Falcons go overseas to prep for season

Falcons go overseas to prep for season
(The Folsom Lake College women's soccer team took a 10-day trip to Spain in early August, where they played three international "friendlies", were coached by international soccer stars, and bonded over Spanish cuisine (and ice cream!).
Sophomore midfielder Mikayla Smith agreed to provide us with this unique accounting of the team's European Vacation....)
After a plane flight from SFO and a short layover in England, the Folsom Lake College Women's
Soccer team touched down in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday, August 6.   We departed the airport
on a private shuttle to a hotel in the beautiful beach town of Castelldefels. After checking into our
rooms we walked just two blocks downtown to see the shops and beach of Castelldefels. The town
was intimate with lots of new scents and sights, including of course, Gelato! There the team had time
to check out the beach for the first time and grab a quick snack. Afterwards, we packed up and
headed to the first training session of the trip just ten minutes from the hotel, where we focused on
getting acclimated to the humidity and the time change. The energy was high and the team was
lively!  Dinner that night consisted of a four course meal.  Soon after, it was off to bed as it was going to be another exciting day in Spain the next day!
On Wednesday the team woke up bright and early to head to a professional coaching clinic with Emma Byrne,
former player for Arsenal and the Ireland Women's National Team. We then had a chance to walk around the
city of Barcelona for some shopping and lunch. There we walked through the well known Gothic Quarter
and Las Ramblas.
Soon after, we packed up and began our tour of Barcelona city. We stopped at the La Sagrada
Familia to take a tour of the enormous cathedral. Our day ended with a tour of Park Güell, a public
park filled with sculptures and gardens, both of which were designed and built by world renowned
modernist architect, Gaudi. Back at the hotel we topped off the day with pasta and ice cream!
Thursday was game day and the team was more than ready for our first game of the season. The
Falcons played their opening match vs Mataro FC of Spain. Although it was just an
international friendly that didn't count for our record, we were hungry to finally play an outside
opponent. We came out with a 4-1 win! After the game we piled onto the bus for a ride back to
Barcelona for another few hours of lunch and shopping. We ventured into a large marketplace with
lots of fresh fruit, smoothies, meats, cheeses and bustling crowds of people. Our next stop was what
everyone had been patiently waiting for. Camp Nou home of FC Barcelona! There we had the
opportunity to take a tour of the history of the team and stadium. We got to visit the stadium, the field
and the locker room. After a long and successful day, the team headed back to the hotel early and
were released to take some time to ourselves to go to the beach or chill out by the pool.
The next day we had a day off from soccer and took advantage of the time and slept in. Around ten the team
took to the beach for some volleyball. Later, we all met for lunch and had pasta and creme brûlée.
After, we went to the Montserrat Natural Park where we enjoyed a ride on the Montserrat Rack
Railway up the mountain of Saint Jeroni. At the top of the mountain we visited the beautiful
Monastery and touched the hand of the 12th century Black Madonna.That night the team took a trip
into the town of Tarragona to see a soccer match between professional teams Nastic vs. Girona FC.
After the game it was straight to bed.
We had our second match the next evening against Club Esportiu Technifutbol Salou! Saturday made
for a relaxing morning of sleeping in and brunch. We headed out for some sightseeing and food in the
beach town of Sitges, a wealthy town founded by the Bacardi family. The team sat down for a nice meal
at a restaurant named Cafeteria Montroig.  After the meal we explored the many shops and boutiques of the
bustling beach town. A few hours later the team jumped back on the bus and shifted our focus to the second
game of the trip. We took on the small club of Esportiu Technifutbol Salou and dominated with a win 9-1. Despite
the hometown loss, both times really appreciated the international game. That night we went back to the
hotel for a late dinner and prep for our biggest match of the trip.
The team started their day on Sunday with a trip down to the beach for a volleyball tournament and some swimming
in the Mediterranean. A regional specialty, Seafood Paella and Gazpacho was served for lunch at the
hotel. The team then took the field in the afternoon for their last game of the trip. We had the
opportunity to play at a professional stadium against a First division Women's team, Seagull CE. We
did not get the result, however the opportunity to play such a high level team was very beneficial for
the team and was a great experience.
For our final day in Barcelona we made sure to be up early to further explore the city one last time and get some
last minute souvenirs while the coaches went to observe the training session of RCD Espanyol women's team. The
team stopped for lunch and fInally got some strawberry and chocolate Crepes! Post lunch we and the coaches met
back up at the hotel and prepared for their last training session. After practice we got some time off to cruise
around Castdefelles for the last time. We found our way to the beach and played some nighttime
beach volleyball.
The last day we were up and packed by 6 AM ready for a full day of travel. As we
all returned home we can all agree that this trip has been an experience of a lifetime. We were able
to challenge ourselves playing against foreign teams, we learned a lot about Spanish culture, but
most importantly we learned a lot about each - other furthering our relationships as not only
teammates but as a family. Adios!
-Mikayla Smith