March 19, 2009
On March 6, the LMU men's soccer team traveled to Costa Rica for Spring Break. The trip was one of business but also one of fun and shared experiences. In addition to playing five matches, the Lions delivered basic supplies to an orphanage and visited a child care center. They also found time to have fun - swimming in the ocean, zip-lining, going white-water rafting, and visiting the rainforest. Here, the players share their experiences.
Greetings LMU Soccer fans! This is Andrew (Kristof), Jack, and Adam writing to you all the way from Costa Rica. Today was the start of what promises to be a wonderful nine days of experiencing the Ticos' culture, playing a handful of professional soccer teams and living it up! And what a first day it was...
Everyone knows that the first days of travel can take it out of you. It all started with an early departure, 12:55 am to be exact, from LAX to El Salvador. After a thirty-minute layover in the El Salvadorian airport, we took off to Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. At about 10 am we landed and were soon greeted by our tour guide, Fredrico, who will stay with the LMU Soccer team for the nine-day trip. Accompanying us besides our four coaches is Mrs. Krumpe, academic advisor Matt Casana, Senior Associate Athletics Director Maria Behm and former LMU player and athletic trainer Ashy Kaviani.
The cultural experience will begin in San Carlos, which is located in the Rain Forest. From the San Jose airport, this northbound drive took us three hours, stopping once on the way for an orientation and lunch. Before we could fill our empty stomachs, a male and female salsa dancer welcomed us with some zesty dance moves. Lunch was great - chicken, beef, rice, beans, and some dessert to satiate our stomachs. Soon after, we were on the giant team bus again for two hours.
After some in-bus games and some sleep, we finally arrived to our hotel, Hotel Tilajari. Coach Krumpe scheduled an hour training for us in order to get some blood pumping through our bodies so that we are not fatigued for the following days. The field is located on the hotel's residence. It is a nice field, but not what we are exactly used to - it is a little too thick for our liking, but we will be sure to become familiar with it in no time. After training, the hotel's main restaurant provided us with a buffet dinner; take it from us, Costa Rica has some tasty food.
It is bedtime for us right now. We are waking up early for our first Costa Rican breakfast then off to white water rafting through the Rain Forest. This will be a great way for the team to experience more of Costa Rica's lush preserved forests.
Cheers. You stay classy, LMU Soccer fans
- Andrew, Jack, and Adam
Living in California we do not really understand the meaning of the "rainforest", and I emphasize the rain portion. After waking up this morning at 9 AM (finally got to sleep in a little) we walked outside to a nice morning drizzle to breakfast. Soon after breakfast we gathered our stuff, hopped on the bus and drove about a half hour to zipline through the rainforest canopy. Soon after our instructions for the tour began, the real rain started strong and from then on never let up.
As we prepared to start our adventures on the zipline a few Lions were not to sure about the trip and their fear of heights. Vinny, Roland and our very own Mike Erush complained the whole way up whining like three little girls who lost their Barbies. However after the first of ten ziplines these three conquered their fear and went on to have a great day. One of the most emphasized rules by the guide was to not get stuck in the middle of the line or else you have to pull yourself to the platform. Paul Broome
decided not to listen to the guides, therefore getting stuck in the middle of the longest zipline in Costa Rica. He is still hearing about this incident tonight and will be for many years to come. After the zipline we enjoyed a nice lunch and relaxed until our first game against San Carlos.
After having some technical difficulties with the lights, the game began and the rain continued to fall. However, the Lions persevered through the rain and struck first by a brilliant one time goal by Phil Da Silva followed by a pinpoint through ball by Artur Jozkowicz. For most of the first half the Lions controlled the flow of the game and struck again with five minutes left. After enduring seven months of treacherous ankle rehabilitation Brock "I only score goals" Smith struck off a Steffen Canty free kick that was flicked to the back post by Alex Greenman. During his seven months off of soccer Brock enjoyed many games of Fifa and decided to celebrate in that fashion by doing his "I'm Back, look at me!" celebration. With the momentum on their side, the Lions went into halftime up 2-0. Ten minutes into the second half, the Lions struck again with a goal by Steffen Canty, off a Sharif Khatib flick. Following in his roommate's steps, Steffen decided to do his Fifa "samba" and he celebrated with style.
With the downpour on both figuratively and literally, the Lions were not done! With five minutes left in the second half, Brock Smith wanted more! After a lazy pass back by the San Carlos defender, Brock Smith showed off his weight room skills by out-muscling the goalkeeper with a crunching tackle. Quick to respond Brock hopped on his feet recovered the ball and pounded into the goal to put the icing on the cake. Lions 4 San Carlos 0. The defense came up huge in our game including an eyes closed save by Pat Sampson as he recorded another shutout. Time to go eat dinner. More to come tomorrow from the beaches of Costa Rica.
