We have successfully made it to Portugal!
Day 1: The team met up with Coach Bathory, Coach Wilber, and Coach Walts at the Newark International Airport for our late afternoon flight. After waiting for some stragglers to arrive we checked our bags and headed for the security screening. Despite a few minor security set-backs all 34 of us made it to the gate and boarded our plane on time.
During the flight, our entertainment systems were down, so we had to improvise in amusing ourselves for the six hours to Lisbon. The fortunate ones slept their way to Lisbon, some pulled out their laptops for movies or iPhones to listen to music, and others caught up with the juniors (Jack Bodine, Geoff Geppert, Andrew Fenaroli, Will Weissberg and Brandon Boccellari) on their abroad escapades.
Day 2: We touched down in Lisbon at approximately 6 a.m. Before we knew it, we were on day 2 of our trip. After picking up our bags and maneuvering through customs, we met up with our Portuguese tour guide, Pedro, and a videographer who will be documenting our time in Portugal. Grabbing a quick breakfast, we boarded a coach bus headed for Monte Gordo.
Jet-lagged, most of the team spent the three-hour bus ride catching up on sleep. It wasn’t until freshmen PJ Jackson and Paul Hackett turned up the volume on their portable speakers, that the team woke up and looked out the window to see the ocean fast approaching. Weaving through the quiet streets of Monte Gordo, our bus finally pulled up to our ocean-front hotel.
Excited to hit the field, we unloaded our bags quickly, explored the surrounding area for lunch, packed up, and headed to the field for the first practice of our 2014 season.
The first practice did not disappoint. From beginning to end the level of intensity was high, and the level of trash-talking was even higher. The coaches did not hold back, throwing us into full-speed drills off the bat. James Washington and Andrew Fenaroli brought the energy, Jack Bodine brought the vocals, and player-coach Nick Schoen had the goalies on their heels. From the looks of it, the Brits will have their hands full tomorrow.
After practice, despite curious glares from the locals, the full team sprinted into the ocean (video coming) to wash off the last 30+ hours and soak in the fact that we are finally here, and ready for whatever Portugal has in store for us.