matt has been playing soccer since he was five. Kid teams. Travel teams. Club teams. His high school team in Vienna, Virginia. He's even done some coaching. He's always loved the game, and the soccer program was a big factor in his choosing to attend Swarthmore. To be traveling to England on a soccer trip -- to be on this two-week pilgrimage to the place where "football" is king -- brings a big grin to this curly-haired midfielder's face.


Tomorrow -- Day One -- will consist of practice, sight-seeing, and spectating at a professional match in the evening. Thursday will feature community service and Swarthmore's first match of the tour, a bout with a London club called Yeading FC.

"I've been looking forward to this England trip all summer," says Matt, who has spent the past couple of months interning at a wealth management firm in the D.C. area. "It's my first time going to England. We're going to be playing English clubs, going to a couple professional games. It's gonna be amazing. I know this is gonna be an unbelievable experience."

What does a Swarthmore soccer player bring with him across the pond? Matt has his I-Pod, of course -- the new Foo Fighters album is one of the newest additions to his music lineup -- and his "Men's Health" and "Eurosport" magazines. But Matt, a double major in philosophy and economics, has something a bit heavier in his backpack, too. When I ask him what book he's brought along, he hesitates for a moment. "Um ... Dostoevsky," he reveals.

Which one?

"Um, actually, I have two," he says, grinning sheepishly, feigning total embarrassment. "Notes from the Underground and The Brothers Karamazov. ... Um, you probably shouldn't put that in your blog. I'm taking Mark Wallace's philosophy of religion course this coming semester, and I have to read these for class. Actually, it's good reading."


I'm pretty sure Matt will find cover in his teammates' backpacks. I look behind me where the rest of the students are seated and ask around. We have the goods on Steve St. Vincent. "I have an astro textbook," he confesses. Ciaran Dalton, the assistant coach, is at this very moment reading his psychology textbook for the doctoral program he's in. A couple rows back, across the aisle, goalkeeper Reuben Heyman-Kantor has two books out, one a history of Iraq, and one a novel -- in Arabic. Reuben, who spent spring semester in Syria, is trying to keep his Arabic skills fresh. Waves of inadequacy wash over me as he interrupts his reading and shows me his books.

Thankfully, Brandon Washington comes to my rescue. Brandon, a sophomore forward from the Dallas area, proudly holds up his read of the moment. It's "Stuff" magazine. The cover bears a barely dressed woman and two words in a massive font size: "Hot Damn."

Coach Eric Wagner promptly confiscates it, takes it to his seat, and eagerly begins reading.

Tuesday August 02, 2005 posted by Tom Krattenmaker @ 8:38 PM

About This Site

In August 2005, the Swarthmore College men's soccer team embarked on England Tour 2005. Their mission: Play matches against English teams, spread good will, take in the sights, attend a professional match or two, learn about English culture, and, well, have fun. Follow their progress at this special web site, written by Tom Krattenmaker, director of news and information, who is traveling with the team.

Men's Soccer Website

Tour Roster

Respond to These Posts

England Tour 2005 Itinerary

Other Posts

Lad Reading: Aug 2, 2005

Eastenders: Aug 4, 2005

Bangin': Aug 5, 2005

The Real England: Aug 7, 2005

Swarthmoor College: Aug 8, 2005

Birthday Goal: Aug 10, 2005

Red Carpet: Aug 12, 2005

American Idols: Aug 15, 2005