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The Hope College men's soccer team has concluded its trip to Europe. These daily reports were visited more than 2,000 times during their two-week trip. Our thanks to coaches Steve Smith and Lee Schopp for facilitating this means of communication.
Saturday, August 13
A Poet's Tale of the UK
by Bridget Schopp
Wow! What a tour - Scotland, England, even Wales
Cheers to the Erskine, where the guys teambuilt with ropes,
In Scotland we learned that "changeable" meant rain,
We promoted antisectarianism with the bands that we sold,
We loved the Best Western with it's beautiful decor,
We were thankful for McDonald's, but you better watch your pence,
And to the Bayswater Inn, "YIKES!" What can we say?
It rained from the ceiling, we were fearing a flood,
The soccer was competitive - four losses, one win and a tie,
"Wear your kits and boots on the pitch," "cheers to you mate,"
10 stitches, pulled muscles, broken nose and collar bone,
Thank goodness for Dr. Butters, or more affectionately Big Jack,
We're headed back to the states to get some good sleep,
Huge castles, amazing soccer - the sights we did see,
To Alan, our driver, thanks for all the safe rides,
And we can't forget Murray - coach, tour guide, and friend,
So here's to Hope Soccer, both old and new friends,
From CLYDEBANK, SCOTLAND POST -- August 11, 2005
A message of hope for the campaign again sectarianism and support of the local hospice came all the way from across the Atlantic.
Soccer squads from Hope College in Michigan came to Clydebank last week to help St. Margaret's Hospice with the "Say No to Sectarianism" campaign.
The wristbands, originally introduced by the Strathclyde Police, were given to hospices to sell in a bid to raise essential funds.
The special visitors targeted a number of places in Clydebank and the surrounding area with the green and blue bands urging everyone to support the cause. The wristbands carry an important message of tolerance and respect. The sale of the bands raised funds for the hospice.
Sister Rita, chief executive of St. Margaret's Hospice, said: "We are delighted with the support by our friends ofrom Hope College. Their help on Wednesday was invaluable and their enthusiasm came across when out meeting members of the public.
"The 'Say No to Secretarianism' is very important to St. Margaret's Hospice, both in terms of the message it sends and the essential funds it helps raise.
"We are very pleased with the public reaction and hope people continue to buy the bands in support of the hospice."
The men and women from the college's soccer squads popped in on Councillor Alistair Macdonald at West Dunbartonshire Council's headquarters, they met with firefighters in Bathgate and staff at the Edington Distillery in Drumchapel.
Hope Editor's Note: The effort by the Hope teams raised $4,500 for the HospiceFriday, August 12
by Craig McNeil, Pat Root, and Devin McMahon
We arose from our slumber bright eyed and bushy tailed anticipating the day's festivities. Slick Racer escorted us to Parliament Square where we had the day to peruse all the London truly has to offer. We cruised the underground, went back into time at Westminster Abbey, crossed the river Thames, went into the sky via the London eye, while never loosing track time with Big Ben standing high. We boosted England's economy and really enjoyed ourselves upon hopping on the Alan-mobile and heading back to the hotel for one last delicious meal.
We concluded our two-week adventure through Europe with a nice evening filled with shared memories, highlights, poems, tears, and laughs. We said our "thanks" and "good-bye's" to the friends and guides we've met here and now look forward to our safe arrival back to the states.
Thanks for the interest in our experience as a team and we all look forward to seeing you down at 11th and Fairbanks in a couple weeks.
This is Hope men's soccer 2005 signing off.Thursday, August 11
by Craig McNeil, Pat Root, and Devin McMahon
Despite another breakfast of champions consisting of stale rolls and jam, we made our way into the heart of London. Upon arrival we split up and went our separate ways and experienced important historical venues, such as the Tower of London, the London Dungeons, and the London Bridge. Miraculously on this encounter the bridge refrained from falling down. After a quick lunch, we hopped on the double-decker tour bus. (AKA- Big Blue, Lightning Stripes, Alan Mobile, Slick Racer, or more commonly known as the Firth). Big Blue's wheels rumbled into a lush and well maintained futbol facility of Watford FC. The professional atmosphere and hospitality prepared our team for our final game.
With butterflies in our stomachs, we stepped onto the pitch and quickly found ourselves down 2-0 partly do to some hometown officiating. We went into halftime down 3-0 and looking to regroup. We finally started to put some things together and ended the game and our trip on a positive note scoring two goals in the last twenty minutes to finalize the score at 4-2.
