This summer CNU women’s soccer team took a trip to the UK to compete in five matches and tour two countries.
As college students, ordering pizza is probably one of the easiest things to do. But when traveling abroad, some of the simplest tasks can be fronted by language and cultural barriers.
When women’s soccer team member Rachel Brewer traveled abroad to the UK with her teammates, she did not expect to encounter a language barrier. After trying to place a pizza order with Dominoes in Scotland, both she and the worker “agreed to drop the order because neither of [them] could understand what the other one was saying.”
Their two-week journey abroad began on August first, as the team set to land in Edinburgh and play the first of five games only a few hours later. Their effort resulted in three victories, a tie and one loss.
After months of planning and fundraising, women’s soccer coach Dan Weiler was finally able to decide on competing in the United Kingdom. “We wanted to find a place that could get us good competition, that culturally was a fun place to visit in terms of landmarks and that we had some kind of connection to,” Weiler said.
For soccer player Carly Maglio, the trip turned out to be a eye-opener, as daily encounters with European lifestyle highlighted the different cultural approaches to sportsmanship. “They’re very vocal,” Maglio said. “They cus at each other and the little girls were saying the ‘f-word’ at each other.”
Their mannerisms were funny to watch for the team. “That’s how they express their love for the game, and to us it’s a little aggressive but to them that’s how they show their emotions,” Brewer said.
The culture shock on the field, however, was not one-sided. By keeping the ball in possession and passing it around, Weiler tried to stray away from misconceptions that “players in the US are just athletic and play really direct.”
“I would say they were a little more surprised by us then we were surprised by them,” Weiler said.
Besides competing in their five games, the team was able to tour some parts of the UK, as they mingled with locals but also grew closer through their shared experiences. For Brewer, one of the most striking differences between the two cultures was the food.
“The food was very different for me, Brewer said, referencing her failed attempt to order Ranch dressing with pizza in a Scotland restaurant.
Maglio expressed similar sentiments. “Every morning for breakfast they eat beans and toast,” Maglio said. Especially exciting was the city of Edinburgh, where the team tried items from the European cuisine such as crepes.
Besides the food, the team sampled various tourist destinations, such as the Edinburgh ferris wheel at the heart of the city. “The city was really big, and it was overwhelming at first because there was just so much stuff to do,” Maglio said.
Their experiences were not to be taken for granted, however. Not only was Brewer grateful to compete abroad, she expressed appreciation for her opportunity to play in college and compete against a wide variety of teams in her age group. The Scottish team “had to pull from different age groups because they couldn’t really pull from just 18-20 year olds,” Brewer said, there was much less variety in the teams themselves.
by Kristen Ziccarelli