Tuesday This morning we left the hotel at 6:45 am to go watch the UNC Women’s Team train. For their training, the girls scrimmaged each other for two 20 minute halves. Something that surprised us was that there were boys on the roster for practicing purposes. These boys were put on the team to increase the speed and intensity of the play. There also were some US National Team players at the session. We saw Cindy Parlow and Cat Reddick. Kendell Fletcher accidentally kicked a ball into where we were sitting and gave one of my teammates a bloody nose. It was pretty funny and a great photo op with a National Team player!Sometimes we take for granted how much great soccer we have in the Triangle. I'm glad I don't have to make a 23 hour bus trip to watch the talent we have here on display every day!
After the practice the assistant coach, Bill Palladino showed us around the athletic part of campus. We got to see Finnley Field, the soccer building, and the actual field that the UNC women’s team plays on. Once we finished touring the campus, we walked through the pit and onto Franklin Street to do some shopping. Another famous face we saw was Tyler Hansbrough. Some of the girls tracked him down and got a picture with the basketball all-star! When we got to Franklin St. we split up into smaller groups and looked in all of the shops.
At about 2:00 pm we left UNC to visit their rival, Duke. At Duke we walked through the student center and did some more shopping. Then we went into the Duke Cathedral. After walking through the cathedral, we proceeded on to the Duke basketball stadium. We spent about 45 minutes there taking pictures, sitting on Duke’s bench, and walking around on the court. Duke also has botanical gardens on campus, so we walked over to the gardens to walk around and look at all the beautiful flowers. By this time most of us were tired of walking and very hungry, so we ended our day with dinner at Cracker Barrel and headed back to the hotel.
The blogosphere is an incredible place. While it allows me to communicate with thousands on a daily basis, it also gives me the chance to carry on one-on-one conversations with folks that I would never meet otherwise. During the course of my blogging, I've had all kinds of interesting feedback from readers ranging from the parents of players I've photographed to even the author of one of my favorite books! Most recently, I struck up a conversation with Steve Olsen who runs a blog very similar to TriSoccerFan which covers soccer in the Springfield, Missouri area. Steve brought my attention to one of his players, Autumn McEachern, who plays for the local Rolla Bulldogs and is headed to Buies Creek next year to play for Campbell (number 14 red in this video). She and her teammates recently made a trip to North Carolina for a few friendlies and visits to both the Duke and UNC campuses. I found it interesting to follow the roadtrip from both the coach's perspective as well as that of the girls. Here's an except from the girls' journal: