Written by: Jackson Taylor
While several other Division I soccer teams participated in skills camps and scrimmages across the United States this summer, the Omaha men’s soccer team improved their game by traveling to Costa Rica for nine days.
During their trip, from July 2-11, the Mavericks played in four exhibition matches against top Costa Rican professional teams. These games were against teams from the top professional divisions in the country. According to Head Coach Jason Mims, Costa Rica was ranked fifth in the entire world after the World Cup.
The Omaha soccer team documented each day of their trip on a blog that can be found on the Omaha Athletics website.
“To play against professionals is always great,” Mims wrote. “But the experience you get from playing in a foreign country is something we cannot replicate.” Mims also noted that the entire trip will prepare them for the upcoming season.
Although the trip was an opportunity to face excellent competition and improve their game, the UNO soccer team also made sure to immerse themselves in Costa Rican culture. The Mavericks also made sure to mix in some fun while on their trip, as they went on a rafting excursion and zip lined through the rain forest. The team spent four days in the city, three days in the mountains and three days on the beach. The team even saw a professional soccer game on the 4th of July.
The Maverick student-athletes spent a day of service in the beginning of their trip at Asociacion Obras del Espiritu Santo (Acts of the Holy Spirit Association), a large shelter serving over 70,000 people in the inner city. The team toured the facility, donated school supplies and got the chance to play soccer with the children.
“Overall it was a very humbling experience for the team and makes us think about how fortunate we are,” senior goalkeeper Josh Christensen said. “Many of the children at the shelter come from nothing at home and depend on the shelter for all of their needs and some are there permanently as they grow up.”
After earning a share of the Summit League title, the bar will be raised this year for Omaha Soccer. The Mavericks will open their season with the Black/White scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 15, before hosting the University of Washington at Caniglia Field on Aug. 22.
“This was a once in a lifetime trip for our student-athletes,” Mims said. “You learn so much from a trip like this. Costa Rica is a wonderful country full of great sights, sounds and people.”