College Soccer

SPU Soccer Season Starts Early with Trip to Spain

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SEATTLE – The Seattle Pacific men get an early jump on the upcoming soccer season with an 11-day trip to Spain that begins next week.
The Falcons first regular-season contest isn’t until Sept. 3, but five incoming Falcons freshmen showed up for their inaugural practice Thursday night along with the returning players from last year’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship squad.
The SPU men have six training sessions in Seattle before departing on Aug. 6 en route to Madrid. They return to Seattle on Aug. 16.
This is the first foreign trip for the Falcons, who have made their mark on U.S. soil by winning five NCAA Division II national championships and appearing in the playoffs 34 times.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity we have to go to Spain,” Coach Mark Collings exclaimed. “We’ll get to experience another culture, of course, and have some new surroundings for training and have some different opposition as well.”
The Falcons are scheduled to play four friendlies, beginning with back-to-back outings on Aug. 9, versus Rayo Majadahonda and then RSD Alcalá. They clash with Rayo Vallecano on Aug. 12 and conclude the slate of exhibition games on Aug. 14 against U-19 Las Rosas.
“It’s going to be great. We’re going to really be stretched in some of these games and then we’ll have some games that should be similar in competition level to us,” said Collings.
It won’t be all business for SPU, which has numerous non-competitive events on the itinerary, including a visit to the Read Madrid facilities and trips to the cities of Segovia and Toledo that have both been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
“As far as the soccer goes we’ll get a great experience, but I think the guys are just as excited about seeing Spain itself and all the culture and history that’s there,” Collings described. “We’ll have an opportunity to see a couple of the really historic cities there as well.
“More importantly it’s going to give our guys a chance to bond. When you see another country and their community and culture, it’s one thing. But to do it with all your brothers that are in the SPU men’s soccer program makes it even more special.”
Nine starters return from the SPU squad that compiled a 16-2-2 record in 2014 and earned the West Region’s No. 1 seed while participating in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season.
The Falcons open their 2015 collegiate campaign at home on Sept. 3 against California Baptist. Kick-off is 7 p.m. at Interbay Stadium.
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