Another four years have come and gone and 32 teams are just months away from competing in the 2018 World Cup. For three weeks, the world comes together in celebration of the beautiful game.
Greensboro College took its own initiative toward uniting the world with soccer when the school’s women’s soccer team traveled to Spain in early March. Among those on the trip was East Surry graduate and current GC freshman, Mary Jo Lowe.
“We went as a team to Barcelona and Madrid to experience soccer away from America,” Lowe said.
The Pride spent 10 days overseas training, scrimmaging, and visiting different stadiums. GC coach Gus Mota spoke about the influence of soccer in Spanish culture in a reflection piece on greensbororcollegesports.com.
“It was amazing to see the culture differences of our sports in America to those around the world,” Mota said. “Football is king in the USA, but futbol is king of the world.”
The team took an in-depth tour of Camp Nou, the home stadium of FC Barcelona. The women visited the locker room, ran out through the tunnel, and stood on the same pitch as a number of soccer legends.
Just a day after attending a training session, Lowe and the ladies of Greensboro College played their first of four scrimmages against Spanish teams. The first was against the Women’s Soccer School of Barcelona.
“The scrimmages were intense,” Lowe said. “All the girls there had been playing since they were like three and were really talented.”
The Pride competed against teams that feed into the professional clubs around Europe.
In addition to playing and training with professional clubs, the women saw professional soccer teams in action. The team saw a friendly La Liga match between Getafe CF and Levante on March 10.
Levante won the match 1-0.
The trip wasn’t all about work. Lowe said the team had days where they didn’t play soccer at all. Instead, they would immerse themselves in the culture of Spain by visiting historical sites and eating plenty of Spanish foods.
Lowe said that her favorite part of the trip was when they visited the city of Toledo. There, the team visited cathedrals and walked around a city that was founded 2,000 years ago.
Perhaps the most impactful moment of the trip was when the team witnessed the first ever feminist march for equal rights in Spain.
Like the parade, the 2018 College European Tour was the first time Greensboro College embarked on such a trip.
Lowe said her coach’s goal is to give every group of women that comes through GC soccer a similar experience. The success of the trip, Lowe said, gives the coach hope in fulfilling this dream.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith