GoPlay had the pleasure of taking Duke Men’s Soccer team on a South American tour of Argentina and Uruguay last month.
The diary from their 10-day trip, from the players’ themselves can found on the university’s official website.
Here are a few extracts from the players whose trip was truly memorable.
“After many movies and the inevitable struggle of sleeping on a plane, we finally made it to Argentina. It wasn’t long into our drive from the airport to the hotel that we passed the training facility of the Argentinian National Team.
“We even caught a glimpse of some players on the field. It was hard not to imagine the kinds of goals Messi has scored on those fields…”
“Today was our first full day in Argentina and it came hard and fast! Waking up at 6:30 was a bit of a challenge for some of the boys as we still were feeling a bit of jet lag from the eight-hour flight.
“We had the privilege of playing against River Plate’s academy comprised of players aged from sixteen to eighteen. The field was next to the River Plate stadium, Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, which was an amazing spectacle that holds so much history.
“The match presented a different complex to what we were used to as River Plate had very technical players all over the field who were all comfortable on the ball. The game ended 1-1 against River Plate and was the start of a truly momentous day!”
“Yesterday was our last day in Buenos Aires. As always during this trip, we decided to make the most out of our time in the Argentinian capital city.
“The alarm went off at 8:30. Waking up early was not hard because we all knew that on planta baja (“ground floor”) the tables would be filled with great breakfast choices. With our bellies full, we then left the hotel. Destination: Casa Rosa (the “Pink House”), the building where the Argentinian president works.
“It is still unknown why the walls of this building were painted in pink. The tour guide explained that there are different explanations for the characteristic color of the presidential house. However, none of these explanations is fully accepted, and many embrace the idea that the color pink is simply for aesthetic purposes.
“The main attractions of the house were the Presidential and Vice Presidential offices, the “Salon Eva Perón” (Eva Perón was the First Lady of the Argentinian president Juan Perón in the post-War World II period, and she is an iconic figure for the country still today), and the room where the president takes the oath at the beginning of his tenure.”
“After a few busy days immersing ourselves in Argentina’s storied soccer culture and competing against some of the countries best young academy players from River and Boca, Friday offered us the opportunity to explore the city of Buenos Aires, dubbed the “little Paris of South America” because of its wealthy French influence from many decades ago.
“We strolled only a few blocks from our hotel and proceeded to spend the entire morning slaloming through the neighborhoods of Palermo and Barrio Parque on a bike tour.”
“I would like to thank Ruben for welcoming us to his country with open arms. Because of him my teammates and I were able to share some truly unforgettable experiences.
“It was a privilege to spend time and learn from a true football legend like Ruben.”
“Today was our third day in Argentina and it was another early start. We had an awesome time last night enjoying the Boca game at the Bombonera and we got to wake up this morning and play the U-19 team. We were really excited for the chance to play Boca and I think because of it we played a lot better and were a lot more confident on the ball.
“We started off pretty well in the first half but conceded a goal before halftime. We responded well after the half and Daniele [Proch] scored a good goal to bring us level before Boca scored two goals near the end.”
“As a whole, the trip was one that would not be forgotten soon and undoubtedly will be a highlight of everyone’s time at Duke and as part of the men’s soccer team.
“There was never a dull moment with such unbelievable experiences in countries and cultures so dedicated to the sport we all love so much. From the Boca Juniors game all the way to just learning about the history of Uruguay and Argentina, there were so many memorable moments and lessons learned throughout this trip.
“First and foremost, on behalf of everyone who got to be a part of this amazing trip there is a huge appreciation for GoPlay and their organization and management of our trip, and I would like to express how thankful we are for family, friends and alumni, that without their generosity and donations this trip could never have happened.
“With such a once in a lifetime experience provided by them, these things do not go unnoticed by the players and coaches.
“While talking and interacting with THE Rúben Sosa, another lesson that really sunk in with me was that high class soccer isn’t about what you have but what you put in. I
“It’s easy to get comfortable with the luxuries and resources that are readily available within the United States but what Rúben Sosa harped on during our time together was that although Uruguay doesn’t have as much resources and money to provide for their soccer players, the Uruguayans have such passion and dedication to the sport so much that it doesn’t matter to them what they have because they will work until they get to where they want to be.”