Donosti Cup, June 29-July 10, 2017
Back in late June, FCUSA Massachusetts 02 Girls set off on an international adventure to compete in the Donosti Cup held in San Sabastian, Spain. The journey began in Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, before the team headed to San Sebastian in the Basque area of northern Spain to take part in the 27th edition of the Donosti Cup. Held every year, the Donosti Cup hosts teams from all over the world…59 countries represented from 5 continents.
The trip, hosted by Global Team Travel, combined the beauty and culture of Spain, with the game we all love. We got a chance to sit down with Head Coach, Emma Hankins who shared her highlights of the trip with us.
- Walking Las Ramblas, in Barcelona.
- Tour of Camp Nou Stadium (where Barcelona play).
- Surfing on the beaches in San Sabastian.
- Side trip to the city of Biarritz, France.
- Opening Ceremony at the Donosti Cup.
What was the best part of the trip, for you?
This was an unbelievable experience for me as a coach! My biggest highlight was seeing the team come together with the Spanish players who joined us at the tournament. When they met before the first game, we were all outside our comfort zones, and this showed both on and off the field. Our Spanish teammates were a huge part of the experience and joined us in representing USA at the opening ceremony, as well as for team dinners each night. By the end of the trip, there was an amazing connection that had developed between the American and Spanish players both on and off the field, and I think all of the players have met some friends for life – they are already planning their next trip!
How did our FCUSA Massachusetts team compare at the tournament?
Our team was able to compete in every game, against every team we played in the tournament, which was a huge testament to the players and the club! It was evident that the Spanish culture revolved around soccer (football!!) A lot of the Spanish players and teams showed incredible creativity and flair, looking to take advantage of 1v1’s and try out skills they had seen through watching professional games. This was a comparison to the American teams (including ourselves), who played a more physical game based on speed and athleticism. It was always interesting to see these two different styles come together, and to see who would come out on top!
You have been known to travel from time to time… Did the soccer aspect add to the experience?
Definitely; the soccer and competition gave everyone a common connection and brought the group together. We were always working towards something, and the team were great at finding a balance between preparing for games in order to be competitive, and making sure they were taking in the experience and making the most of their trip. We got to see players and teams from so many different cultures, and do what we all love in a completely different setting (including trying to coach in Spanish!!). This truly made it a once in a lifetime experience and made this more than just a vacation for everyone involved!
Stay tuned… as the 2004 Girls and Boys teams are set to travel in 2018!!