2015 Costa Rica Trip
Follow along with the men’s soccer team as they travel to Costa Rica in anticipation of the 2015 season
Day 6: Our Final Day in Paradise
aclark2 | August 25, 2015
The team’s day started with a 6 a.m. wake up, and after breakfast was finished, we boarded the bus and took a 15 minute ride to practice. Once there, we ran through a quick warm up, filled with plenty of stretching, running, and passing patterns. We then moved in to a possession drill, and finished our morning session with a small-sided game. At the end of practice, Coach Rineer mentioned that tonight’s game was of significant importance because our first real match is about a week away. After changing out of our practice gear, we hopped back on to the bus and headed towards the capital city, San José. Once arriving, Carlos (our tour guide) showed us a market where we were able to buy souvenirs for friends and family. Senior Ian Alers showed us how to correctly bargain with the vendors, and because of his help, the team was able to secure some good deals. Carlos then took us on a tour of the city, which included looks at the national museum, national theater, Costa Rica’s old liquid producing factory, art galleries, and plenty of parks.
We stopped in at a small restaurant for lunch, where everybody either had chicken, fish, or steak. Everybody seemed to enjoy the meal, and with our stomachs full and our feet well rested, we took about a ten minute walk through one of the city’s main squares. While there, we met with a group of Costa Rican students who asked the team to be interviewed for their English project. While waiting for a ride back to the hotel, the freshmen joined in with the Costa Rican students in doing the “Whip” and the “Nae Nae”. We soon climbed back on to the bus and headed back to the hotel, where we had a couple hours of free time. Most of the team was exhausted, and therefore used the time to take a nap.
Most of the guys headed to dinner around 5 p.m. Some of the spots that were visited were an Italian steakhouse, a local taco restaurant, and Outback Steakhouse. We boarded the bus for our final match at 7 p.m. and arrived to the stadium at about 7:20 p.m. After warming up, coach emphasized the importance of high pressure and ball movement. The local Costa Rican team who were from Escazú, took the lead early on off of some sloppy play. The conceding of a goal seemed to give the squad a bit of a wake up call, and Will Corkery equalized a few minutes later with a beautiful left-footed free-kick. The half was split very evenly, and when halftime came around, Coach Rineer challenged the starters to go out and prove that they were better than their opponent. With expectations high for the team this coming year, the senior members of the team knew they had to lead the squad to victory. Colin Seitz, Sam Yarosh, and Brady Seitz all stepped up big time in the second half, and because of their creativity on the ball, high pressing, and pure leadership ability, the Fords grabbed two second half goals. The first goal was scored by Russell Nicholson who turned in a ball with a header after it was flicked on during a set piece. The third goal was scored when senior captain Sam Yarosh’s high pressing and ability to beat defenders was rewarded with a smooth finish by Tejan Walcott. After all was said and done, Coach Rineer was happy that the team bounced back to win 3-1.
The team boarded the bus and took the short ride back to the hotel, where we discussed plans for tomorrow morning. With a 3:30 a.m. wake up time for tomorrow, everybody was quick to pack and get ready for bed. We’ve had a great time in Costa Rica, and have many thanks to give to multiple people, including Carlos (our tour guide), Rigo (our bus driver), Tiffani (our trainer), the coaching staff, and all of the people at Haverford who made this trip possible. We fly in to Houston tomorrow morning, and after a 5 hour layover, we’ll be back in Philadelphia around 8:30 p.m. The Fords are set for a strong season, and Costa Rica was just the beginning.
P.S. Happy birthday to Coach Rineer!
Day 5: An Amazing Day On The Water
aclark2 | August 24, 2015
We started the day bright and early, waking up at 5:30 a.m. to board a 6 a.m. bus. We then rode the bus for just over an hour to a small restaurant where we ate a breakfast consisting of rice and beans, eggs, cheese, and fresh fruit. We quickly hopped back on to the bus, and with most of the guys taking a nap, we trekked another 45 minutes to get to the destination where we would be white water rafting. We hopped on to the back of trucks and took a rocky path down to the Pacuare River. Once there, we split into teams of six and got suited up with life jackets, helmets, and paddles. We then met our guides, and after learning the basic steering directions, we were off on our 19 mile journey. I think the whole team can agree that this experience can’t be described well enough with a blog post. The exciting rapids, funny guides, breathtaking views, and time spent with friends was surely one of the highlights of our trip so far. We had the opportunity to swim down idyllic stretches of water, steer our way through brutally rough class four rapids, and even eat a freshly prepared meal feet away from the scenic river. It was an experience that nobody will forget for a long time, and although a few people took some tumbles into the water, our “Rapid Rescue” training ensured that everybody made it out safely. Although it was a long ordeal, the experience was absolutely worth it.
