Beaches, training and the first match!
Sunday, July 22
Sunday morning kicked off with a training session for the girls, Coach Ryan, and Coach Tommy. Training was hosted at a local club facility and with jet lag behind them, the girls not only got motivated for the week ahead, but also got a great sense of the resources that support local clubs in Europe. Following training, the team donned their swim gear and headed to Skanor Beach to enjoy swimming, multiple rounds of beach soccer, lots of sunshine and finally an incredible dinner at a local beach restaurant, Badhytten.
While the girls were training, ASA parent chaperones were able to take a quick trip to Copenhagen to enjoy lunch and sightseeing. Following lunch, they met the girls at Skanor Beach in time for a little R&R. The beach town was quaint and charming offering the girls an opportunity to experience coastal Sweden in all its beauty.
Monday, July 23
Monday began with a morning training session with a local Malmo girls team, LB07. The girls were jointly coached by ASA and Swedish coaches and enjoyed drills and technical training. Albeit a warm day in Sweden, our ASA girls acclimated quickly. The Swedish girls and ASA formed mixed teams and finished training with a friendly scrimmage. With most of the Swedish girls fluent in English, communication flowed fairly easily.
Following training, the team grabbed lunch and then headed off for a fun challenge of Swedish orienteering with Sweden’s largest Orienteering Klubb. After a quick introduction, the girls were individually challenged to navigate an orienteering course in a densely wooded park covering 100+ acres. There was a lot of smack talk over who might win (could it be Ryan? Or Tommy?) and the girls were released a few minutes apart and embarked to locate 11 markers along a 2.5 mile trek. Despite lots of bark and bravado, there was a clear winner! Congrats to Charlotte McGuire who completed the course (on her own) in 40 minutes.
With several individual times coming in at over 90 minutes(!!) you might say a few folks ‘got lost,’ LOL. Everyone was safe, had a load of fun, and we were off to refresh at the hotel before a nice dinner at a beautiful restaurant with a courtyard garden.
Tuesday, July 24
ASA had an early morning departure to Ystad for their first game against the IK Pandora FF team. The complex located in southern Sweden was comprised of 7 fields, both turf and grass, and had great facilities. Our hosts were very friendly and we were treated to an AOXY tradition of playing both countries national anthems at the start of the game.
With the heat soaring in the 80’s (unseasonably warm for Sweden) we played (3) 30-minute rounds. The ASA girls found their rhythm quickly and were victorious with a 4–0 win!
Following the game, the team headed to Ales Stenar, one of Sweden’s most popular tourist destinations. Over 1,400 years old, the Ales Stenar stones form a monument and tribute to Viking ships. The beautiful walk up to the plateau was covered with golden grains and sheep. The team had lunch and ice cream in the fishing village and the team and girls took lots of fun pictures.
To round out the day, on the way back to Malmo, the team stopped at a small coastal town, enjoyed a quick swim, and dinner overlooking the water.
Thank you to guest blogger Petra Maruca for providing these updates from the trip!