ROME, Italy - In the midst of an 11-day trip to Italy on May 12-23, the UConn men's soccer team wrapped up its ninth day of travel in Rome on Friday.
Day eight is in the books and it might have just been the best day yet here in Rome! The day started with breakfast at the hotel and then a training session at Rome's Olympic Training Center. After the training session had ended, the team headed back to the hotel to change and prepare for a day at Vatican City.
Before going to the Vatican, the team had a very delicious lunch right inside the heart of Rome. Authentic spaghetti and red sauce was served to the team and boy did we enjoy it. There were no remnants left on the table when lunch had ended! After finishing lunch it was on to the see the Pope!
Although our team is very diverse in nationalities as well as religious views, there was not one player who was not mesmerized by the beauty of Vatican City. The team was fortunate enough to take a tour within the Vatican museum and see all of its rich history and glamour. We were also able to go inside the Sistine Chapel that was famously painted by Michelangelo. This was without-a-doubt the highlight of the day for many of the team members. It was unfathomable how Michelangelo was able to create such a masterpiece on the ceiling of such a large church.
The Vatican tour closed out with a walk through the Basilica in St. Petersburg square, which allowed the team to see where the Pope conducts his liturgy. For the team to be able to visit one of, if not the, most religious places in the world was truly a gift in it of itself.
Following the tour of the Vatican the team settled down for dinner in one of the most famous piazzas within Rome. The team enjoyed great pizza and probably the best gelato in the entire world! When everyone was finished for dinner the team took the center of the square and started a "dance circle." Members of the team clapped and danced around which proved to be some great team bonding. However the true team bonding came when Coach Ray Reid decided to take the dance circle by storm. He danced with co-captain Kwame Awuah and it was quite the spectacle! People began to stop walking and watch as Coach Reid showed his moves to the entire piazza! He's still got it! Videos have been posted to the UConn Men's Soccer Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages so definitely check it out when you have time. We are already up to 10,000 views!
That was all for today, until tomorrow! Ciao!
Day 9 (Written by Andrew Cohen)
Another great day for the team in Italy! After breakfast at the hotel we were able to return to Trigoria, the training grounds for AS Roma, and practice on the 1st team's field. As this was our last practice of the offseason, the boys were eager to take the field and prepare for our final match tomorrow. After practice on Trigoria's beautiful pitch, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at a local soccer school complex. The team had the opportunity to rest a bit after lunch, as many of the guys are extremely tired after busy a week in Rome. Dinner was held in the busy streets of downtown Rome. The menu: warm Italian bread, fried mozzarella, penne pasta, and chocolate cake for dessert! After dinner the guys were able to walk around the streets of Rome and spend some time exploring the city; however, most of the guys returned to the hotel fairly early to get ready for tomorrow's big match - until then, Ciao!