Iowa Soccer Tour Blog

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May 24, 2019

Hey Hawk fans!
Claire here to close up the trip! As I’m sure you’ve read, we are back home in Iowa now after quite a day of traveling on May 22.
What a trip! Words can’t describe how amazing the past 10 days turned out to be. First of all, we kept the undefeated streak going, which will be crucial for us going into the summer and the fall season. A lot of players got a lot of minutes, allowing for everyone to continue growing and getting better! I’m excited to see how far this group will go this upcoming 2019 season.
As for the rest of the trip, I’m not sure I have enough room to summarize what all we got to do and see! Germany was full of history and stunning architecture. I think my favorite part was the boat tour in Hamburg. We got to see the shipyard and how they build new yachts and carrier ships. Emma was enticed by some of the career opportunities there so stay tuned to see if she ends up back in Europe following graduation! Copenhagen was full of other adventures. There we got to do another boat tour and explore the city and a castle. The half-day trip to Sweden was also a lot of fun and has inspired me to want to return and learn more someday.
While the previous blog posts go into detail about what we saw and learned on a day-to-day basis, I can say that as a whole, our team left Europe with a better understanding of German and Danish culture as well as the way people in other parts of the world play soccer. These are lessons we will carry with us for the rest of our lives, and I can’t thank coach Dave (DiIanni) and the rest of the staff enough for making this unforgettable trip possible. 

Claire Graves

May 22, 2019

Hey Hawkeye fans!

After 18 hours of traveling, we are finally back in Iowa City. Two flights and Two long bus rides can really be exhausting. We flew out of Copenhagen at 2 p.m. and arrived in Chicago at 7 p.m.. We got to stop in Iceland again and could see the beautiful views from our windows.

The highlight of today was probably sitting next to Kaleigh, Emma, and Sydney on the bus ride from our FCN hotel to the Copenhagen airport. We talked about how Lars dyed his hair last summer and how Sydney is going to become President some day. Sydney, Nat, and I then went over my plans to marry a prince one day and become a princess.

After a long trip, it was nice to set foot back in the United States. The time change is going to be difficult to readjust to but the trip was definitely worth it.

I also got about a month supply of the best chocolates so a lot of positives from this trip.

Thanks for reading my post. 🙂


Devin Burns

May 21, 2019

Hej from Denmark! 

It is May 21, our final day of sight-seeing and playing before we head back to Iowa City. The team started off the day with breakfast at Hotel FCN, and then we headed to Hillerød, Denmark, to visit the Frederiksborg Castle. Our guide for the trip, Sven, is a native Dane and took us on a tour of the castle. Throughout the tour, Sven told us about the history of the Danish royal family and the construction of the castle itself. He also pointed out that the current Crown Prince of Denmark, Frederik, is married to a commoner, which is Devin’s new backup plan for after graduation. Once we got to the castle’s party hall, Sven took a break from the fact-giving so that Bianca could help him demonstrate ‘Les Lanciers,’ a traditional Danish ballroom dance. 

After we finished touring the Frederiksborg Castle, we had some free time in Hillerød to eat lunch and shop. Then, it was back to the hotel for some rest ahead of our final game against BSF. We won 2-0 to finish the spring 2019 season undefeated. After the game, we ate barbecue with the BSF players at their organization’s clubhouse, before getting on the bus back to the hotel to shower and pack up. Today was full of learning both on and off the field, and  tomorrow we will have to say goodbye to Europe when we fly from Copenhagen to Chicago. 

–Sydney Blitchok 

May 20, 2019

Hey Hawk fans,

Today was game day against FC Nordsjælland (FCN), but before that we took a small adventure out to Hellsingborg, Sweden!

To start off our day we had our usual breakfast, which I have to give a major shout out to FCN’s hotel croissants because they were my favorite part of breakfast by far.

After, we all headed back to our rooms to get ready for our ferry ride over to Sweden. Once we got there our cool Danish friend Sven, took us up to Sweden’s symbolic Kärnan, a castle tower look out, which was the remanence of the once upon a time fortress! It had an amazing view of the water and the town. We took a good amount of photos, capturing some good memories, which of course can be found on Hawkeye soccer’s Instagram page.

We then had some free time to ourselves to explore the town where we found small boutique shops, a candy store, and other unique Swedish stores. After some shopping my group and I were on a hunt for some good food and came across a small side restaurant called “Vibes”. They specialized in Poké bowls, but a few of us decided to try out a Gyro cafe around the corner (I give the food that afternoon a solid A+ btw). Some of the girls were craving sweets so we went back toward the town centers pastry shop and tried a cinnamon role thing, called a Kanelbulle, which was recommended to try while being in Sweden.

Later that evening we had our second game of the trip against a mix of FCN’s reserve and full team. The weather that day was perfect for soccer! After a competitive first half and a composed second half, we were able to end the game with a 5-2 win! We then got all cleaned up back at the hotel and ended our night with dinner accompanied by a few FCN players!

As always, we would like to thank all of the Hawkeye families who came out to support us internationally and of course our amazing Hawkeye fans!


