The women's soccer team began its quest for the NCAA Division III championship in August with a trip to Italy for 10 days of preseason play—and a little sightseeing. Head Coach Amy Reifert led 23 of the team's 25 members to Rome, Florence, Venice, and Cuomo, where they played professional Italian teams and visited the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, and the Alps.
The women's team usually spends its month-long preseason at Stagg Field, practicing four-and-a-half hours daily. But this year Reifert wanted to establish a "solid base for the year" by emphasizing teammate unity. "We went to Italy as much for the experience as for the soccer," she explains. "This team is a very close unit, which is so important when it comes to team play."
Midfielder Cinnamon Pace, a fourth-year biology concentrator, also hoped the trip would foster camaraderie. "Traveling abroad as a team is something only we are doing out of all the Chicago teams this season," she said a week before departing for Italy. "You always get great stories and a lot of bonding when you do things like this."
With two overseas losses, including one to a team boasting three World Cup players, and a win against another Italian team, Chicago came back well prepared for a 4-0 home victory against Lawrence College in its regular season opener on September 7.