From room 502, Pura Vida!
- Blayze Hanson
PS. Shout out to Mrs. Smith as she missed her son's first goals as a Lion. (Should have come to Costa Rica)
Today was an early breakfast and an even earlier wakeup. We packed up all of our things and headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast at 7:30. Breakfast this morning consisted of rice and beans, which have been a typical component of all of our meals so far, as well as scrambled eggs, yucca, a whole table full of fresh fruit, and some of the best French toast I've ever had.
Once we were done with breakfast, we all loaded into our team bus for a short, 30-minute drive to a small market on the outskirts of town. Everyone stocked up on different Costa Rican snacks and drinks for the four-hour plus bus ride we had ahead of us to Flamingo, a beach resort on the western coast of Costa Rica. The bus ride took us through the windy, narrow, hilly roads of the rainforest. The scenery was beautiful; both sides of the road were lined with colossal trees and everything was lush and green. We stopped a few times to look at some different animals we found along the roadside. At first we saw a family of what looked like anteaters, and then later on in the drive we saw some monkeys. Roland has been really good in video-documenting the trip, and everyone has been taking a ton of pictures.
We checked into our new hotel around 2, and immediately put our bags in our room before we walked down to the hotel restaurant by the pool. For lunch we got an appetizer and a main course. Most people chose the chicken quesadilla or the nachos for their appetizer, but some brave souls tried the ceviche. Ceviche is a citrus-marinated seafood appetizer, popular in many Latin American countries. Our choices for our main course consisted of rice with chicken or rice with shrimp. After lunch, everyone changed into their swim trunks and headed to the beach, coaches included. The beach is only a few feet from the edge of the resort, and we all waited a few minutes for our sunscreen to soak in before we got in the water. Coach Krumpe showed us all how to "cowabunga". The water was cool, but not too cold, and very clear. We all played in the water and threw sand at each other before we retired to the pool, and ultimately to our rooms for a nap.
At 6 o'clock we had team training which consisted of a short run down the beach and some stretching. Coach Erush decided to show off his new swim trunks, a pair of white, see-through, skin-tight shorties. We all found this very funny, and I'm sure if you can imagine Coach Erush in a bathing suit like that, you would laugh too. He told us he found it in Europe a few years ago while he was travelling and had to wear it around the beach for a day because he lost a bet.
We all met in the lobby for dinner at seven, and we headed down to the same restaurant we ate at for lunch. After dinner, most of our players either headed to the hotel casino to spend a little money (I think Wilkie was the big winner tonight) or to the hotel lobby to video-chat with friends and family. We have our second game tomorrow, against a second-division team, and tonight everyone will be in bed early for a good night's sleep.
- Kyle Johanson, Sharif Khatib, Wilkie Johnson
Our Costa Rican adventure continued today as we traveled to Milenaria to play Cartagena, a prominent team from the Costa Rican Second Division. A scorching hot day (in the upper nineties) and a barren field made for harsh playing conditions. However, dealing with foreign referees was the main challenge of the game.
The game started out with some strange action as we gave up a goal early to a free kick. Freshman Phil Da Silva got us back in the game with a nice move and a composed finish. Freshman Logan McDaniel was sent off with a straight red card due to a scuffle with an opposing player. We Lions were surprised to see the red card come out of the referee's pocket. The rest of the game was spent dealing with strange actions and decisions by the referee. Roger Downes scored his first Lion goal off of a corner kick.
We were poised to finish off the game with a second win under our belt until Cartagena was given a mystery penalty kick. Jack McCormack
had a brilliant save, but was not able to stop the second shot as the shooter followed his rebound.
The Lions attempted to capitalize on a few more chances but eventually the game ended in a draw. We look forward to the catamaran tour tomorrow, and a day to relax after all the hard work.
- Tyler, Logan, Max
Our morning began with a little jog and stretch on the beautiful beach at 8:30am. After, we had breakfast at 9:00am in the restaurant at our hotel. They served us eggs, pancakes, rice and beans. Breakfast has been pretty much been the same everyday. When we were done with breakfast we had some downtime to ourselves until lunch at 12:30pm. Some of the guys on the team went to the beach to lay out and walk around, some relaxed in the pool, and others hung out in their room. Those who went to the pool played a game of bingo because there is a little bar and sitting area that connects to the pool. Roland Anderson won the first game of bingo and was given a complimentary margarita mug from Flamingo Hotel. They played another game and Roland Anderson won again! This time he was given a bottle of champagne and performed a victory dance on top of the bar to some Latin music with another girl. We all met up again for lunch for some more rice and beans, spaghetti, pasta, Alfredo, and fruits served with a tropical juice.
