After another spectacular season for the Georgetown women’s soccer team (15-2-5, 8-0-2 Big East), which saw them finish atop of the Big East in the regular season and win their third consecutive Big East Championship, the Georgetown Hoyas more than earned the opportunity to decompress, bond and prepare for next season while abroad for their spring break trip to Italy.
Georgetown competed against professional talent during the trip, giving the team an opportunity to draw valuable lessons from experienced squads. While in Italy, the Hoyas competed in friendly matches against Como and Sampdoria, both top-flight teams, and against Fiorentina’s under-19 team in what was the final match for the soon-to-be graduating seniors.
The first of the top-flight friendlies was an early morning match against a Como side that balanced technical skill, physicality and Italian flair. The second match was an even more physical scrap against a Sampdoria side that did not hesitate to bring Georgetown’s players down the moment they dribbled even an inch past them.
First-year forward Henley Tippins said the physicality of their Italian opponents was the most important element for the team to incorporate next season.
“They just go 100% into every tackle, and I feel like our backline specifically, their tackles when we came home after playing Italian teams, we were just more aggressive,” Tippins said in an interview with The Hoya. “We saw the bad end of what it looks like to play an aggressive team.”
The Hoyas also watched two Serie A matches: Atalanta vs. Udinese B.C. and Inter Milan vs. U.S. Lecce. Prior to the Atalanta match, the team was brought onto the field and celebrated by the fans while holding both the American and Atalanta flags, an incredible experience made possible because of Atalanta’s American ownership.
Despite being a scoreless affair, the environment was electric, and the fans exuded passion. The same can be said of the Inter Milan match, which ended in a 2-0 victory for the home side.
Head Coach David Nolan said playing against overseas competition and watching soccer at one of the highest levels in the world have given his teams new perspectives.
“I always figure that it’s important that we go where they can get to see the passion of local fans watching the game,” Nolan told The Hoya. “The second part is just give them a chance to play international competition and just see how soccer is different and how players are different.”
The trip also allowed the team to gain global perspectives off the pitch, striking a balance between cultural learning and leisurely activities. While in Rome, the team visited the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Roman Forum. The trip culminated with a visit to Vatican City, which involved tours of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Throughout their stay, the team also partook in pregame gelato meals, pasta-making lessons and plentiful shopping runs — an easy highlight for many Hoyas.
Georgetown previously visited Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne and Ghent in 2019, and Barcelona and Madrid in 2015. This year, the Hoyas explored Rome, Florence, Vatican City, Genoa, Como and St. Moritz. Per NCAA rules, teams can travel overseas every four years.
Nolan said the coaching staff and athletic department believe these trips are integral to the program.
“We want the kids’ experience to be more than just what happens on the field,” Nolan said. “So any chance we can to enhance their overall college experience, we want to remind them and not treat them as athletes only.”
The closeness of this Hoyas squad was only strengthened by their trip, sophomore forward Maja Lardner said.
“We already do a lot of traveling together, obviously, when we are in season, but this was just totally different,” Lardner said in an interview with The Hoya. “It’s cool to just be able to say you went with your friends and walked around Rome.”
Lardner is optimistic about the Hoyas’ prospects in the upcoming season.
“We have a lot of talent, so I’m just excited to see how that plays out, and we have a lot of people that will be able to contribute to the team,” Lardner said. “I think we have a good chance of making it really far next year.”