After changing (we got absolutely soaked), we hopped back on the bus and took about a two hour ride home, arriving at the hotel at around 4:30 p.m. With a practice scheduled for 6:00 p.m., most of the guys rushed back to their rooms in order to take a quick nap before our 5:45 p.m. departure. Coach Rineer expected a high intensity practice, and the squad started the session with a quick warm up/stretch and then got straight into high-paced passing drills. Once the passing drills were completed, we moved into possession with neutral players. Coach Rineer specifically emphasized the importance of creating triangles when passing, along with the use of overlaps and one-two passes. The team shortly broke into two different groups, working on position specific drills. We finished the hour and a half session with an 11 vs. 11 scrimmage. The guys were looking to really push the pace and get into game-fit mode before the final match of the trip.
After practice had finished, we quickly returned to the hotel and showered up before splitting up into three groups (sorted by position) in order to grab a late supper. The defenders and keepers were grouped together, while the midfielders went out to celebrate rising senior and captain Sam Yarosh’s birthday. Now back at the hotel, we will do laundry until the early hours of the morning, with a wake up time set for 6 a.m. in order to eat breakfast and leave the hotel at 6:40 a.m. for a 7 a.m. training session.
aclark2 | August 23, 2015
The team got up at 6:15 a.m. for a 6:30 a.m. team breakfast in the lobby. After receiving our freshly washed laundry, we headed back to our rooms and changed in time to leave for practice at 7 a.m. We arrived to a different location than normal, with the field being one of natural grass rather than the artificial turf surface we had been using in the past. We arrived to the field a tad late, so we got in to our warm up right away. Afterwards, Coach Rineer put the team through some passing drills to both get acclimated to the grass and to get moving a bit more. The team then played 5 v 5 possession with two neutral players, implementing some of the patterns that we had used in the passing drills. A light break ensued, with the team grabbing a drink before moving the nets to play a 7 v 7 scrimmage, using substitutes regularly to keep everybody well-rested ahead of the game later in the day.
We had a lengthy cool-down, and afterwards, some of the local children came down and began to play with us. We began the clinic by breaking the team of boys into three groups, with rising junior Gabe Oppler and rising senior Ian Alers (who is from Costa Rica) doing most of the translating. The boys enjoyed skill contests, shooting games, and 2 v 2 games. With their next match being at 11 a.m., we finished the session at 10:30 a.m. by giving the local team a miniature scrimmage. We took a photo and then said our goodbyes, boarding the bus to go back to the hotel.
The squad had been drained of energy from yesterday’s activities, so it was a relief to know that we’d have about six hours to rest and grab some food. A lot of the guys went down to the pool to help their muscles to recover, while others began to nap. The majority of the team went out to Outback Steakhouse to enjoy a meal, while others went to the food court at the local mall. A lot of sleeping was done in the next couple of hours, with guys wanting to rest up before our second match of the trip. We boarded the bus around 5:45 p.m. and made it to the field in time to warm up. Unfortunately, our opponent was under the assumption that the game was going to begin at 8:00 p.m. rather than 7:00 p.m.. This caused the team to prolong the warm up and then sit around and watch the end of a men’s league game.
We finally hit the field and started the match at about 7:40 p.m.. Brady Seitz opened his preseason scoring account after tucking home a free kick that was served up by Will Corkery. Shortly after, a second goal was scored by the Fords. A great team goal was scored when Sam Yarosh finished a ball that was crossed by Will Edwards. Brady Seitz doubled his tally on the night on a nice piece of individual skill. The team was playing well, and we led 3-0 at halftime. We still dominated ball possession in the second half and were unlucky not to score more goals. The local Costa Rican team scored a goal in the 48th minute of the second half, with the final whistle blowing soon after. Coach Rineer was quite impressed with the 3-1 win, and complimented the squad on using some of the tactics that were introduced in practice sessions.
Dinner at Luna Mezza followed our game, with pizza and pasta being the options. Everybody seemed to enjoy the meal, and after everybody had finished, we walked back to the hotel and headed back to our rooms. We begin tomorrow with a long drive and a white water rafting activity.
