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Kicking Around Europe

By Carol Brévart-Demm


There’s no better way to see Amsterdam than by bicycle.

Swarthmore’s women’s and men’s soccer teams went international this summer, crossing the Atlantic to test their skills in a preseason series against European teams.

Spending nine days in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands in July, the women’s team worked with a Dutch coach from the Royal Dutch Football Association and played a couple of games—first against a German team from Bad Neuenahr, made up of first- and second-division professional players; and then Borussia Mönchengladbach, one of the best women’s professional teams in the country. Although the Garnet lost both games, they managed to score against both teams.

Sightseeing trips to the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, business hub Frankfurt, picturesque Amsterdam, and the scenic River Rhine provided fascinating down time, but the highlight of the Garnet’s trip was the opportunity to attend the FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals in Frankfurt and cheer on their own national women’s team in a breath-snatching match against Japan.


Before the Garnet’s first match of the tour, Garnet captain Samantha Song ’12 exchanges pennants with the captain of Soccer Club 07, Neuenahr, Germany.

The Garnet men took their turn in August, spending 13 days in Greece, dividing their time between the spectacular island of Crete and the ancient city of Athens, where they played five games, including three against teams from the Greek Superleague—young players with modest professional contracts who undergo full-time intensive training and preparation for participation in the top national team. The Garnet finished up with three wins, one draw, and one loss. Off the field, they visited the ruins of the Minoan palace of Knossos, where legend places Theseus’s defeat of the minotaur; the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion; the Acropolis; and the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. They also participated in community service projects, volunteering at the Institute of Children with Special Needs in Athens and cleaning up trash in a beach park near the city of Marathon.


Alyssa Bowie ’12 displays an impressive variety of chocolate after a visit to the Lindt Chocolate Factory Outlet near the quaint town of Valkenburg in The Netherlands.


The Garnet men, visiting the Acropolis in Athens, pose in front of the Parthenon.


Garnet goalkeepers Peter Maxted ’14, David D’Annunzio ’12, and Jake Tracy ’13 can hardly believe that the sea below the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion could be so blue.


A young Malia supporter may have switched allegiance after receiving a Garnet soccer scarf from the Swarthmore players and coaching staff.

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