River crossing the ocean

Usually, when the River Soccer Club travels to compete, it’s within the state or in the region. But on July 30, the U14 Raiders and the U18 Celtics will ditch their E-Z passes for passports as they head to the United Kingdom to participate in international play.

According to trip organizer Rebecca Mais, the River Soccer Club will begin its 10-day trip with competition in London, England, before heading to Sterling University in Scotland to participate in the Loch Lomond tournament.

The River Soccer Club is one of two American groups participating in the Loch Lomond tournament and will be joined by Irish, Scottish and English teams as well.

Being that soccer is the most popular sport in the world, the River Soccer Club will certainly benefit from playing against serious international competition, as well as learning about another culture.

“They’re definitely going to see a better play of soccer,” River Soccer Club Board of Director Member Howard Gerken said. “They have a bigger commitment to the game there, but it will also be a great opportunity for the kids to go to world-famous places they had only heard about or seen on TV.”

Mais mentioned that Edinburgh Castle was a popular destination when the club made the journey a couple of years ago but affirmed that each kid found something worth while on the trip.

“Edinburgh Castle was amazing even though it was raining,” Mais said, “though everyone had a different take on what was more important on the trip.”

“The one thing all the kids will want to do is shop for soccer jerseys,” she continued. “Literally, there is a soccer store on every corner.”

Though a vast ocean (and corn fields) divides the River Soccer Club from the United Kingdom and, culturally, the two nations are different, the one thing that binds all of those involved is soccer.

“Hopefully, meeting people of other cultures will broaden their outlooks,” Mais said.