Once lunch was finished we all hopped on the bus for a ten minute ride down the beach for our Catamaran cruise. Besides our group there was also a group of students from Duke who would be joining us on the cruise as well. The boat did not seem that big and there were about seventy-five of us altogether, but supposedly the maximum capacity was ninety people. Anyways, we all found a way to squeeze everyone on the boat. We cruised away from shore for awhile and stopped. During this time we were able to jump off the boat with some sort of flotation device such as a vest or doodle to swim in the water and enjoy some sun, snorkel, or just stay on the boat. Coach Krumpe was actually the first person to jump off the boat and did so in fashion by doing a backflip, which was very impressive.
After about an hour everyone got back on the boat to head back to shore. It was a two-hour trip back to shore. In the meantime, everyone enjoyed their time laying out in the sun and being in each other's company. They served chips with guacamole, some sort of noodle salad, cookies, pineapple, and watermelon as a snack. The cruise was filled with lots of laughs and beautiful site seeing. Many memories were definitely created on this amazing cruise.
Once we got back to shore we got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel for dinner. The next morning we had to be packed and ready to go at 7:30am to depart to San Jose. So, some of the guys enjoyed the pool for one last night. Others went to the casino to gamble their free $5 given by the hotel and the rest of us got an early start on packing and straight to bed afterwards because it was a very long and tiring day.
- Vincent Ocampo, Alex Greenman, and Steffen Canty
We woke up today and it was our first day of really sleeping in, which is why we we woke up at 9 am. We went downstairs and ate breakfast, just like our daily routine always consists of. After breakfast we got some downtime for ourselves in which we got ready for our game, which we had to take a bus ride for 45 minutes to get to the field. When we were at the field there was an on going match between the Sapprissa and Alehuela youth teams. We then headed to the locker room where we got to change and then headed out to the field to warm up as usual.
The game was very disappointing for us because we lost 4-1, but there were some very controversial calls during the game including a penalty kick being awarded to them and then a goal being taken away from us that was initially scored by Phil Da Silva. It's definitely another lesson to be learned by this young squad of players. We look forward to improve our individual and team play overall in tomorrow's game, which will be played at 8 am.
After the game we showered and started our journey to downtown San Jose to see a professional soccer game between Sapprissa and Cartehena. The stadium was really big and the fans were really into the game. The end result was a 1-1 tie, but the overall experience was great.
After the game we headed to a mall where we ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant. The food was delicious and afterwards we had some time to actually hang out and walk around the mall. After dinner we got back to the hotel where we had to say good bye to our current bus driver, who has been with us through out the whole trip. Our trip is coming to an end sadly with one more day to go and one more game tomorrow. We're getting rest tonight to hopefully end the trip on a good note by getting a win tomorrow. With that said hope to see all of our friends and family on Monday.
- Artur, Phil, Roger
Besides the first day of our trip, Day 7 was going to be our longest day. Fortunately, we had an experience waiting for us at the end that none of us expected to be so special.
None of us wanted to leave the beauty of the coast. The hotel was amazing, the beach was beautiful, and we all had had an amazing time visiting. Unlike the rainforest, the sun was shining bright and the heat felt great.
Day 7 started with a six-hour bus ride back to the capital. We had to get up very early in the morning in order to make it on time to the children's center. On the way we stopped at a tourist gift shop. Here we were able to find gifts for our family and friends!
We were running a little bit behind schedule once we arrived in San Jose. Luckily there was a Denny's attached to the hotel we were staying at--The Best Western. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then we were off to see the children.
We arrived to a building full of children waving in the windows. All of us were overwhelmed by the joy and happiness of the children. Here there were children with very little, yet their outlook on life would inspire anyone. In total, there were 270 kids from ages 4 to 9.
The visit started with some of the children performing a dance they had prepared for us. Then unexpectedly the counselors made us do a performance. A few of the guys stepped up and did the Macarena! The children had little idea about the dance but enjoyed it anyway.
After the dancing was done, we had about 15 minutes to spend some free time with the children. We played with the balls we brought to the center. Also, some of the children fancied our digital cameras and decided to take pictures of each other posing.
The free time ended and it was now time to bring out the candy! We brought enough for each kid to have 2 to 3 pieces. They were very polite, but you could tell they really wanted to get as many pieces as possible.
We ended our visit with a presentation of new swings for the swing sets. They had four sets of three swing structures, yet the children had only 3 swings in total to use. All of us felt very satisfied to help make the community a better place for the children. Also, we gave away some clothing and other materials people had generously donated to children. All in all, the experience was very humbling and deserves as being labeled the highlight of our trip.