by Gary Ireland- May 16-28, 2007
On May 28th Carine and I returned from a wonderful trip 'Down Under" with the staff and players of the NCAA National women’s soccer champions North Carolina. Many of you have been asking how the trip went and how it all worked out, so here is a short read for you all!
Carine and I designed the itinerary as tour managers: where to go (i.e what country- i suggested they not travel back to the UK and instead take a 24 hour trip - from east coast- 'Down Under"…why not?); the opposition; when they played and what we did on a day to day basis so we were kept busy all day, every day but joined in all the fun. We showed the group all the sites, from finding destinations to finding lost and missing passports and even missing people (not really, just a few wrong turns!). Being an "Aussie" or “Brit”, whichever you want to call me, I attended HS in N.Z and knowing the lay of the land really helped as well as the fact that some former teammates and coaching friends are now coaching the National and Olympic/U20's in Australia which made the logistics of running the trip so much easier. We also had old friends to visit so this trip was a whole lot of fun as it gave us a chance to catch up with them too.
Accompanying me on the trip was of course Carine and former USA women’s national team coach & Union FC staff coach Lorrie Fair who is currently assistant volunteer at North Carolina. Head coach Anson Dorrance and wife M’Liss also came on tour, along with team manager Tom Sanders. My former teammate and World Soccer staff coach Chris Ducar who is in charge of recruiting as an assistant coach at UNC along with his wife Tracy Ducar, former USA national team player and a current USA U16 National Team coach, also came on the trip. Wendy Palladino (formerly Gebauer) of the USA national team and ESPN college network was also on the trip along with her son Zach and husband, Bill.
After running the North Carolina women's coaching clinic in Palo Alto, Carine and I led the North Carolina Women’s Soccer team onto a fantastic dinner mainly sponsored by Cindie and Phil White and partially by Union FC at Nola’s restaurant in downtown Palo Alto and then directly to San Francisco airport where we caught our Qantas Airlines flight to Australia that same evening. It was a hurried stopover in Palo Alto, as the team arrived at SFO approx 2 p.m and was on the field at 3 pm to work with 130 players from 12 different clubs. With some pretty nifty maneuvering we were able to make the 14 hour non-stop flight to Sydney without any hiccups. (the lost soccer ball equipment bag from Carolina showed up on the plane!).
Our first stop was Australia for 7 nights where we played the National Women’s Team of Australia in Canberra on May 20, (1-3 loss) followed by a game against the Queensland Academy of Sport (combination of Australian National team, Olympic team and U/20 National team players) on May 23 in Brisbane (1-2 loss). This was followed by a 3 day trip to New Zealand where the girls played the New Zealand women’s national team in Auckland on May 27 (1-0 win). We returned to the USA on May 28..
There was a whole lot more to tell you about the trip but the links below should give you some idea….never a dull moment; lots of kangaroo sightings, holding koala’s, swimming in the beautiful (almost) winter ocean, riding with dolphins in the Bay of Islands and Emu encounters in the car park…oh, yeah!...i almost forgot..lots of soccer juggling and playing on the beach, hotel tennis court and parks. The two most important games were:
Gary/Anson defeated (Carine say's tied!) Chris/Carine & Gary/Lorrie defeated Carine/Casey Nogueira in 2 v 2’s…I had to throw that in there! Typically we were almost late departing because we had to get in the 2 v 2 game before doing a rush packing job…the trip wouldn’t be complete without finishing with some soccer!
Some interesting links of the trip……
UNC Website (read about the tour on the UNC Website)
Australian Institute of Sport
The University of North Carolina womenʼs soccer team participated in a 12-day training trip to Australia and New Zealand May 16-28, 2007. UNC team manager Billy Scott, Class of ʻ07, blogged the trip for TarHeelBlue.com. Following are highlights of those blogs.
clouds and drizzle. The highlights included perusing the surrounding shops and purchasing a book of Australian slang (Ali Hawkins pro- claimed that after nearly a full day in the air the players looked positively "daggy", or not cool) as well as strolls down George Street and tak- ing in a fantastic view of the famous Sydney Opera House from their hotel's roof.
The players of the UNC women's soccer team showed none of the subdued serenity that usually abounds at 5:02 a.m. as their van pulled away from Finley practice field May 16. The reigning national champs, minus a few super- stars and virtually their entire defense, would not finish the first leg of their journey for 36 hours and would lose an entire calendar day in the process. Still, they were bound for Australia and they could not contain their excitement.
