Men’s Soccer | 2018 Denmark Foreign Tour

Head coach Cam Rast giving instructions at training prior to the Denmark Foreign Tour.
Head coach Cam Rast giving instructions at training prior to the Denmark Foreign Tour.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara men's soccer team travels to Denmark on Wednesday to play six matches against top Danish club teams as part of an 11-day foreign tour. 
The Broncos will be based out of a seaport town of Køge and will travel to surrounding areas including Copenhagen and a trip to Sweden while gaining a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience. 
Leading up to the overseas tour, the Broncos are allowed to train 10 days giving head coach Cam Rast and his staff an opportunity for early training as allowed by the NCAA when scheduling a foreign tour once every four years.  
"The tour will help us jump start with our training which is a big priority for us so we can get off to a good start to our season and be farther along.  It's also an opportunity to culturally experience Europe when the World Cup is fairly nearby in Russia and to immerse ourselves culturally with the Scandinavian countries but also in the soccer cultures.  Also the tour will help to spread the Santa Clara University name from a recruiting perspective," said Rast.
Departing Oakland on Wednesday, Santa Clara's travelling party will arrive in Copenhagen at 4:25 p.m. on Thursday (June 28), adjusting their watches nine hours ahead for the time difference. 
Upon touching down at Copenhagen, the team will transfer to Køge, located approximately 25 miles outside of the Copenhagen.  HB Køge, a professional Danish soccer club will host the Broncos allowing the team to use its facilities and train.  
On Friday (June 29), the team will train twice, in the morning and in the afternoon while getting acclimated to its surroundings.  
The Broncos will play its six matches over a seven-day stretch beginning on June 30 against local first and second division teams. 
"The six games we'll be playing will give both the returners and each of the new players a chance to compete, play and bond.  We will field an interchangeable squad given the number of matches we'll be playing.  It'll give the guys a chance to play their way into the top squad," said Rast.   
The team gets a break from training and playing games on July 2nd and the 5th as it will take a tour of Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö.
"Copenhagen has beautiful canals since the country is comprised of a peninsula and islands.  We're going to tour Copenhagen by water and its supposed to be a fantastic tour so we're looking forward to that," said Rast.  "Malmö is just across the bridge over in Sweden.  We're going to go see the city and get a little bit of a different feel on what that country is like.  The standard of living up there is fantastic.  The people are very committed to each other and to the common good of the country and its something that'll be good for our players to experience."   
Another experience the Bronco squad will be exposed to is an opportunity to follow the World Cup in a soccer crazy nation.  
"The way the World Cup schedule played out is we'll be at the tail end of the group stages when we fly over there and the knockout stages will occur after we arrive.  If Denmark advances from its group, they'll play on one of the days we'll be there so we'll do the best we can to get the team to downtown Copenhagen and just immerse ourselves," said Rast.  "But we also know that there will be so much great soccer played along with the viewing parties so that part is exciting for us.  I want our guys to experience that.  I don't know how many of the members of the team have ever travelled internationally or ever experienced being in a culture like that so I'm really excited for them."
The Broncos conclude its foreign tour flying back to Oakland on July 7. 

Be sure to periodically check the Santa Clara Broncos athletics website for updates from the trip.
June 27 – Depart from Oakland International airport to Copenhagen via London.
June 28 – Arrive in Copenhagen and transfer to Køge
June 29 – Morning and afternoon training sessions.  
June 30 – Morning training session.  Match at 2 p.m. local time.
July 1 – Morning training session.  Match at 2 p.m. local time.
July 2 – Morning training session.  Sightsee Copenhagen.
July 3 – Morning training session.  Match at 3 p.m. local time.
July 4 – Morning training session.  Match at 3 p.m. local time.  Depart Copenhagen for Malmö. 
July 5 – Morning training session.  Sightsee Malmö.  
July 6 – Matches at noon and 2 p.m. local time. 
July 7 – Depart Copenhagen and arrive at Oakland.

Denmark - June 27th, 2018

Day 1 - The Journey Begins

In 1999 it was Spain, 2003, England, then Japan in 2007 and today we depart for Denmark. The 11 days we will be out of country will be a great test for this new group and critically important for this season and its success. Most were here at SCU following finals to train and prepare. Incoming players filtered in during the two week preparation, building numbers and strength into this year's squad. The preparation phase was helpful; useful to introduce our system of play but more importantly to institute a stronger mentality and culture. To this point the staff and I couldn't be more pleased.