Bianca Acuario

May 19, 2019

Hey Hawkeye fans, coming to you guys from Copenhagen, Denmark, where we spent our seventh day of our European trip. I have to say this day has been one of my favorites so far.

To start the day we went on a little run as a team to get our legs moving. After we watched the men’s FCN team play in the stadium attached to our hotel. It was such a great game to watch full of action, ending in a 2-2 draw. Following the game we had lunch at the hotel restaurant with some chicken, pasta, and salad — great fuel for what was to come.

Loading up the bus, we went to downtown Copenhagen where we had free time to explore. From coffee shops, waffles, ice cream, shopping, site-seeing, fancy dinners, and tower climbing, we definitely were kept busy. A group also went to Tivoli Gardens, the oldest amusement park in the world! Once rides and exploring the park came to a close, we were ready to wrap up the day.

We are all so excited to spend some time in Swedon tomorrow and get a chance to test our soccer skills against the women’s FCN team in the same stadium we were spectators in today. We are loving the experiences we are getting on this trip so far, check back in tomorrow to hear more.

Hannah Drkulec

May 18, 2019

Hey Hawks!

Today, we were told some unfortunate news at breakfast.  The team we were planning to play at noon had food poisoning, and they did not have enough players for a full-sided game.  Instead, we had a quick practice at FCN before we headed out for the day. At practice, we played 5-v-2 and scrimmaged for around 50 minutes.
After practice, we had to quickly shower and change since we had lunch reservations at Dalle Valle at 1 p.m. I hopped on the bus at 12:30 p.m., and we headed off toward downtown.  Dalle Valle was a lunch buffet that had food ranging from liver to dolmathaki. I also got to head across the street post-lunch to buy a flat-white, which was my favorite part of the day.
By 2:30 p.m., we boarded a canal tour that lasted one hour.  The tour gave a quick history of Copenhagen and highlighted the hot spots.  Right after the tour we headed to the Danish Women’s Cup Final and watched Fortuna Hjorring win the game!

After a long day of soccer and sight-seeing, we went to have pizza for dinner at FCN stadium.  With a little down time, Lars, Bella, and I walked to the local sculpture park and then headed home to get a good night rest.  Overall, the day was filled with unforgettable memories with teammates and staff!

Signing off,
Kaleigh Haus

P.S. My roommates from the last hotel were full of fun and laughter (Sammi and Olivia).
P.S.S. Emma and Josie are making a strong case for best roommates, however.

May 17, 2019

What a day. We started in Germany, ferried to Denmark, and arrived at our hotel for a quick turnaround to the Danish Cup Final game between Brondby and FC Midtyland. The Danish Cup Final game has by far been the highlight of the trip. Upon arrival at the stadium, we could immediately feel the excitement surrounding the event. People swarmed the stadium, a beer in one hand and their team flag in the other. Even before entering the stadium, we could hear the chants echoing through the streets.

After a quick pat-down and takk (thank-you), we stepped foot into the madness. People were everywhere. Fans, flags, and Danish dogs filled every inch. We maneuvered our way to our front row seats, practically on the field, we cheered on both teams.

At the start of the game, we thought the fans had gone mad. Fireworks were shot off from the balconies and smoke filled the stadium.You could not even see across the field by the time the national anthem began. The national anthem, by the way, was insane. Every single person sang with so much passion.

As the game started, the crowd’s cheers only got louder. One team scored, another team scored, and Drago was kissed by some fans. The speed, agility, and tactical awareness of the players awed us all. Neither Brondby and FC Midtlland ever seemed to tire. After going to overtime, and PKs, FC Midtylland prevailed. Everyone went crazy. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. American soccer fans definitely need to step up their enthusiasm toward soccer! 🙂

Isabella Blackman

May 16, 2019

Hey Hawk Fans!

I saw a lot of really historical places today. The first thing we did was go to Neuengamme, a concentration camp in northern Germany. There, we had a two-hour tour of the area and learned a lot about what happened there during World War II. It was an emotion time for our head tourist, Sven, because his dad was held prisoner of war at Neuengamme. He told us many stories about how horrible the conditions were there and we learned alot about his experience.

After this, we headed to Hamburg and did a boat tour where we learned alot about the port of Hamburg. Afterwards, we got to explore the city. I ate bratwurts and did a lot of fun shopping. The culture is very different here, and it’s interesting to communicate with the people who speak a different language.

Natalie Winters

May 15, 2019

Hey Hawks! 