The clouds broke during lunch, but the Tar Heels headed straight for the Sydney Aquarium, where the seals, sharks and platypus were the overwhelming favorites. The day did not last much longer, though. After a pizza dinner on the roof, the players collapsed into their beds for a slumber that was a long time in coming.
After a layover in Chicago and a four-hour flight that at that point seemed incredibly long, the Tar Heels arrived in Palo Alto, Calif., to con- duct a clinic for Union FC. They ran the girls through a variety of technical drills, from shoot- ing to heading to passing, before Tobin Heath and Casey Nogueira wowed the girls with their world famous juggling skills and bicycle kicks. Despite the grueling journey, the Heels main- tained the charm and charisma that has so endeared them to all of their supporters, includ- ing the large number of girls who wore UNC shirts to the clinic. The Heels then enjoyed a wonderful dinner near the Stanford campus and headed back to the San Francisco airport.
Day two in Sydney greeted the rejuvenated Tar Heels with a perfect temperature and a sky that matched the NC logos on their practice gear. Some of the players started the day by climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge and taking in the spectacular view, while the rest were treated to an impromptu didgeridoo perform- ance at a nearby Aboriginal art shop.
gorge, but the scenery did not mute the players' true nature. They frequently tried to scare each other by jumping up and down on the discon- certingly shaky viewing platform, eliciting yelps of alarm. The remainder of the drive was just as spectacular, with rugged mountains jutting up from lush valleys. Even though the scenic route took longer to complete, all agreed it was well worth it.
Uncharacteristically for a UNC women's soc- cer team that is notorious for mad dashes through airports, potentially forgotten players at the gates and nearly misplaced national cham- pionship trophies, the trip had gone smoothly up to that point. The travel Gods tried to knock the trip off track with a missing uniform bag, result- ing in the prospect of facing the Australian National Team in practice gear. But the bag reappeared in the knick of time and the team boarded its flight to Sydney with no other prob- lems.
Before reconvening for practice, some of the Heels also wandered through the weekend mar- ket that unexpectedly popped up on George Street overnight. Their purchases included paintings, bracelets and wine racks, but Yael Averbuch and Mandy Moraca won the award for most eccentric trinket with their authentic kan- garoo testicle keychains. (They did not, howev- er, plop down 30 Australian dollars for a vintage North Carolina license plate, which could be found in a box full of U.S. tags).
The Tar Heels arrived at the Australian Institute of Sport in time for a short training ses- sion and dinner, where they were invited to a special Pink concert on campus. The women especially appreciated this pleasant surprise because there were few other diversions in the compound which is totally devoted to training Australia's best athletes.
Fifteen hours and only a tiny bit of turbulence later, the Tar Heels were thrilled to find them-
The Tar Heels had a brief training session in a park nestled between the Royal Botanical Gardens and a wall of massive skyscrapers and then scattered to all corners of the city. Whitney Engen, Ali Hawkins and Ashlyn Harris saw the New Romantics ballet at the Sydney Opera House, while a number of the women and the staff had lunch at the G'Day Cafe. From there some took a 30-minute ferry ride to check out the shops at Manly Beach and others perused the market or relaxed in the rooftop hot tub.
On the fourth day Down Under, the Heels took on the World Cup qualifying Australian National Team. Despite missing five starters and only using four subs, the Tar Heels played the Australians very well. The Aussies scored first off a wide open rebound only minutes into the game, but the Heels answered back a few minutes later. Tobin Heath slashed through the Aussie defense but was taken down in the penalty box, which led to a penalty kick that Yael Averbuch buried in the top of the net. Fatigue proved to be UNC's downfall, however, and it went on to fall 3-1. The match was the Australians' final game before trimming their roster for Olympic qualifying, so their fresh legs eventually wore the Heels down. With only a few minutes left, the Australians tallied the final two goals to put the game out of reach.
selves in the Land Down Under. "I can't believe we're actually in Australia," was the common refrain on the short trip to their hotel, which was situated in the heart of the Rocks district of Old Sydney. While they waited to check into their rooms, the players broke off into groups to explore their surroundings, unfazed by the
The journey to Canberra from Sydney, however, was much more remarkable. The Heels made the six-hour trip by charter bus, which was fortunate because they needed the largest windows they could find to take in the scenery. Soon after leaving Sydney, the bus pulled up to Sublime Point Lookout, a cliff that stands 415 meters above the city of Wollongong and its broad white beaches. When the crew had taken all
Once the two teams had warmed down and applied their ice bags, the Australians treated the UNC travel party to an enormous BBQ lunch. Afterward, most of the team headed into downtown Canberra to explore the capital city, but Whitney Engen, Ashlyn Harris and Ashley Moore made a trip to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to go for a hike and check out the local wildlife. They encountered dozens of wild kan- garoos and a pair of emu before they had to head back to AIS.