P.S. For anybody who is interested, here is a video of one of the lines we rode down yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx6zaLYHyuo
John Kerber takes a selfie with the rest of the team and the local boys that we ran a clinic for.
The squad resting up after our morning session.
Aditya’s first time at Dairy Queen.
A waterfall that is a five minute walk from the hotel.
The local team running through drills.
Sam Miller giving a local some tips at the goalkeeping station.
A panorama of the field that we practiced at.
Day 3: An Action-Packed Day
aclark2 | August 22, 2015
The day began with a 5:15 a.m. wakeup with the squad eating breakfast at the hotel at 5:30 a.m.. We left for our morning practice at 6:05 a.m., and with the team being tired from last night’s contest, Coach Rineer ran a light practice which consisted of a long warm up/stretch, a juggling/jogging session, five to six passing patterns, and then a long cool-down. Before we left practice, the freshman voluntarily jumped in with a local workout group that was dancing along to songs by artists like Pitbull and Don Omar. The upperclassmen and coaching staff got a huge laugh out of it, and some of the upperclassmen even joined in with the freshman. The squad then hopped back on to the bus to head up to see a volcano at one of Costa Rica’s national parks. We stopped at a local bakery on the way to hold us over until lunchtime, and then completed the remainder of the trip to the park. With most of the guys sleeping on the way up, some were surprised to see that upon arrival at the park, the first rainfall of the trip had greeted us. Unfortunately, when we hiked the short distance to get a look at the volcano, it was too foggy for us to see anything. We also tried to get a view of a lagoon that was nearby the volcano, but that view was also covered by the fog. We hopped back on to the bus feeling a little bit disappointed, but our spirits quickly raised again when Carlos, our tour guide, told us that we’d be zip-lining very shortly.
Once we got to the site of Poas Canopy Tours, we had a quick sit-down lunch that filled us up for our upcoming activity. Once the team was all strapped in and ready to go, we hit the lines with most of the guys finding it extremely exhilarating. We rode on 12 lines that ranged anywhere from 200 meters to 600 meters. The group seemed to agree that the last rope, the only rope that measured 600 meters, was the most exciting out of every line that we zipped down. After an exciting finish to our tourist activities for the day, we took the 75 minute bus ride back to the hotel. Coach Rineer gave the team an hour and a half to get rest and get off of their feet, knowing that we’d be going through a tough training session in the evening. Once 6:45 p.m. came around, the team, who were feeling much better than before, took the short bus ride back to our practice stadium. Upon arrival, we worked on defensive shape and then finished the night with an 11 vs. 11 scrimmage. We left the practice facility at about 9:20 p.m., and rushed back to the hotel in order to grab a late dinner before heading to bed. The funniest moment of the day came at dinner, when rising sophomore Russell Nicholson unknowingly ate three jalapeño peppers. He then spent the next 15 minutes trying to get rid of the spice in his mouth, with one of the strategies being eating mouthfuls of sour cream at a time. The team all seemed to have a good laugh, which was a good ending to a long but rewarding day. Coach Rineer told the squad that he was impressed with the second training session of the day, and that we should look to play with a high level of intensity in tomorrow night’s game. Another early wakeup awaits us tomorrow, for we have a practice from 7-9 a.m.. We are all looking forward to tomorrow night’s match, and look to improve on the performance that we had on Thursday.
Day 2: Practice and Game #1
aclark2 | August 21, 2015
Today began with quite an early wakeup time, with a delicious breakfast being served at 6 a.m., followed by departure for practice at 7:20. With a good night of rest under their belts, the guys eagerly anticipated getting down to business and starting the first training session of the week. We arrived at the stadium at about 7:45, and knocked some balls around until Colin Seitz and Sam Yarosh (the team captains) led the team through a high-energy warmup. After the warmup, Coach Rineer previewed the practice with the team and then led the squad over to do the beep test. Every team member got in to double digits, with Russell Nicholson and Ben Field tying for first place.
The team then moved in to passing patterns, filled with plenty of complex and swift movements. The team then broke up in to the back six (defenders and holding midfielders) and the front four (attacking midfielders and strikers). The back six worked on moving the ball out of our own half with limited pressure, while the front four worked on passing, fitness, and finishing. The squad was then broken up in to four teams of seven, and we scrimmaged for about 15 minutes. After a quick rest, the field opened up and an 11 vs. 11 scrimmage occurred.
