By Antonia Spano
The DeSales soccer team is allowed to take an international spring break trip every three years, per NCAA rules. This year, they traveled with their coaches and families to Ireland, where they played two club teams and attended famous tourist attractions together.
“[Only] coaches and 20 parents are coming,” Crampton explained before the team left for the five-and-a-half to six hour flight. This is the fourth time Crampton has taken the team to Ireland.
The sites the team saw were both man-made and natural. “We will see the Blarney Castle, The Cliffs of Moher, do the Ring of Kerry and see all the historical sites in Dublin: Trinity College, General Post Office, Kilmainham Jail, Guinness Brewery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” said Crampton.
The team stayed at a hotel in Dublin the entire trip. However, their tourism plans took them to different parts of the country, which Ireland’s small geographic size makes possible.
Crampton was born and raised in Ireland, so the trip to Ireland is always especially meaningful for him.
“[I’m most excited about] showing the boys on the team my hometown and where I was brought up,” he said before the trip.
And for the players, many of whom who have never gone to Ireland, the journey was special for different reasons.
“I am most excited to play soccer in Ireland, experience the country with my teammates, and going on the Game of Thrones tour out of Dublin,” said junior Mike Bamundo before the trip, who was able to bring both his parents, sister and brother.
Crampton said there was not much free time for the team, as the itinerary was booked with tours, but players did have a day or two to explore Dublin on their own.
Upon returning home, Bamundo reflected on the trip saying his favorite part was playing a scenic round of golf in Dublin with his brother, his teammate Isaac Mohr and the team’s assistant coach.
DeSales played against the Dublin teams Willows FC and Beneavin College.
“We won both games. [They] were pretty similar to how we play in America. It may have been a bit more physical in Ireland,” Bamundo said. When talking about the culture, he said, “The biggest difference was driving on the other side of the road.”
Bamundo also said his favorite aspect of the Irish culture was their food and that he would like to return to Ireland in the future, if given the chance.
The soccer team’s spring break destination was unforgettable to the students, faculty and family who experienced a new country, and unforgettable to a coach who was able to return home.