Training has consisted of functional repetition and tactical organization. Positional knowledge and overall conceptual application allow us to build a working framework to apply what we know and what we have learned. We are inspired by much of what we see in the World Cup and look to apply many of those lessons. There will be six games to divide up much valuable playing time. Between elite tier reserve teams and top young sides we will have a great test of quality. HB Køge is our hosting club in the Copenhagen area and we are grateful for their support of our trip. Valdemar Anderson, last year's captain, is on trial with this pro club looking to make his way further in the game. His first test will be that of his former collegiate side.

Much preparation went into getting us here. Most importantly the commitment from our University and Athletic Department boss, Renee Baumgartner, on sponsoring the foreign tour. Huge thanks to Staci Gustafson for University level logistics and Global Engagement support, Carl Reed for housing and food, Ryan Holleman and Zach Sherwood for medical clearances, Kyle Eisenmann and Josh Gray for NCAA Compliance and academics respectively and last, but surely not least our accounting gals, Alisa, Cheryl and Tiff for helping figure out the money side of things.

For now, as we begin to board the bus, we look to travel safe and enjoy the journey. Stay tuned, more to come from the other side of the pond.

Go Broncos!!

Denmark - June 28th, 2018

Day 2

The 18 hours of travel and our transfer through London's Gatwick International Airport and into Denmark's Kastrup Lufthavn was without event. Guys slept as much as they could on the flights, some more than others. They occupied their time with in-flight trivia, movies and music. Even a coach got into their trivia challenge before falling asleep. The motor coach was there to meet us, always a good sign for the start of the trip. Forty-five minutes west and we arrived at our final destination, the coastal city of Køge. Needless to say by the time we pulled in there was an air of excitement tempered mostly by travel fatigue. All to be expected.

Ajay had them checked in at Køge Danshostel upon arrival and after a jog, stretch and a lengthy roll out with Zach it was time for dinner. Spaghetti was on tap and the guys were famished. They ate through nearly all the kitchen could bring. A quick meeting to set the stage for the next 10 days and the guys were ready for rest. Sleep was intermittent and most were awake by the early morning. Day one is always the toughest to deal with but for all intents and purposes the guys adjusted quickly.

The Danshostel is a traditional stay for players and travelers alike in Denmark. By no means is it fancy accommodations but gives our guys a real look into life as a young aspiring foreign player. Becoming self-reliant is an important part in their development and this provides a great forum to grow in this area. If nothing else it should give us all a sense of how blessed we are to have so much.

On a player note, the young guys are starting to settle in, which is always fun to watch. Some have found their voice while others are navigating their station in the group. RJ and Presten have found their stride and provide a comical banter, giving us all periodic levity. Alan, Barajas and Julian's modesty and Lalo's kind nature give an important temperament and balance to the group. Martin, Saku, Bishop and Perez are quiet but bring a strong competitive presence. By all accounts it is a good group.

Training starts tomorrow and games are only a day away. Can't wait.

Go Broncos!

Denmark - June 29th, 2018

Day 3

Training begins...

The morning session was focused on loosening the bodies and getting on the ball. They were fairly sharp in the ball movement exercises and for all the jet lag, they came through it quite well. An hour and 15 minutes later and we had accomplished what we needed.

The afternoon session was all about organization. We met as a group prior to training and went over attacking schemes and defending shape, set pieces and situational tactics.... and throw ins. The difference is in the details. We spent much needed time reviewing the parts of the game on the field which make such a huge impact in the results.

Following training there was a moment to rest and get into downtown Køge for the evening. A chance to feel the culture in Europe during the World Cup is like nothing else. There is a buzz and an energy that connects the worldwide soccer fan. They take so much pride in their country and Denmark's success in the World Cup will be great to enjoy two days from now when they take on Croatia. Go Danish Dynamite!

Ajay, Arthur and Zach have been fantastic with all their support of the trip. They have put in many hours behind the scenes to ensure the guys have what we need. Snacks, clean gear, stretching, taping... you name it. The jobs are before and after all the playing takes place so it goes mostly unseen. It is critical to have these guys and they have gone above and beyond the call. Much appreciated.

Tomorrow ... Game Day 1.

Go Broncos!

Denmark - June 30th, 2018

Day 4

The host club HB Køge (1st Division) invited us to play in their stadium on our first match day. We are to play two games, one with the full professional side and the second with their U23 team. This will give nearly every player much anticipated game time. They are in their preseason and need quality matches to prepare for their domestic league, so the timing works well for our group to play high level opponents. To best describe the level, it is a mix of experienced professionals with talented youth players searching for a contract. Last year Bronco captain, Valdemar Andersen happened to be on trial for HB Køge which was important for us to see and measure ourselves against this standard. Of note, I think the guys were pleased with the stadium and overall facility as it was a higher standard than the training center.

