Grazie Italia! Women's soccer returns from abroad

HAVERFORD, Pa. – After competing in the 2012 NCAA tournament, preparations for the 2013 season had an international flavor for Haverford College's women's soccer team as the Fords traveled to Italy in early August.

Varsity collegiate programs are limited by NCAA rules to take foreign tours not more than once every three years. The Fords last traveled abroad in 2010 when they visited Brazil.

Haverford's tour of Italy ran from Tuesday, Aug. 6 through Wednesday, Aug. 14 and included a pair of friendlies with local competition as the Fords mixed in a little soccer with cultural teambuilding activities. Senior Kylie Reeves kept team followers up to date on the team's exploits with an online blog.

The trip began in Rome where the team participated in cultural tours of the city, highlighted by an excursion to Vatican City where the team will enjoyed a guided tour of the Vatican Museum.

The team traipsed off to Tuscany on its next stop and got its first taste of international soccer when a training session was led by a coach from the Italian National Soccer Federation Centre.

Florence was next on the itinerary followed by Portovenere where Haverford competed in its first friendly of the trip squaring off with Real Arenzano, a local team in the area.

Fashion center Milan was a highly anticipated next stop on the tour and then it is was back to soccer in the Como Lake region where Real Meda Calcio Femminile awaited the Fords for their second friendly competition of the trip. The team also spent a day in the Como city centre making – and of course eating – their own Italian pizza pies.

Nearing the close of the itinerary, the Fords took a day trip to Aosta where the team was challenged by a white-water rafting trip.

Shortly after returning to campus, where the incoming freshmen will join the squad on August 18, the team will welcome program alums back to Haverford for the annual alumnae game on August 24. The Fords then open the season at home by hosting the annual Kickoff Classic on Aug. 31–Sept. 1 with Arcadia University and Stevenson University battling the Fords on successive days at Walton Field.