TRELLEBORG, Sweden – Washington men’s soccer has arrived in Europe for their two week trip through Scandinavia. The Huskies will travel to Sweden and Denmark as part of a soccer intensive trip that will also provide the team an opportunity to experience the European culture and bond as a team.
Head coach Jamie Clark expects a fun, but productive trip for a group that is expected to contend for the Pac-12 and NCAA Championships. GoHuskies.com got a chance to talk to coach Clark just before the team left for Europe.
GoHuskies: What are the goals of this trip?
JC: “The group’s excited about heading to Sweden and Denmark. It’s an exciting time that the University of Washington can allow players to see the world. It’s obviously more than just a cultural trip, there is a huge soccer component to it. They’re fun countries to go to, but they’re countries that a lot of Americans succeeded in and they’re countries that certainly our guys will potentially look to play in. Beyond getting better as team, hopefully we get some exposure for down the line. These are potentially places they could end up in one day. There is an allure to playing in Europe, but it brings a little bit of reality to the guys about what it’s all about, what these clubs look like. A lot of times it’s not as glamorous as they think so this is really is an exciting time.”
GoHuskies: What type of opposition will the team face?
JC: “The games we have lined up are against a little bit lower division teams and so it will really show the depth and the number of good players that are in those countries. I think it should push us. I’m hoping to get some games we lose as well as we win because you want to be learning lessons and if you’re winning all your games you’re probably not learning as many, or as much about your team. Overall, just the ability to keep guys together in the summer and play, it’s just fantastic and these guys love it. They’re having the time of their lives and once they get over there it will be the combination of getting better every day while being able to turn off the switch and become a tourist to the sites here and learn other cultures.”
GoHuskies: Have you been to these countries before?
JC: “I’ve been to Sweden and Denmark. I’ve never played in either, but I was actually supposed to go play once but I never ended up going. I did go and do almost this identical trip four years ago with Notre Dame and I was actually just scouting at the time, but it was a great trip and the games were good. They are really easy countries to go visit with great, friendly people, so it really makes the whole travelling piece that much easier. The other part is even though those teams aren’t in the World Cup it will be fun to be in another country during the World Cup.”
GoHuskies: How much of this time do you spend ironing out lineup with the season getting closer?
JC: “It’s getting close enough where we’ll try to put our first 11 together two or three times and then hopefully look down our depth chart a couple times too. It really is great because before the freshmen get here for next fall, we give all the upper classmen a chance really stake their claim into the lineup. The trip is going to be a great time, but great teams know when to turn off and turn on. This team knows it’s a serious trip about getting better, but it’s also going to be really fun.
GoHuskies.com: What kind of site seeing and other things are you doing?
JC: “We’re hitting two great cities in Copenhagen and Stockholm so we’ll spend time around both of those. We are opening training camp in a small town called Trelleborg, which is in Sweden, just south of Copenhagen. It is a beach town, so we’re going to be right on the beach for the first five days. It will be great, it will feel like what a professional season feels like where you’re training a couple times and then you get to enjoy the beach or relax. We’re going to be removed, and then we’ll go to the city and enjoy the city and get some history and then Stockholm will be fantastic, such a beautiful city.
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