The remainder of the night was free for all parents and players to enjoy our final night out on the town in London.
Wednesday, August 10
by junior Jordan Goorhouse of Caledonia, Mich. and senior Bryan Johnson of Portage, Mich.
We began the day with a visit to Windsor Castle, where we were able to catch the changing of the guards. It was a short stay though, because we had prepare for our most challenging match yet -- Reading FC. It was a tough 4-1 loss, but the score doesn't reflect our level of play, which has been improving game by game. We sustained two injuries; one on the field, the other off. Joey Orr caught an elbow to the head requiring stitches and some reconstructive surgery (just kidding Mrs. Orr, he is planning on playing in our last match tomorrow). Ironically, Joey's best friend, four-year-old Brennar Schopp, also joined the injured list with a broken collarbone suffered while playing around during the match. Afterwards we swung by the hospital to pick up Brennar, then headed back to the hotel where we enjoyed dinner and a free evening in London.
Tuesday, August 9
Monday, August 8
After leaving the stadium, the bus headed back to the hotel where the players and parents loaded up with a great dinner and took off for the game field just over the border in Wales. The match was against Team Airbus, a U-19 Academy team. With a new formation and great intensity, Hope went up 1-0 ten minutes into the game with a goal from THE Karter "Keith" Klingenberg off a pass from Bain Rumohr. Hope continued to control the play, but gave up a goal 35 minutes into the half that tied the game 1-1. That was how the half ended. Second half was completely dominated by Hope's play. Lee Schopp showed that he still had the golden boot when he put one away two minutes into the second half off an assist from Gunnar Martin. Nate VanHorn added to the score off another assist from Martin, putting the Dutchmen up 3-1. Hope went up 4-1 when Bryan Mulder put a penalty kick in the back of the net after he got tripped in the box while cutting up multiple defenders on his way to the goal. Dan Tresslar bent a free kick around a wall of five Airbus opponents to wrap up the scoring. Hope's first victory on the trip proved to raise spirits and confidence and now look to finish strong in the next two games.
Cheers for now from Manchester. We leave tomorrow morning for London where we will finish the trip.Sunday, August 7
by senior Karter Klingenberg of Holland, Mich. and sophomore Ryan Robleske of Kentwood, Mich.
Today we ventured off to the beautiful city of Chester. After departing at 9 a.m. we travelled 35 Kilometres before reaching our destination. Chester is a city which is rich in culture with buildings fully intact dating back to as early as 1100. We took the city bus tour which included many insightful details of the city's history. One interesting thing about Chester is that the city is fully inclosed within a large brick wall. Chester also withholds a breathtaking cathedral that contained a an immaculate garden. After our visit we returned home to watch Chelsea vs. Arsenal soccer game which was the season opener for the English Premier League. The result ended in a Chelsea victory 2-1. At night we had a team jog off to a local park. Exercise wise it was a light day much needed for many of the players.
Saturday, August 6
Friday, August 5
We awoke rather late. This well deserved extra sleep was much appreciated. The morning was devoted to breakfast and preparing for the ride south to Manchester. During this ride the parents and players partook in plethora of different activities.
The activity of choice was definitely napping on the bus while others such as Joey Orr took time to play a spirited game of "Trouble" with the very young members of our tour, namely Brenner and Tanner Schopp. I think they soundly defeated their elderly opponent. The scenery on the southbound venture was absolutely breathtaking. The lush, mountainous, green hills rolled forth from the land with a elegance and vigor that embodied the true spirit of the Scottish Highlands. Dotting these geographic pinnacles were many woolly sheep and milk-laden cows. We then stopped over for a lunch break at a "bonnie wee" village that resembled a Scottish version of the little Dutch village tourist trap that one could find just north of Holland on US 31. The air surrounding this quaint settlement was saturated with the pungent odor of fresh manure (Swiss Perfume) manufactured earlier that day by Scotland's finest. For lunch the majority of the team was fiscally taken advantage of by the local food merchants. Other more frugal members of the squad had packed either Cliff Bars and/or sandwiches assembled during the mornings breakfast. After a wee bit of shopping the entourage resumed the journey southward into England, specifically Manchester.
Here in Manchester we found our accommodations to be exquisitely elegant. The decorative lobby is scattered with extravagant statues, well appointed woodwork, and quality upholstered leather thrones, not to mention an unlimited supply of delicious white mints garnishing the front counter. The training session tonight was directed by our Excel Sports Coach, Murray. His new approach to the game is refreshing and is a great help to the team. The field we played on was a short Astro-turf filed covered in fine sand. This lead to some fun and interesting complications. Though the practice session went well, as planned, members of the team still found it all to easy to slip around on the sand as if they were walking on ice for the first time as toddlers.
