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Cocalico soccer teams venture to Ireland
By: KAITLAN MITCHELL Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
Heading into the 2012 fall season the Cocalico boys and girls high school soccer teams have an unique edge over their competition– a stamp. Not the type used for letters and packages, but rather the kind of stamp found in passports after high caliber competition in Ireland.
From July 28 through August 6, boys’ coach Bob Dungan and girls’ coach Dan Hogan accompanied 30 athletes on an immersive athletic experience across the pond. The boys and girls squads each played three games. Their competitors were Peamount United Football Club, Adare Football Club and Muervo Football Club.
"It was cool to see them support each other throughout the week," Cocalico girls’ soccer coach Dan Hogan says. "Even though they’re a close bunch, they became even closer."
The Lady Eagles left the matches with a record of 2-1. The Peamount United Football Club, winners of the U17 Ireland National Title, was the only team able to defeat Cocalico with a score of 4-2.
After playing three relentless club teams, the Cocalico boys team left Ireland with one tie and two losses. Both losses were by only one, critical goal. Throughout the competition days the Cocalico athletes kept energy and support high.
"The trip made us stronger as a program," says senior Shannon Hoeveler. "I would definitely recommend this type of trip to other teams."
Though the visit was soccer-driven, the teams were afforded the opportunity to explore different landmarks and absorb the natural beauty of Dublin and Limerick. The 10 days were broken down into two travel days and eight sightseeing days.
"Not only did we get to play soccer but we got to tour around Ireland," senior Taylor Esterly says. "We went to a Limerick FC vs. Manchester City match and saw the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry. It was a trip of a lifetime."
Although the support of sponsors and a few tournaments hosted by Cocalico slightly cut the cost of the trip, for the most part, the players paid their own way.
With international playing experience and lifetime memories added to their resume, this won’t be the last stamp in Cocalico’s passport.
"I thought this would be a one and only time trip because it was a lot of work but once we got to Ireland and once we got back, I really realized it was just such an awesome time," Hogan says. "Somewhere in the future there will be another trip."