all photos, credit: Kara Lowery
Soccer Without Borders Nicaragua program hosted Penn State Women's Soccer earlier this month for a week-long international immersion experience. The trip had three main components: working with the girls and coaches of SWB Nicaragua, supporting the Nicaraguan women's national teams through practices, games, and coaching demonstrations, and cultural immersion. Below is a reflection from Penn State Women's Soccer on their time with Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua, originally posted at http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/w-soccer/spec-rel/032018aac.html on March 20, 2018
"Talk to anyone involved with Penn State women’s soccer and you will learn that those are Ann Cook’s two passions. In addition to coaching at Penn State, she has been involved with Soccer Without Borders over the past 10 years.
According to its website, Soccer Without Borders is an organization that uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.
With the Nittany Lions able to go on an international trip this spring, Cook was able to bring her two worlds together.
'I give Ann a lot of credit for taking us on this trip because it is something that she has been so passionate about and she is also passionate about Penn State women's soccer,' Charlotte Williams said. 'Uniting those two things were great for her but for us as well.'
During Penn State’s nine-day trip with Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua, the Nittany Lions were not only able to give back to the local communities, enjoy the scenery, but also play a friendly against the Nicaraguan Women’s National Team in Managua on International Women’s Day.
For Williams, a rising senior midfielder, being able to play Nicaragua on International Women’s Day meant a lot to her, her teammates, and the local community.
'That game was special to me because it was on International Women's Day and I just think being in a third world country, playing their national team, and having the game in general get a ton of support from the locals, I just thought that it was really cool,' Williams said.
The match ended in a 2-1 victory for the Nittany Lions with Williams assisting on Kerry Abello’s goal to put Penn State in front, 1-0, during the 35th minute of play. Following the final whistle, the two teams shook hands and then Penn State made its way to celebrate with the young girls from Granada, who traveled an hour away from Managua.
'It was just like the greatest feeling after the game and you would go over and see some of the girls that you bonded with throughout the week and just the joy they have and the way they cheered us on during the entire game,' Williams added."