The team then headed back to the Hotel for showers and some well deserved rest and preparation for our match tomorrow morning, and to follow, another exciting day of the European Tour.
P.S. The food at this new hotel is out of this world, especially the desserts.
Thursday, August 4
Eventually we got back on the bus to return to Erskine Bridge Hotel for another fine dinner. Many players decided to spend the bus ride preparing for the match in the evening by napping before dinner. Then we were off to play our evening match against the Knightswood Juveniles. Unfortunatly we fell 1-0 to the Scots. After the game we were invited to a local pub to enjoy sandwiches and chips. It was great to chat with the players and just get to learn more about their culture and share some of ours with them. Today was a day full of culture, both ancient and current, which lead to another informative and eye opening experience for us Dutchmen.Wednesday, August 3, 2005
by sophomores Dan Tresslar of Bloomington, Ind. and Mike Amerman of Indianapolis, Ind.
Today we woke up bright and early for a departure to Saint Margaret's Hospice. When we arrived we divided into groups of three and four mixing up with the women's team. The Hospice representatives gave each group a donation bucket along with a bucket of wrist bands similar to the "livestrong" bands. Each one of our bands said, "Say No To Sectarianism" to address the disputes between the Catholic and Protestant communities. Both groups are associated with the top two Scottish professional teams. The communities surrounding the Hospice were very generous and our efforts were successful.
After a successful morning all the players came back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes and soon headed out to Loch Lohman where we witnessed some of the beautiful land Scotland has to offer the world. After a quick peak at the lake we soon headed out to do a little more shopping in the town mall.
Many opportunities arose for families to go out and explore the nature scene of Scotland. After all the scenic views were witnessed the team and family members soon piled back into the double decker bus where we headed back to the hotel for dinner.
After a quick bite to eat and a short nap we were headed to our team building activity. Our coming together as a team took place in the lawn outside of our hotel. In all the activities that we accomplished we learned a little more about our team as a whole. In the sense that we had to work together to accomplish each goal, Butters actually felt as if he was accepted in the team. At the end of the session each player gave one word to represent his feelings about the activity. Some of the words used were; patience, teamwork, focus, and of course...dynamite.
Thanks for keeping up with our trip.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
by seniors Jeff Carlson and Kevin Butterfield
After waking up bright and early at 7:30 for a tasty breakfast, we left for our second training session of the trip. It was fantastic way to start the morning, for it was run by Murray, one of our trip tour guides who coached and played at the professional level in England. We accomplished quite a bit and were exposed to a different style and attitude towards training.
Upon returning to the hotel and grabbing quick showers, we departed for downtown Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. Riding in the lap of luxury, we took a double-decker bus, with the following specs: 71 seats, full air conditioning, an emergency-only toilet (#1 only), 6 CD changer, 4 exits on top, 2 on bottom, and a great view. We walked around the city, shopped some and tried to stay dry as it rained for a while.
In the evening, following our early dinner, we left for our very first match overseas. Our opponents, Hamilton ACCIES, a youth professional club, gave us a great game, resulting in a 1-1 tie. We saw dramatic improvement from the first half to the second, learning a lot from their intensity and creative style of play. Our game-tying goal was scored by Geoff Meyer, resulting from an excellent tackle by Nate Van Horn in the second half. Overall, it was a great first game in many ways, leaving us with some things to work on, as well. We are looking forward to a good night's sleep and an exciting afternoon with the Hope women's soccer team, doing some mission work in a nearby town. Thanks for checking up on how we are doing over here, we appreciate your interest. Go Hope!
Monday, August 1, 2005
The first half of the morning was spent settling in to the hotel, followed by a quick trip to the local shopping mall. After nearly every player bought a pair of soccer socks to use for the morning training session, the bus departed for the local high school soccer field. After a short training session in the beautiful Scottish sun the team made its way back to the hotel for a trip to the pool, showers, and finally the beds. After several of us napped for awhile we were awakened by the dinner bell. Dinner was served in the hotel dining room which overlooks a beautiful river running through the rolling hills of Scotland. There are many tired eyes and I assume it will be an early night for everyone.
There is much anticipation for tomorrow, as we have plans of sightseeing, training, and also participating in our first international match. All has been very well, and we hope the trip continues to go as well as it has thus far. Until the next update, we send our best from the famous land of "God's Country."