Bison men’s soccer spends spring break in Denmark

Elise Covert & Brittany Willwerth, Sports Co-Editors

The Bison men’s soccer team spent their 2018 spring break touring and playing games in Denmark. It was the second international trip that the team has taken under head coach Brendan Nash. Under NCAA rules, a program is allowed an international trip once every four years. Therefore, each player can only go once during his undergraduate career.

The team played three games against top-quality international competition, coming home with a 1-2 record. Many of the players on these teams already have professional contracts or were looking to play professionally. After the games, the teams had the opportunity to have dinner together and share stories.

In addition to the competing in a few games, the players had a chance to tour destinations across Denmark and even spent a day in Sweden.

“We spent 8 days in Denmark, going from Nykøbing Falster to Copenhagen,” Nick King ’20 said. “We played three very competitive games against top professional youth teams like Odense, Nordsjaelland, and FC Helsingor, many of which already had professional players on them. A few major highlights we saw included an old castle in Nykøbing, Mons Klint, which is a giant cliff formation on the Baltic Sea, and a bike tour all around Copenhagen.”

The trip was funded by alumni, who feel that personal development is just as important as athletic development, a view consistent with the scholar-athlete model embraced by the University Department of Athletics. Like the alumni, head Nash appreciates the cultural experience that the trip provides for his players and the opportunity to grow as people and as teammates along the way.

“Most of our student-athletes do not participate in the study abroad program due to soccer activities,” Nash said. “Many times student-athletes have to make sacrifices that a regular student does not have to make. This is our program’s way of acknowledging some of the sacrifices they make.”

To Nash, this trip also serves as a prime resource for recruiting. Not all Division I teams are able to provide this opportunity for their players, so having that chance can be an incentive for recruits to choose the University.

“It was another level for our team to see, but they will not forget the experience or the stadium they played the game in, Nash said. “It tells the recruits we look to develop our student-athletes as people, not just as soccer players.”

Nash is applying the experiences from this trip to the upcoming season “We have already started to build our team identity for this coming fall, and we have a head start on other college teams since we had had a few extra games to learn our strengths and weaknesses and how we can address them,” Nash said.

This head start may be exactly what the Bison men’s soccer team need to strive for a Patriot League Championship during the 2018 season.

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