Costa Rica soccer trip improves talent, builds team chemistry

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Peter Warren

by Peter Warren

Every few years, varsity boys soccer head coach Tom Breznitsky takes most of the upcoming varsity soccer team on a trip out of the country as a preseason warm-up. This year, he took the team to Costa Rica for 11 days in early August, where they played six games against highly competitive teams.

   “The competition in Costa Rica was very strong, especially towards the end of the trip when we scrimmaged two youth professional teams,” said sophomore Patrick Ellman.

   The Raiders played very well    with a 4-1-1 record, their one loss coming from the best professional youth team in Costa Rica, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, and the tie coming from the second best team in the country, Club Sport Herediano. “We performed a whole lot better than expected,” said junior Zach Halma.

  The players were treated like professionals throughout the trip. Not only did they play in professional stadiums, but they also were bussed to games and given great tasting meals before and after sessions.

   Players from both last year’s varsity and junior varsity squads made the trip to Costa Rica, which allowed the players to learn more about one another before the regular season started.   

   “The trip allowed everyone to get comfortable with one another, and we were able to see who played well with certain people,” said senior Brian Howard.

In addition to their strong performances on the field, team chemistry improved vastly as well. Players who had never bonded together before the trip were friends by the end, and players who had known each other previously became closer than ever before.

   “The time spent on and off the field helped us connect in a way that would not have been possible if we did not make this preseason trip to Costa Rica,” said Halma.

   However, the trip was not all about soccer. When they had free time, teammates went to the beach, visited shopping malls, and even went zip lining in a Costa Rican forest.    

   As part of the trip, the team visited a daycare center and played with the children. The center was designed for children who were at risk because of a troubled or dangerous home life. “The children were all so ecstatic to see us,” said Ellman. “At one point, I had two kids on my shoulders and one hugging my leg. It was an amazing thing to see how happy the kids were to see us.”