Trip of a lifetime

The Muhlenberg women’s soccer team reflects on their trip abroad!

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The Muhlenberg Women's Soccer Team took a trip to England this past August. Photo by the Women's Soccer Instagram.

Hearing the roaring echoes in Wembley Stadium, walking the music-filled streets of Liverpool, exploring Windsor Castle, and sharing Percy Pigs candy on each bus ride were just a few memories that the Muhlenberg women’s soccer team will share forever. 

On Aug. 5, head coach, Kathy Prescott, led the Mules on a week-long excursion to England. The team visited London, Manchester, and Liverpool in aims to explore the cultures, sightsee and of course– play some soccer! Each destination, bus ride, practice and team dinner had its own unique charm. The team was equally grateful to have Athletic Trainer, Chelsea Bortz, travel with them ensuring great health along the way. 

Immediately upon arrival, the team battled their jetlag to see Wembley Stadium in the flesh and experience the magical atmosphere of a premier league football match between Manchester City and Arsenal F.C. If that first experience had not made it clear enough, the team’s second attendance to watch Crystal Palace play at Sheffield Stadium later in the week, and touring both Anfield and Tottenham Stadiums, revealed the importance of football to England’s culture. 

Anna May ‘26 stated, “To experience football in England is to immerse yourself in a culture where football is not just a game but a way of life. While in London, we had the privilege to watch two professional matches between premier league teams. The passion the fans have is unmatched. Their entire day shifts based on the score of the game.”

The team saw a new perspective of the sport that their lives had revolved around for so many years and, in return, gained a greater appreciation for it. Grace Hoffman ‘25 explains, “The huge football culture in England emphasized our love for the game even more. Seeing great soccer definitely translates to playing great soccer. While exploring the beautiful parts of London, Manchester and Liverpool, the team became closer than ever and got to spend quality time with our new coach in the process. Along with sightseeing, playing football everyday gave the team a great jumpstart into preseason. Watching the Arsenal versus Man City game the first day was the coolest part of the trip for sure. Being surrounded by the culture was truly a once in a life[time] experience for us.”

When the opportunities arose during the week to play local teams in London and Manchester, the opposing players welcomed Muhlenberg with appreciation, competitiveness and great sportsmanship. The team’s time spent bonding off the field during the trip directly translated into their play on the field. Connecting passes, communicating and scoring goals seemed to become more seamless as the week progressed. These achievements led the mules to earn a 3-0 win streak during their time abroad.  

Captain Bri Astbury ‘24 added, “The Premier League game atmosphere was something that I personally enjoyed a lot because you can tell how passionate the fan bases are about their team and sport as soccer is pretty much their whole world. Playing in international friendly matches is definitely something that I won’t forget. I believe that going undefeated in those matches while playing our style of play gave us a huge boost of confidence coming into preseason where we had to prepare to play some of the top teams in the country.”

In addition to the soccer aspect of the trip, the players found themselves becoming immersed in London city life and learning opportunities. Astbury continued, “The trip to England was truly one of the best experiences I’ve had so far here at Muhlenberg. In the eight days we were there, we got to experience so many different things as a team. Whether it was trying fish and chips all together, watching Premier League games, touring some of the most iconic stadiums in the UK or exploring the cities of London and Manchester on our own, I think we were all just in awe of what an awesome opportunity the trip really was.” 

Touring the Tower of London, grabbing lunch in the famous Borough Market, staring up at Big Ben, shopping along Oxford street and standing outside the gates of Buckingham Palace were all notable moments from the team’s time spent in the lively city. Defender, Grace Chopra ‘26, adds, “Going on the London Eye with some of my teammates was probably one of my favorite moments this summer and I’m really happy I could go.” 

Voluntarily partaking in the trip at their personal expense, the players took advantage of every moment and experience. Towards the end of the week, the team visited their final destination of Liverpool. Lucy Atwood ‘24 stated, “Touring Liverpool stadium and spending the afternoon in the city of Liverpool may have been my favorite part of the trip. A few of us explored the Beatles Museum and even ate dinner at the Cavern Restaurant, which was where the Beatles performed together for the very first time. Toward the end of the night, we picked up some dessert and sat out by the port together while enjoying the view. I will always remember it.” 

The trip definitely served the team well, as they powered through pre-season winning both scrimmages and eventually winning their first home game against Elizabethtown College on Fri, Sept. 1. 

Astbury summarizes the experience perfectly, “Getting to go abroad with a team that I love so much was truly something that I’ll cherish forever!”

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