Aug. 11, 2004
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team is diving into its nine-day training trip to Brazil and the first journal entry comes from fifth-year defender and team tri-captain Melissa Tancredi. In addition to being the leader of the Notre Dame defense and a top candidate for 2004 national player-of-the-year honors, Tancredi also is sure to bring her lively spirit and unique perspective on life to her reports from Brazil. Many players from the travel party will be checking in at various points during the Brazil trip to provide a range of insights into Brazil and the 2004 Irish squad (check back soon for a tentative schedule of offerings). Notre Dame will be playing three doubleheaders during the trip and the first is set for tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 12). Both games will be played at Jaguariuna Stadium, with the first set for 2:00 p.m. (Brazil currently is two hours ahead of South Bend/Chicago) versus a very talented team called Una Santana. This team includes several players who star for Brazil’s full national team and its under-19 squad (the National Team players currently are in Athens and interestingly soon will face the U.S. in an Olympic Games matchup). The second game will follow at 4:00 p.m. versus Motorola, a club team that is sponsored by the company (the players also work for Motorola as part of their deals with the club). Offerings on Aug. 12 will include coach Randy Waldrum’s pre-game thoughts on the Brazil trip and his team’s early progress, game reports with quotes, a “Freshman Focus” Q&A with Amanda Cinalli and the feature story on Christie Shaner’s previous visit to Brazil in 2003 (when she visited for a month and compiled a report of the famous Flamenco men’s soccer club). Tancredi’s journal entry follows below: Notre Dame Women’s Soccer 2004 Letters From Brazil – Entry #1 (Melissa Tancredi; Aug. 11) Hello Notre Dame fans. The morning of Aug. 10 was the beginning of our long voyage to Brazil. The morning was an early one, it began with an 8:00 a.m. departure … but guess what, we NEVER leave on time. I think coach schedules our departures an hour-and-a-half early than needed just because we are the most forgetful team ever! Little did we know that the bus ride to O’Hare would be the best sleep we would be getting for a long time to come. The first flight was a short tease, it was about three hours and went pretty smoothly. We arrived in Miami with almost four hours to spare. Some ventured off to find good food (California Pizza Kitchen and Sushi) and others were treated by Becky Tweneboah’s family with a load full of Jenkin’s BBQ…I know…we’re spoiled! Although it was almost time to board, we would not do so without a little problem in the plan. Supposedly, our soccer balls we were travelling with had to be deflated before any of us could board…I believe this was a mistake in the management department…hahaha. Sooo, our trusty ‘keeper coach Dawn volunteered (like she had a choice) to deflate 18 soccer balls with a small paper clip. We are so proud of her, she did it in record time and we were able to board the plane after all…yay Dawn.I can just see her shaking her head right now. Now for the flight to Sao Paulo, it was crowded and packed to almost the very last seat, and that can be annoying when travelling for eight hours. In addition to lack of sleeping room, the continuous turbulance for three hours did not help some of the travellers in our group either. No names mentioned (Jaime Scollon our athletic trainer…biggest “Nervous Nelly” flyer EVER). After two yummy meals and eight hours of pure comfort, I think we were all a little anxious to get off the plane and arrive in sunny Brazil, but sunny Brazil was very chilly Brazil that morning. This doesn’t sound like much of a smooth day, but all was eased when we arrived at our hotel and finally got settled in. After a long day of travel, we had finally arrived in Brazil. The hotel is much nicer then expected, and the weather is very beautiful…so far. Today we had our first practice, it was light and easy, just enough to get our legs back. So far, everyone looks real good and the freshmen are adapting real quickly. After dinner tonight, we headed to a professional men’s soccer game, and everyones was really excited for this. We have started this trip off on the right foot, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. To all the parents, the food is great so you dont have to worry ’bout your kids not eating…the only people who have to worry about anything are the poor maintenance guys who have to fix our toilets. We are looking forward to our first games together tomorrow. We will play both at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. Wish us luck! Ohhhh the game, what an experience! While waiting in the bus awaiting to be taken into the stadium, we were given a short pep talk and told not to stray away. We were also told to watch our pockets, purses, anything that could be easily stollen. So, yes, we were prepared to enter some sort of battlefield. But it was nothing like that. Outside the stadium, the music and drums were in full force as supporters for the home team Ponte Preta demonstarted their version of what we call “tailgating”. Everyone was being shuffled quickly into the stadium by our two bodyguards…yes bodyguards (neither one looked anything like Kevin Costner, though)…and everything was fine until Becky realized she had forgotten her ticket back in the bus. I told you our team is very forgetful. Well, we finally reached our seats and Becky joined us for an amazing display of soccer where the home team came out triumphant. Brazilians can just amaze you with their quick touches and speed of play…also the beer nuts were EXCELLENT and CHEAP too! It is around 11:00 p.m. and we are all back at the hotel now. After a very LONG day (I can’t even tell you how long we’ve been up), we are ready to crash. Goodnight, and my teammates and I will be back to update you on more of our trip. Also, we we will be giving you updates on our freshmen and several other neat stories about our great team. Thanks, Melissa “Canada” Tancredi Click here for the first Brazil release, detailing the team’s 24 hours of travel to Brazil. Click here to see the first photo gallery and a glimpse at the team hotel.