BANGOR, Maine — The Husson University men’s soccer program will visit Germany, Holland and Belgium in August as part of its preseason.
The trip will last from Aug. 1-10 and the Eagles will train and play four exhibition games in addition to attending four professional games. They will return on Aug. 11.
The players have had to raise $1,500 apiece and men’s soccer coach Jeff Gettler said there will be more fundraising projects to cover the cost of the trip.
Under NCAA Division III guidelines, teams can travel to a foreign country every three years. It is believed to be the first time a Husson men’s soccer team will travel abroad.
The women’s soccer team, under former coach Keith Bosley, went on tours to Italy, Ireland and Costa Rica.
Gettler said trips abroad are extremely beneficial for several reasons.
“It gives you a tremendous start to your season,” said Gettler. “You train a little bit, go on the trip and take a week off before coming into preseason [at school]. You don’t have to worry about fitness.
“And when you go away, the camaraderie and team-building you gain is tremendous,” added Gettler.
He said they will open next season on the road against NCAA Division III Tournament team Babson College along with Wheaton College, both from Massachusetts.
“I feel like we’ll have an advantage in those games,” said Gettler. “We’ll be a little better prepared.”
He said their four games in Europe will be against Under-19 club teams that will challenge them.
“We didn’t pick games in which we’ll be way overextended, but we will struggle to keep up with the pace of play and the way they’re playing. It will be a level a lot of our kids have never experienced or seen before,” said Gettler. “That will help us.”
He also is looking forward to taking them to watch professional games.
“A lot of guys have never experienced seeing that level of play and the passion surrounding the whole environment,” said Gettler. “This will increase their exposure to the world game. It will be great to share this with them.”
Gettler is exploring the possibility of having his players earn academic credit for it.
Like Gettler, Husson athletic director Bob Reasso has taken teams he previously coached on similar trips.
“They get to see other cultures they wouldn’t normally get to see. It’s an incredible cultural experience,” said Reasso, who assists Gettler and will be on the trip as well.