This month, our DUSC G2000 and G2002 Blue teams were privileged to travel to Amsterdam and Frankfurt and train with Academy coaches from esteemed AFC Ajax and FFC Frankfurt. Many of them had never traveled to Europe before and doing so with their teammates proved to be an unforgettable experience. Sophie King, a 2001 playing on the 2000 team described it as “traveling the world with my best friends.”

The players were struck by differences in both style of play and coaching in the Europe, noting both an increase in intensity and an overarching emphasis on “the team” in both the Netherlands and Germany. “Everyone pays for mistakes” in practice, just as they would in games. “Everything you do affects the people around you.”

When not training or competing, the girls had time to explore two of Europe's great cities. They felt “Amsterdam completely surpassed our high expectations” as they enjoyed rides along the canals and the beauty of the old city. They were surprised to find that Frankfurt, one of Europe’s major financial hubs and the capital of the European Central Bank, reminded them of downtown Manhattan with its recent glass and steel skyscrapers, and they sought out smaller, more quaint areas. A favorite memory of Frankfurt was of its famed street performers.

A highlight of the trip was going to the UEFA Women’s Euro final between the Netherlands and Denmark. The players didn’t know they’d be attending and it was a wonderful surprise. It was “indescribable”, “very emotional” and “amazing to watch” some of the best players in the world compete for Europe’s crown in the company of their teammates. It was a hard fought match, with the Netherlands, competing at home, defeating underdog Denmark 4-2.