The first match took on an urgency from the opening whistle. They pressed us up high and it took us nearly the whole half to find our legs and settle into some quality play. Both teams had looks, HB Køge a few more. The score line was even 0-0 at half and I was impressed with the fight and resilience in our group to compete. The second half started about the same and we were exchanging stretches of play and shifts in momentum. A loss of concentration at the back post and we were the first to blink. Before the afternoon was finished we had dropped in our quality and would learn the lesson about sustaining the standard from the first half over 90 minutes. To sum it up, it was slap in the neck as a warning from a long time veteran.... we have to get better.

The second game had a mix of younger professionals from the first fixture and those in a development phase for HB Køge. Most of the starting group for us for this match were first time Broncos. It was a good chance to see them out on the field competing. The quality was fine at times with continuity our biggest challenge. Playing quickly, moving off the ball, defending as a group especially the press was inconsistent. Still they battled and there were some bright spots. The score line at the end would be 0-0.

These games are to learn about the group, build strength into the quality of our play while finding combinations that will help us win games. The consternation from the first match was tempered later on that day. Both Messi's Argentina and reigning European Champion Ronaldo's Portugal go out of the World Cup in the first knock out phase. It reminds us there are no guarantees in this game and it is about the level we hold ourselves to as a group that will make the difference.... just ask France and Uruguay.

Tomorrow will be about recovery and a chance to spend the afternoon in Copenhagen. All the fanfare for our country of residence should help us move forward as we head toward Match Day 2.

Enough for tonight... and Go Broncos!


Denmark - July 1st, 2018

Day 5

Yesterday's matches gave a first look at some guys and we will make some adjustments as we head into the next couple of games. The film will be important as a teaching tool and a great chance for the guys to self-evaluate. For now our recovery is the most important part of the process. A large majority of the guys headed for the local pool for an unloading of the legs with some resistance. Others will have an impactful training to make progress toward return to play.

What was supposed to be a short easy jog turned into a lengthy, high paced affair. Henning was thrilled and took it out on a tree at the end of the run. Once at the pool the spirit in the group improved. It could have been the large, inflatable alligator or the post work out turn on the water slide, too tough to tell. 

Now done with the heavy lifting for the day we could turn our sights on the two knock out matches from the World Cup; Spain/Russia and Croatia/Denmark. The plan was to head into Copenhagen for dinner and a viewing party at the National Stadium. Over 25,000 people had been at the previous group stage matches and we wanted to be right in the middle of it. 

We decide we would take the train into the city as public transportation is easy and efficient to use. It would drop us at Central Station, near Tivoli gardens. Once the guys got off the train they headed off into the bustling shopping/restaurant area. It is quite a tourist destination but fun for the guys to explore the capital city. They would eat and meet at the FC Copenhagen / National Stadium at 7:30p local time. This would give us time to corral the group and find a good viewing spot. 

What happened next was completely unexpected. They cancelled the viewing at the stadium and we were sent scattering to the local restaurants and pubs to find the game. Some guys got back into the middle of town and met up with the home crowd. Others stayed local and would take the charter bus back to Køge. Such a bummer. The game was fantastic but a tough day for the Danish Dynamite.

Such is life.

Tomorrow we get back to work.

Denmark - July 2nd, 2018

Blog by Tennyson Stevens: "Tenny" is a rising sophomore on the men's soccer team from Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Day 6

On the sixth day of our trip and our fifth in Denmark the team woke up and had an early breakfast at our hostel in Køge before our 10 a.m. training session at HB Køge. The club was gracious enough to allow us to use their facilities during our stay in Denmark such as access to their fields, locker rooms, and cafeteria for post training meals. The club was a massive help to making this trip a possibility. After training we had to hurry and shower, eat at the club, and get back to the hostel so that we could catch a bus to Copenhagen to take a canal tour of the city on a boat.

Before the tour we had an hour to explore Copenhagen as a team. The canal tour was an amazing experience for the boys. It was definitely something new and unique that all of us were excited for. We saw and learned about unique and historic sites in Copenhagen such as the Danish royal palace, national bank, and the Denmark opera. As soon as the tour ended the majority of the guys caught the second half of the Brazil and Mexico round of 16 World Cup match in a local bar. After another eventful day in Copenhagen we headed back to HB Køge's facilities for our last meal of the day. We finished off our day by watching the Belgium and Japan match as a team and getting rest at the hostel before turning in for the night in preparation of our big upcoming match tomorrow.

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