On Sunday, the Tar Heels would travel to Canberra, Australia's capital city, to take on the Australian National Team, and from there on to Brisbane and to Auckland later in the trip.
the pictures imaginable, they pressed on farther south before stopping for lunch in the charming seaside town of Kiama.
Carolina's stay at AIS complete, the team headed to the Australian Gold Coast, which seemed like paradise to the Tar Heels after the spartan accommodations and less than ideal weather they experienced in Canberra. The players were very excited to discover that their
The next stop for the Carolina party was Fitzroy Falls, an 81-meter waterfall in the north- ern section of Morton National Park. The water- fall stands at the head of a deep, expansive
2007 UNC WOMEN’S SOCCER
Carolina’s Training Trip to Oceania
hotel sat only a hundred yards or so from the beach, but they did not make it down to the shore until their second day in "Surfer's Paradise." On their first full day there, the play- ers spent the morning at Currumbin Wildlife Reserve, where they took turns posing for pic- tures with kangaroos, wallabies and koalas and ogled an enormous crocodile.
barked in the Gold Coast of Australia. The Tar Heels' fortunes would prove much better in New Zealand,though.
EXHIBITION TOUR GAME SUMMARIES
UNC vs. Australian National Team
May 21, 2007, 11 a.m.
Sunny and 55 degrees
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Shots: AUS 7+11=18, UNC 6+4=10
Corner Kicks: AUS 1+1=2, UNC 0+3=3
Fouls: AUS 4+2=6, UNC 6+1=7
Offside: AUS 2+1=3, UNC 0+0=0
Goalkeeper Saves: Anna Rodenbough (UNC) 3, Ashlyn Harris (UNC) 3, Australia 5
AUS--2:00, Hard shot blocked by Rodenbough but parried and tapped in by follow up striker
UNC--8:00, Averbuch sticks PK after Heath is taken down in the box
AUS--70:00, Player streaking down right side one times a cross with her right foot into the far upper 90 from 16
AUS--75:00, A streaking forward breaks away and goes 1v1 with keeper, beats here and shoots ball into open net from 12
UNC Starters and Minutes Played: Averbuch (90), Heath (90), Eveland (90), Moraca (90), Nogueira (85), Hayes (80), Smith (70), Engen (70), Washington (55), Rodenbough (45), Gilbert (34)
UNC Subs and Minutes Played: Frederick (75), Ash. Harris (45), Yates (45), Boneparth (35), Perkins (3)
UNC Shots: Averbuch 4, Heath 1, Nogueira 1, Hayes 1, Smith 1, Gilbert 2
UNC vs. Queensland Select Team
May 23, 2007, 6 p.m.
Mild and 60 degrees
Shots: QS 2+7=9, UNC 9+8=17
Corner Kicks: QS 0+1=1, UNC 3+2=5
Fouls: QS 2+1=3, UNC 5+2=7
Offside: QS 1+1=2, UNC 2+1=3
Goalkeeper Saves: Ashlyn Harris (UNC) 0, Anna Rodenbough (UNC) 2, QS 2
UNC--8:00, Hayes (assist) feeds Nogueira (assist) up the middle who back heels it to a wide open Averbuch (goal) on the 12 who turns and slides ball in uncontested
QS--50:00, Streaking forward goes 1v1 with keeper and slots ball from 12
QS--80:00, Hard ball blocked by Rodenbough but parried and tapped in by follow up striker
UNC Starters and Minutes Played: Averbuch (90), Heath (90), Eveland (90), Moraca (90), Nogueira (85), Hayes (90), Frederick (90), Smith (50), Engen (75), Washington (35), Ash. Harris (45)
UNC Subs and Minutes Played: Gilbert (60), Rodenbough (45), Yates (15), Boneparth (25), Perkins (15)
UNC Shots: Averbuch 1, Heath 1, Eveland 1, Nogueira 6, Smith 3, Engen 2, Gilbert 3
UNC vs. New Zealand National Team
May 27, 2007, 4 p.m.
