The Albion men’s and women’s soccer teams traveled to England during winter break, and got to tour the country, watch professional soccer and the chance to play against English opponents. The players of each team voted to go to England instead of visiting other European cities.
The soccer programs on campus like to take team trips at least once every four to five years, and why not England, one of the greatest soccer countries in the world?
For true soccer fans, especially English Premier League (EPL) fans, this trip could’ve been one of a lifetime with good friends and teammates. English soccer is one of the most televised soccer leagues in the United States that’s not Major League Soccer (MLS), also known as the “American soccer league. “
Mark Breaugh, Novi sophomore, mentioned that the best part of the trip was getting to watch live league games at popular soccer stadiums.
“Getting to attend the Arsenal versus Stoke City match, as well as the Liverpool versus Aston Villa match was easily the best part of the trip,” Breaugh said. “The atmospheres were unlike anything in the US.”
English soccer fans have a stereotype of being crazy, die-hard soccer fans based on which English city they are from. There have been movies such as “Greenstreet Hooligans” that try to depict how outrageous team fans can be, and how there are essentially gangs among the fans. That type of atmosphere could potentially be wild, because Americans are not used to that sort of thing at soccer matches.
Michael Tolkacz, Novi senior, seemed to agree with Breaugh. “The atmosphere was incredible, I had never seen anything like it,” he said.
England seemed like the obvious trip for all the players, because getting to visit stadiums like the Emirates and Villa Park are dreams come true for EPL soccer followers. It could be compared to to the feeling of attending a game played at Madison Square Garden if a person is a true NBA basketball fan. These types of stadiums are world famous, and are admired by players, coaches and fans all around the globe.
Players also had the opportunity to play matches against teams from England. The Albion men’s team played matches against Tottenham’s college team and Liverpool’s college team, and unfortunately lost both games. The women’s team played against Tottenham Hotspur Ladies and John Moore’s University.
The competition seemed to be of a different level for the Britons out there in England.
“I think the teams there were way faster paced than the ones here and it was an awesome experience to have played with them,” said Kyle Alsheskie, Wixom senior. “I scored in the second game, which was the one thing I was looking forward to, and it ended up being my last goal for Albion College.”
Seems like it would’ve been a fun trip to be apart of as Breaugh, Tolcakz and Alsheskie all spoke positively about their experience and that most of the fun was just hanging out with each team in a different country.
“I think we just grew closer, not only as a team but as a program that includes both the men’s and the women’s team,” Alsheskie said. “It makes the season and school much more enjoyable when the two teams are friends.”