The practice session ended with a cool down and some encouraging words from Coach Rineer. After returning to the hotel from Escazu at about 10:30, the team had a few hours of free time. A lot of guys headed down to the pool to recover and get off of their legs, while some others headed down to a local mall to stock up on food and drinks for the week. We ate lunch as a team around 1:00 p.m., and we were treated to some of Costa Rica’s more popular food like rice, beans, beef, and fried plantains. The guys then headed back to their rooms and got ready for the 3:00 departure time. The bus ride to Cartago took about an hour, and along the way, we were able to take a quick stop and see The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Carlos, our tour guide, told us that on August 2nd of every year, over two million Costa Ricans make a religious pilgrimage to this church in order to visit the Virgen de los Ángeles, the Virgin of Costa Rica.
We arrived to the field at around 4:15 and began to warm up around 5:00 for the 6:00 kickoff. We played a team comprised of boys ages 17-20. The home team got on the board first, scoring a goal that was allowed although one of their attacking players was offsides. Freshman Ryan Hill slotted home a few minutes later to tie the game. In the first few minutes of the second half, we went down 2-1. Moments after conceding, the Seitz twins linked up to score what we all thought was the tying goal, but the referee ruled that the ball had gone out of bounds. We conceded late and ended up losing 3-1, but Coach Rineer said that he was happy with the efforts of the squad, noting that it was only our first scrimmage and that we had plenty of time to build on our efforts.
We stopped for dinner on the way home and had a quick bite to eat, and on the way home we were able to watch some soccer on the TV that’s on the bus. We got back to the hotel at around 10:00 and Coach gave us some departing remarks on both tonight’s game and the schedule for tomorrow. With our clothes currently in the laundry, we are all set for a 5:15 wakeup time tomorrow morning, but we are all having a great time and are looking forward to the many events that are planned for tomorrow.
aclark2 | August 20, 2015
The day started with a 6:50 a.m. report time at the GIAC, and soon after, we boarded the bus and headed to the Philadelphia International Airport. Everybody was in high spirits, with the upperclassmen looking to build on a strong finish to last year’s season. We were able to check in and pass through security relatively smoothly, and we then headed to our gate. After grabbing breakfast and catching up with fellow teammates, the team boarded a 10:45 a.m. flight bound for Houston. We ended up siting on the runway for an extra 40 minutes waiting for planes to taxi, but around 11:20 a.m., we took off into the clear skies. The flight lasted just over three hours, with most of the guys catching up on some sleep. After a smooth and successful landing, the team disembarked and split up in order to find some food for lunch, with Panda Express being the most popular option among the squad. After killing a few hours in the airport, we headed on to the plane bound for San José, the capital of Costa Rica, and more importantly, our home for the next six days. The flight lasted about three and a half hours, but seemed to go much more quickly. Most of the team slept again, but a few members teamed up to play some card games. Seniors Ian Alers, Brady Seitz, and Colin Seitz passed the time by racing each other in a Mario Kart game that was downloaded on their computers. Ian seemed to claim the majority of the victories.
A picture of the sunset that the team experienced while on the way to Costa Rica.
The plane reached the airport at about 6:30 p.m. (CST), and to most of the team’s surprise, it was already pitch black outside. We passed through customs without any problems, and after going through the ordeal of picking up our suitcases and exchanging money, we were able to meet our tour guide for the week, Carlos. Carlos took the team to the hotel, and upon receiving the keys for the rooms, each team member went to their room to unpack. The relaxation did not last for long, for Coach Rineer ordered the team down to the hotel’s gym in order to step up on to the treadmill and complete a 2.5 kilometer run in ten minutes. With the team following a summer workout plan from the end of May to the beginning of August, the run seemed to be completed with relative ease. After the workout was completed, we quickly showered and then headed down to the hotel restaurant, where we were served a delicious meal that included salad, steamed vegetables, pasta, chicken, and a sliver of chocolate cake. For entertainment during dinner, we were able to catch the end of the CONCACAF Champions League match that featured the Seattle Sounders and CD Olimpia, a Honduran team. Coach Rineer ended the night with reminding us that we’d be facing the beep test in the morning, a test we all hope to be successful with. Not yet adjusted to being two hours behind Eastern Standard Time, the team headed up to bed at around 10:00 p.m. (local time). An early wakeup awaits us tomorrow, but we’re all excited to be here, and we can’t wait to see what the next couple of days have in store for the squad.
The team enjoying dinner at the hotel restaurant.