By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Dave DiIanni has been eyeing a foreign trip for the University of Iowa soccer program for some time. In May, the Hawkeyes are going abroad.
Iowa will travel to Germany, Sweden, and Denmark for a 10-day, eight-night tour from May 13-22. The Hawkeyes will play three games, while getting an opportunity of a lifetime to travel abroad.
“I have been working on this for a couple of years,” said DiIanni. “We want to expose our student-athletes to cultures outside of our country, both for soccer and to experience different cultures.
“This will not only be a team-bonding opportunity for our team, but it will challenge us as soccer players, competing against high-level competition. The team will be together in a foreign country and be able to observe things that most have only read in history books. This trip will be life-changing and an experience we will all remember for years to come.”
The Iowa Soccer Tour begins in Lubeck, Germany — a 12th-century medieval city that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hawkeyes will tour the city of Hamburg and Neuengamme concentration camp, visit Imtech Stadium — the home of Hamburg HSV, and play their first game May 16.
The Hawkeyes will transfer to Copenhagen — the Danish capital — where they will take in a Danish Cup final in the National Stadium. The team will take a day trip to Sweden, visiting Malmo or Helsingborg and will play its second game on May 18.
Following a training session with a FCN professional coach in the FCN Stadium on May 19, the Hawkeyes will get a guided tour of central Copenhagen, including the famous canal cruise and Amalienborg Palace. The following day, Iowa will tour Fredericksborg Castle before playing their final game May 20.
Following a free day in Copenhagen and a visit to Tivoli Gardens, Iowa will return from their tour May 22.
DiIanni hopes the foreign trip can springboard the Hawkeyes into the fall season, where the team will be an upperclassmen-laden group. Team will have 11 seniors on the roster and return all but one starter in 2019.
“We are returning 24 field players and three goalkeepers that will make the trip and test their abilities against three high-level professional teams,” said DiIanni. “This trip can create excitement and a renewed passion leading into summer training.
“We are looking to carry the momentum from the Europe trip, first into the summer workouts and then making sure we are prepared for the season in August. We have talked a lot about winning championships and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament with this group, and we feel like this team has an opportunity to fulfill that goal for our program.”