European Takeover for the Whitman Blues


The women’s team poses with Frome Town FC, an English football club, after their match. Photo contributed by Whitman Athletics.

Charlotte Elliott, Sports Reporter

For most students, summer is a time for recuperation after a strenuous year of readings, essays and frat parties. However, for Whitman College’s soccer teams, it was nothing of the sort.

The women’s soccer team jetted off to England where they had the chance to discuss team expectations and goals before playing games against British teams. For Holly Chan, a sophomore and midfielder on the team, this trip provided a fantastic opportunity.

“This trip was really important for us as a team to get to know each other and build our program,” Chan said.

Sophomore Holly Chan. Photo contributed by Whitman Athletics.

She especially enjoyed experiencing the cultural differences between soccer in England — where they shockingly call the game where you kick a ball with your feet “football” — and America. Similarly, Coach Mike Washington emphasized the importance of playing teams they had never seen before.

“It helped us to adapt to different styles both tactically and technique wise,” Washington said. 

The purpose of the trip was to start the season off with a bang and use the time to practice before their season started in the fall. However, it was also a chance for the Blues to represent Whitman and share their own experiences with opposing players ranging between the ages of 16 and 40.

While there, the team also got to experience some of the cultural attractions that England had to offer. They had day trips to Stonehenge, Bath and Coach Washington’s own hometown of Weston-Super-Mare. This proved to be valuable team bonding time for the girls as they returned to Whitman fresh and ready to start the season.

Allie Syracuse, Rylee Neville, Tate Kautzky and Pagan Hetherington walk down a street in England. Photos contributed by Whitman Athletics.

Not too far away, the men’s soccer team was visiting Portugal for their own preseason trip. Rather than focusing on training, their purpose was to learn new methods of play through playing some of Portugal’s club teams and to test their ability to adapt their style of play to new opponents.

Goalkeeper Owen Davis-Bower explained how the trip was a learning experience for the team. 

“We learned a lot from their attitudes and professionalism, and our team has tried to add some of what we learned into our team culture,” Davis-Bower said.

Similarly to their fellow Blues in England, the men’s team did some sightseeing during the duration of their trip. This included an outing to Sporting Portugal Museum and visits to the towns of Cascais and Sintra. They sported their Whitman Soccer shirts as they toured the country and left their mark on local towns.

The boys arrived in style, winning their first match of the preseason. They kept up this energy throughout the trip and certainly weren’t a disappointment to the many clubs they played. The men also had time for a community service afternoon when they played soccer with some of the local youths.

Both teams returned from their respective adventures with new skills they will put into their matches and a newfound sense of connectedness as a team. 

Pictures and videos from the teams’ trips can be found on their Instagram accounts: @whittiewsoc (women’s soccer) and @whitman_mens_soccer (men’s soccer).

Catch the next women’s soccer home games versus George Fox University this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. If you can’t make that match, the men’s soccer team take on the University of Puget Sound this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Both matches will be played on the Whitman Athletic Fields.

The women’s team poses with Frome Town FC, an English football club, after their match. Photo contributed by Whitman Athletics.