Women’s Soccer Team travels to Costa Rica

The Roanoke College Women's Soccer Team traveled to Costa Rica on Aug. 4-12 for a preseason trip, spending nine days in San Jose, La Fortuna and Flamingo Beach.

The trip was arranged through Costa Rica Soccer, an organization whose mission is to provide high-quality soccer tours in Costa Rica for soccer players. The tours aim to help players develop themselves on and off the soccer field through international competition, team activities, and cultural experiences.

The Maroons played three games, going 1-1-1. In the first game, against San Carlos, Jessica Welfare '11 scored within the first 15 minutes of the game. San Carlos had a few dangerous moments, but Roanoke came away with a 2-0 win. Carmen Graves '13 was selected by the San Carlos coach as the MVP of the match.

In the second match of the trip, Roanoke tied 1-1 with San Jose (DIMAS). In the third match - played in a 40,000-seat stadium - the Maroons fell, 2-0 to the Alajuela soccer club.

The NCAA allows all sports teams to travel abroad once every four years, regardless of divisions. Roanoke women's soccer teams have traveled to Costa Rica once before, in 2007. In 2004, the team traveled to Germany and Holland.

In addition to playing and training, team members participated in activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, zip lines and sightseeing. They also participated in a community service project at a day care center for underprivileged children. The team's 17 members, with Women's Soccer Coach Philip Benne and Assistant Women's Soccer Coach Esteban Martinez, brought donations, including soccer balls, books, Frisbees and a monetary gift.

"It was a tremendous cultural opportunity and enabled us to train and play quality soccer teams, and combine all of that with team-building activities," Coach Benne said. "It enabled us to come together as a team and get a jump on the 2010 season."

Editor's note: The Maroons finished the 2010 season 13-4-3.