This summer, the soccer team embarked on an unforgettable pre-season adventure, traveling across the Atlantic to the soccer heartland of England. Following the success of last year’s trip to Costa Rica, the team, led by Coach Sal Zani, was determined to create another enriching experience for the players. During their 10-day stay in London, England, the team took part in a training regimen that included 15 sessions and participated in five highly competitive matches against top-tier English academy teams. However, this trip was more than just soccer; it was a holistic experience that blended athletic development, cultural exploration, and team bonding.
The primary focus of the trip was, of course, soccer. The boys honed their skills through intense training sessions and vigorous matches which served as a valuable learning experience, fostering the team’s growth and development. The players unanimously praised the competitive spirit and the professional treatment they received throughout the tour.
Beyond the soccer pitch, the team had the opportunity to immerse themselves in English culture. Their exploration included iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and a visit to Olympic Stadium for a Premier League game. These cultural experiences added depth to their journey and offered a well-rounded perspective on life in England.
One of the most significant outcomes of the trip was the strengthened camaraderie among the players. Away from campus, the team had the chance to bond on a deeper level. Senior player Gabe Auringer ’24 emphasized the newfound sense of unity, stating that “the trip really helped bring everyone together, making it feel more like a family.” Trust and comfort among teammates grew, enhancing the team’s chemistry, which is invaluable on the soccer field. Sophomore Dom Zani fondly recalled team dinners as moments when he got to know his new teammates better, a sentiment echoed by many.
The highlight for most players was the electrifying experience of attending a Premier League match in person. On the final day of their trip, they witnessed Chelsea take on West Ham United at the iconic London stadium. The atmosphere and passion of English soccer fans left the players in awe. Dom Zani described the game as “truly outstanding” and emphasized the sheer intensity of the atmosphere.
Coach Sal Zani believes that the trip’s benefits extend beyond the tour itself. He views it as an opportunity for the team to adopt new playing styles and skills while fostering stronger individual relationships. He is optimistic about the impact of the trip on the upcoming season, noting, “This trip is going to help our team tremendously as we start our season back on campus. All the team training and bonding will make this group much stronger as they start our season.”
The soccer team’s journey to England was a huge success! The team extends many thanks to Conquest Academy for hosting them in London. Now back on campus, they carry with them not only the skills acquired on the field but also the invaluable experiences and memories forged during their time in England. We wish them the best of luck in their upcoming season, confident that this adventure has laid the foundation for a remarkable year ahead.