Windy and Overcast, 55 degrees
Auckland, New Zealand
Shots: NZ 5+3=8, UNC 10+9=19
Corner Kicks: NZ 0+0=0. UNC 6+3=9
Fouls: NZ 6+5=11, UNC 3+3=3
Offside: NZ 4+3=7, UNC 0+0=09
Goalkeeper Saves: Ashlyn Harris (UNC) 4, NZ 3Goals Scored:
UNC--75:00, Nogueira (assist) shot's from 20 slides on ground through defense and is redirected at last moment by Gilbert (goal) on 6-yard line
UNC Starters and Minutes Played: Averbuch (90), Heath (90), Eveland (90), Moraca (90), Nogueira (80), Hayes (90), Frederick (90) Smith (64), Engen (67), Washington (84), Ash. Harris (90)
UNC Subs and Minutes Played: Gilbert (45), Yates (16), Perkins 13
UNC Shots: Averbuch 4, Heath 2, Eveland 1, Nogueira 2, Hayes 1, Smith 3, Engen 1, Gilbert 4
That evening the Heels made the 45-minute
On their first full day on the North Island, the team swarmed into its vans, which were just barely big enough to fit the entire group and its luggage, and made the three-hour trip north to Paihia and the Bay of Islands. The area was the first in the country visited by Europeans, but it appealed to the Tar Heels more for its beauty than its history. After a picnic lunch, most of the group took a boat ride around the islands and, escorted by a phalanx of dolphins, even zipped through the "Hole in the Rock," an iconic natural rock formation on Piercy Island.
drive (which, not altogether inconsistent with UNC women's soccer tradition, turned into an hour-and-45 minute drive) to the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre to take on the Queensland Regional Select Team. Even though the Queensland team included five play- ers from the full national team, the Tar Heels controlled the run of play for much of the con- test. Unfortunately, the Tar Heels could not cap- italize on their numerous chances and lost 2-1. Yael Averbuch scored on a breakaway about 10 minutes into the first half and Jaime Gilbert nar- rowly missed a golden opportunity toward the end, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Aussie side. Caroline Boneparth had to leave the game after knocking heads with a Queensland player. She demonstrated the Tar Heel toughness, though, and showed that mul- tiple stitches couldn't stop her from hitting the beach with the rest of the team on day seven.
Their second full day in New Zealand brought a matchup against the World Cup qualifying New Zealand national team, ranked 23rd by FIFA. The match marked the first home game against international competition for the Kiwis since October 1998, so the home crowd bristled with excitement as they filled Bill McKinlay Park to capacity. The quality of the game would not disappoint them, but the outcome probably did. The Tar Heels put on a show, exhibiting high quality tackling and passing with a bit of flair added for good measure. Despite earning six corner kicks in the first half, the Tar Heels did not get on the board until the second half, when in the 75th minute Jaime Gilbert redirected a Casey Nogueira blast from a few yards out. Sterling Smith almost added another goal a few minutes later, but her shot banged of the post. New Zealand had a few good counter attacks, once driving a shot off the cross bar and anoth- er time forcing UNC goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to make a spectacular diving save. In the end, though, the Heels withstood the pressure and exhaustion and prevailed, bringing their record for the trip to 1-2.
Many of the players woke up before dawn to catch the sunrise over the water and spend the rest of the day relaxing: laying out on the beach, playing in the waves, and shopping in Surfer's Paradise. Casey Nogueira even put her juggling skills to use yet again, entertaining a crowd at an open air mall alongside an Elvis imperson- ator.
The team spent their final day in the Southern Hemisphere relaxing and wandering around downtown Auckland before battling traffic and arriving at the airport just in time to make their flight. While the UNC women's soccer team members were not quite as rowdy as they pulled into the parking lot at Finley Field a little after midnight on Tuesday, May 29 as they were when they left it 12 days earlier, they were pret- ty close. Twenty-five hours after they arrived at the airport in Auckland, New Zealand and after they finally put a 40-plus hour Monday to rest, the Heels were home at last.
Next up for the Tar Heels was a trip to Auckland, New Zealand and a
game against the New
Zealand national team. That
was, of course, if they resisted the temptation to miss their flight and spend a few more days on the famed Australian Gold Coast.
For many of the players, the stint in Auckland was the high- light of the trip. New Zealand greeted the team in style by producing two brilliant rain- bows for the team to take in as they waited for their rental vans at the airport, nearly as spectacular as the sunset that awaited them as they disem-
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