5-A-Side Soccer Games And Training Aboard Cruise Ships in and Ports Worldwide
AND an All-Inclusive Multi-Generational Family Holiday All-IN-ONE
By: Leslie Gimeno-Rosenthal, Assistant Coach – U14 Girls Cape Express Bulldogs
The Soccer@Sea trip far exceeded my expectations, both as a Coach and as a parent. Karen and Steve Everitt went out of their way to ensure that a good time was had by all, and that all of the details with both the cruise vacation and soccer camp were taken care of. Coaches John and Gabriel were fantastic, each bringing their international version of skill, enthusiasm, and love of the game to every moment of our camp experience.
Our U-14 girls team had the time of their lives, enjoying the perfect mixture of soccer and family vacation. They spent their days attending training sessions, going to buffets, soaking in the hot tubs, seeing world-class entertainment, and just simply enjoying each other. The opportunity of playing the Girls’ National Team in Bermuda was an unparalleled international experience that will not be forgotten by any of us.
There is a reason that Soccer@Sea calls itself the “Ultimate Soccer Camp.” It combined the best elements of soccer and vacation into one seamless package that was thoroughly enjoyed by all 64 of our group members, aged 5 to 75.
Cape Express Soccer Club is a regional soccer club located in Cape May County, at the southernmost tip of New Jersey. Each year, when teams reach the U-14 level, the Club provides funding for each team to travel to a destination of their choice for a soccer camp and/or tournament. Individual teams do fundraising on their own, usually from the U-8 age, to contribute to the trip. The purpose for the excursion is to provide a great soccer experience to enhance the skills and lessons learned by playing for Cape Express through the years. The Cape Express Soccer Club is able to provide the aforementioned funding due to the successful George Pratt Tournament held each Columbus Day weekend, and Beach Blast, one of the largest sand soccer tournaments in the Country, during the last full weekend in June.
The U-14 Cape Express Bulldogs were formed 6 years ago as a U-9 team. We worked hard throughout the years to remain a positive, upbeat team focusing on sportsmanship and providing a great learning experience for our girls. In anticipation of our U-14 trip, we have held a variety of events including yard sales, car washes, and a very successful beef & beer. We were proud of our efforts and when the time came to start planning for the trip, we formed a small committee. Each of the 5 people on our committee researched a trip option, which included a specific date, soccer event, activities, and estimated cost. The 5 options were: Hawaii, Canada, San Diego, Disney World, and Soccer@Sea.
At a team meeting held in the Fall of 2011, the options were presented. A silent poll was taken via email in the week after the meeting. Soccer@Sea trip to Bermuda aboard the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas was the unanimous pick of all 16 families on the team. Everyone felt that the convenience, value, and soccer experience offered was by far the best choice to suit our needs.
Karen and Steve made the cruise planning easy. There was an enormous amount of detail work involved in getting the information from our 16 players and their families (64 people in all), but Soccer@Sea got it done. A few months before the cruise, I spoke with John Revell, one of the Soccer@Sea trainers, who catered the training program to fit our needs. He created the perfect blend of team training, individual skills, and family vacation!
We boarded the Explorer of the Seas on April 7th in Bayonne, and our 16 very excited Bulldogs and their families were greeted by the Soccer@Sea staff. During the initial meeting, the girls were offered an overview of their training, and a general itinerary for the trip. While at Sea, the girls attended morning and evening training sessions that focused on individual skills, decision-making, and communication. These were excellent compliments to our regular team training sessions at home.
The most exciting part of the trip was the match scheduled against the Bermuda National Team. We boarded a “party bus” with a lively atmosphere, and enjoyed the lovely scenery as we made our way to the stadium. We met the other team and coaches, and played a great competitive match on their turf field overlooking the ocean. After the game, the Soccer@Sea Cup was presented to the Bermuda team, which made the winning goal in the last 2 minutes on a penalty kick. Many photos of the girls were taken by both our parents and the Bermuda team’s parents.
Beach soccer was played the following day on the pink sand beaches of the world-famous Horseshoe Bay. It was great fun, as the families of the team joined in for some great spirited games. The coaches were fantastic and created a great atmosphere for learning and enjoying the sport.
The final full day aboard the cruise ship was spent preparing for the small-sided World Cup finale. Girls were divided into teams, and spent their afternoon free time making up team t-shirts. The games were fun to watch, and the girls enjoyed the competition! Following the Championship game, we went indoors for our awards ceremony. Each player was presented with a medal to compliment their array of Soccer@Sea gear. Soccer moms, and our honorary “Soccer mom Roger” were also given medals as thanks for their years of support.