Good news: Your Hawks are still undefeated! We won 4-0 against the top women’s team in Northern Germany. Even so, my favorite part about today was having dinner with some of the players from the Holstein-Kiel team. I chatted with Mary and Susan, who were both so sweet and easy to talk to. Fortunately, they knew a fair amount of English so we were able to have good conversation. We learned about their studies, what they like to do, and cultural differences between the U.S. and Germany. My biggest take away was while there are a lot of differences between Germany and the U.S., the people are not much different. There’s comfort in knowing that you can be halfway across the world and have the same conversation with someone from a whole different country than you could have right at home.
Earlier today we went to a castle in Schwerin and learned a lot of German history from our tour guide. The most recent significant event in Germany was the removal of the Berlin Wall that divided East and West Germany. This was 30 years ago and in retrospect, that is hardly any time at all. There are still signs of the division, as we are staying in East Germany at the Haus de Sports and East Germany is slightly delayed in modernized technology. The WiFi hasn’t worked for my phone so I haven’t used it once this whole trip, which is actually kind of nice. It would be nice to have an idea of where I am and where the closest stores are and what not, but I’m thankful to use this time to invest in the present.
This is my first time ever being to Europe and I am bewildered by the new perspective I’m experiencing. I can see why people always say it’s important to travel and see how other countries operate. When I go home, I will have a different outlook on the way things work and a broader understanding for the patience that is necessary in life. 

It has been a long day so I’m signing off for now. I can’t wait to get back to the hotel to rest up for another day of adventure tomorrow! 
Guten nacht!
Leah Moss

May 14, 2019

Hey Hawk fans!
We just capped our first day in Germany. After a long day of traveling, we arrived at our sports hotel where we met up with our guide and got settled before training. We are paired up 2-3 girls to a room (I’m paired with Cora and Skylar) in dorm style rooms. The place we are staying at is actually a place where kids are sent to live and play soccer and other sports all at the same time which is so cool. Half of the rooms have balconies with an amazing view of the soccer fields!

Our first training session was a success. We spent the first part getting our legs moving again after being on buses and planes for so long then went into some larger drills to get us working as a team and getting us ready for our first game tomorrow! Being able to train in such a cool place is an experience I’m sure we will all remember forever. After training we all went to the cafeteria for dinner. Despite going in not knowing what to expect in terms of food, they had sandwiches, salads, fruit, pasta, and a good mix of foods that are unique to Germany. The pasta was a big hit, not only with the girls, but with the coaching staff as well. My favorite part was getting to take a shower at the end of the day. Being able to wash off all the traveling and a bit of the jet lag was much needed. We ended our day with some free time allowing us to walk around the city a bit and explore! We found castles, and steeples, and the cutest little cobble road lined with colorful houses (many pictures were taken here). Unfortunately, by the time we started walking around a lot of the stores were closed, but we get a chance to explore some more tomorrow so be on the lookout for some more exploration posts!
Olivia Fiegel

Photo Gallery 

May 13, 2019 

We started the day off in Iowa City with a quick lift and training. We then got onto a bus and headed toward Chicago to catch our flight. On the bus everyone was very excited it was a lot of people’s (myself included) first time to Europe. Our flight left for Reykjavik at 7 p.m. It was only about six hours, but when we landed we only had 30 minutes to get through customs and onto our connecting flight to Hamburg, Germany. After sprinting through customs and the airport, we boarded our flight. A quick three or so hours later we arrived around 1 p.m. local time.

After arriving we started our journey to Hotel des Sports in Schwerin. This is a “Sports Hotel” which was built during the Soviet’s occupation of West Germany. Kids 12 and older live here and attend school and play sports competitively. On the bus ride over we ate some great pizza that was paper thin and quite different from American pizza. After a short bus ride we were at the hotel.

Shortly after arriving we did a light training session. Most people had slept 3-5 hours on the plane and weren’t looking too good. Once we warmed up and started moving around everyone seemed to feel better. After our session we had dinner at the cafeteria on site at Sports des Hotel and walked around Schwerin. Schwerin is a quaint town filled with ponds and lakes. Kaleigh, Lars, Bella, and I had the opportunity to try a doner from a local shop, which was quite good. Afterwards we walked around a pond and headed back to the hotel and went to bed around 10:30.

Emma Tokuyama

May 12, 2019

Hi Hawk fans, Claire Graves here!
As I’m sure all of you know, this group of soccer Hawks is about to be wheels up to Europe for 10 days of competition and sight-seeing! It will definitely be a welcomed trip after finishing up a long couple of weeks of finals and final projects.
This whole spring has been great for our group. From the first week we knew it was all about continual growth and commitment to the process of getting better for this European tour and our fall season. We did just that; we got better every day and had a lot of fun doing it! We also welcomed a few new faces, the Sams and coach Blair, who seemed to fit right in with the team and help us continue on our journey. Oh, and we went UNDEFEATED! Hopefully we can keep our good streak going overseas!
We are all so excited to spend this time together immersed in different cultures. For many girls, this will be their first time in Europe, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend that first experience! I know all of us are looking forward to each city and the sight-seeing opportunities we will have. We will get to go to the world’s oldest amusement park, take a canal cruise, and tour a castle. Additionally, we will get to tour a concentration camp while in Germany, an experience that I am certain will have a deep impact on us all. It will be a 10 days full of improving, learning, and excitement that we can’t wait to get started.
Thank you to everyone who has made this possible — from funding to organizing and planning — we are so fortunate to have this experience ahead of us. We can’t wait to share more with you as the trip progresses!

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