By: Director of Athletic Communications & Public Relations Kevin Ruple
BEREA, Ohio -- The Baldwin Wallace University men's and women's soccer teams will spend spring break training and playing a number of "friendly" soccer matches while learning about the country of Costa Rica. This is its first foreign experience in four years and third overall, leaving on Saturday, March 2 and returning on Sunday, March 10.
"This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes to experience another country's culture, while playing competitive matches and setting the tone for our non-traditional season," said veteran men's coach and BW Director of Soccer Reid Ayers. "One of the best takeaways of these types of trips is enhancing our own team culture and creating lifelong memories in this once in a lifetime event."
The Yellow Jackets in the past have toured Italy as well as Scotland and England. On this trip, BW will play two "friendly" games each time they play with the squad of some 35 players splitting in half for the double competition.
"While we are there we will immerse ourselves into the culture as much as possible meeting people and sightseeing discovering what makes the country of Costa Rica so unique," said Ayers, the winningest men's and women's soccer coach in school history. "For me, one of the highlights will be spending an afternoon at a local orphanage giving our time and hopefully creating something very memorable not only for our players but for the local children. The trip should be a great experience."
The men begin their trip in San Jose and then travel to the Rainforest Hotel on the second day to play their first friendly versus a team from San Carlos. The team will tour the rainforest and participate in "zip-lining" on day three before transferring to the Pacific Coast for the fourth and fifth days at the Occidental Tamarindo Resort. Following a tour of the city, the Yellow Jackets play their second friendly on day six.
The trip to the orphanage occurs on day seven in San Jose. Day eight has BW traveling to La Paz to visit the Waterfall Gardens in the morning and play their third friendly that evening. BW returns to Berea the following night.
The BW women will have a different schedule than the men after arriving in San Jose, but second-year Head Coach Jim Wojtkun feels the same as Ayers about the opportunity for his team to grow by leap-and-bounds physically, emotionally and spiritually.
"The trip to Costa Rica gives us both the opportunity to let our players experience another culture while growing together as a team," said Wojtkun. "This type of experience allows us to enrich our players collegiate experience beyond a specific athletic endeavor."
The women arrive din San Jose on Saturda and begin their trip with a walking tour of the city followed by dinner and team bonding. Day two begins with a five-hour trip to the Occidental Tamarindo resort on the pacific coast, followed by an afternoon at the beach and dinner and team bonding.
Day three is the first friendly with day four being travel to the Pacific Coast and day five its Rainforest excursion and zip-lining. The women also will participate in its community service at the orphanage on day seven followed by a trip back to San Jose for friendly game two as well as friendly game three in La Paz the next day.