Sports

Wildcat soccer teams kick it across the pond

Members of the Mount Si High School boys and girls soccer teams mingle with students from host school Bishop Heber High School at Trafalgar Square in London. Wildcat players spent 10 days in England this summer as part of an athletic and cultural exchange. - Photo by Calder Productions
Members of the Mount Si High School boys and girls soccer teams mingle with students from host school Bishop Heber High School at Trafalgar Square in London. Wildcat players spent 10 days in England this summer as part of an athletic and cultural exchange.
— image credit: Photo by Calder Productions

Dozens of players in Mount Si High School's girls and boys soccer program went across the pond this summer to see how their English counterparts play the game.

Thirty members of the program—26 athletes and coaching staff including head coach Darren Brown, assistant coach Ben Tomlisson, head junior varsity coach Glen Cramer and varsity assistant Lindsey Jorgensen—visited Bishop Heber High School in Malpas, Chesire. Tomlisson taught at Bishop Heber before coming to Mount Si.

The Wilcats spent 10 days with Malpas players, who were hosted at Mount Si last summer as part of the continuing cultural exchange.

The group was busy; besides spending time with host families, the Wildcats played exhibition games against English opponents. The boys team beat Bishop Heber 2-1, and a team consisting of Mount Si girls also fared well, winning a game against an English squad in a penalty kick shootout.

"It was absolutely incredible. Just a great time,” said Brown. “The kids were just fantastic."

Sightseeing, the group visited London and Manchester, an amusement park and a couple of soccer stadiums. One, the legendary Old Trafford, is home to the Barclay’s English Premier League team Manchester United, one of the world’s most recognized professional soccer teams. “Man-U," which is owned by American businessman Malcolm Glazer, has amassed a considerable number of championships within England, and has a large worldwide fan base.

Among the players who traveled on the trip were brothers Morgan and Nate Popp.

“Morgan and Nate had an amazing experience while in England,” said mom Kara Popp by e-mail. “The trip was everything they had expected and more.”

Money for this trip was raised by the Mount Si program throughout the course of the last year.

Fundraisers included car washes and cookbook sales, all of which was organized by the Wildcat boys and girls’ soccer booster clubs.

Brown expects this relationship between his program and Heber’s to continue.

"We’re going to keep this thing going,” Brown said. “It was such a great experience for the kids."

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