BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University soccer team is on the brink of something special. The Beavers are still one month from officially opening their season, but after a short training camp (July 27-Aug. 1) they are headed to Costa Rica to get a jump on the 2013 campaign.
Bemidji State, under the direction of head coach Jim Stone, is making the trip Aug. 6-14. It’s the first trip of its kind for the Beavers, which are allowed to make one international trip every four years according to NCAA regulations. While on foreign soil, 19 players and staff will participate in service projects, sightseeing adventures and will get a few soccer matches in versus some of the best competition Costa Rica has to offer, including one matchup versus the Costa Rican National Team.
“Obviously there is a soccer piece to the trip,” said Stone. “We will play three really competitive teams. How many times do you get to play against the U-20 national team from any country?”
However, there is more to the trip than soccer. Stone’s goal is to make the adventure as well rounded as possible.
“We want this trip to be a cultural experience so they can grow as people,” said Stone.
“We think it will be a good learning experience,” Stone added, “We talk about being a liberal education school, I can’t think of a better classroom than to be overseas, immersed in a different culture for a week.”
In addition to jumping in to the Costa Rican way of life, the team will have the opportunity to get to know some of the people of Costa Rica on a personal level. The team will be assisting at a local center for impoverished children.
“Some of these kids come from pretty rough situations,” Stone said. “We will be working with them on the third day and will also have a chance to meet up with them again before we fly out to say goodbye. We hope that in the short time we are there, we can have an effect on those kids, and conversely, we hope it has an impact on our team.”
The players and coaches will also participate in sightseeing activities such as whitewater rafting and will make time for the beach.
“This is going to be a great trip for all of us,” commented Stone. “Our hope is that the student-athletes grow, we grow together and come back tighter as a team with a different perspective.”
BSUBeavers.com will be with the team every step of the way as junior captain Maria McLeod (M, 5-4, Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) will submit regular updates for BSUBeavers Blog Jam. Stay connected with the team’s adventures at: www.beaversblogjam.blogspot.com
The Bemidji State soccer team officially opens its 2013 campaign Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. when it hosts Missouri Western State University for a nonconference affair. The match begins BSU’s 18-game regular-season schedule and is slated to be the first soccer game ever played at BSU’s Chet Anderson Stadium, which is currently undergoing a surface renovation to install field turf.
Bemidji State completed the 2012 campaign with an overall record of 10-7-2, while it finished sixth in the final NSIC standings owning a 8-5-2 mark in league play.
For more information on the Bemidji State men’s hockey program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeaversSoccer or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).