When Luther College Women’s Soccer arrived in Costa Rica, they were excited to jump right into their itinerary. Luther College traveled with us in 2015, and we could not have been more excited to welcome the 2019 team!

Their orientation gave them the opportunity to see how much they actually know about Costa Rica. It was a great way to start off the trip while still giving them some insight on what was to come.

On their first full day, the team enjoyed an early breakfast to get a head start on the day. They were full of energy, which was wonderful for taking advantage of their new environment.

They enjoyed the pool and the beach while partaking in some of the activities organized by the hotel. This included taking intro Latin dance classes like salsa, merengue and bachata. They also got very excited when they saw iguanas and monkeys in the hotel! “Going from snow in Iowa to a beach in Costa Rica was so amazing,” said player Hailey Sanchez.

Getting In The Game

After this leisurely day, day 3 started with yoga on the beach, accompanied with the blissful sound of the ocean and fresh air. It was the perfect way to get focused for their first match against Liberia. Although Liberia scored the first goal that night, Luther College came back strong. After scoring three goals, Maggie Anderson scored the fourth and final goal, claiming the win.

While the team was happy to win, they were even happier to have an eye-opening experience by facing a team playing a different style than they’d seen before.

“It was really fun getting to experience the Costa Rican style of soccer.” -Hailey Sanchez (Player)

Day 4 was all about experiencing the beauty Costa Rica has to offer. During their morning training session, they were greeted by a friendly group of hens. Then it was time for the catamaran tour where they had the opportunity to snorkel and discover different kinds of sea life – even jellyfish! The day wrapped up with a breathtaking sunset that they enjoyed from the boat.

The next day the team traveled to the hot springs where they enjoyed soaking and swimming in mineral hot springs, waterfalls, and mineral pools, all while being surrounded by tropical gardens. Although the hot springs were beautiful, the slides ended up being the highlight of the day!

“I loved the hot springs! It was bigger than I thought and the slides were crazy!” -Jesse Buttolph (Player)

Luckily, the girls were able to relax for the rest of the day in preparation for a busy day 6.

Enjoying The Rainforest

Adrenaline was pumping as the team tackled the challenge of the zipline tour. It was a first for many of the girls, and it was a joy to hear how proud they were of their accomplishment! They also took advantage of the gorgeous volcano and lagoon surrounding them by taking tons of pictures.

Surprisingly, the highlight of the day was actually when we were on the way back to the hotel. We immediately stopped when we spotted a female sloth and her baby. The girls were very excited because they have never met a sloth before!

That evening, the team geared up for their second friendly match against San Carlos. The San Carlos coach made sure that the teams had a moment to shake hands before the game and that both national anthems were played. What a warm welcome!

After an amazing score from San Carlos near midfield, Luther came back even stronger. It was a very even match, but with 5 minutes remaining int he game, Jesse Buttolph scored the last goal giving Luther the win.

Saying Goodbye

With their successful run, the girls were ready to relax for the rest of their trip. The team bonded over an amazing white water rafting trip, enjoyed downtown La Fortuna, and learned about the local plantations. There was even some local wildlife to enjoy like sloths and iguanas!

We were also so happy to be able to meet Coach Schouweiler’s beautiful family. We hope to see the babies grown up next time! 

It was great to see such a joyful group of girls get even closer throughout the duration of the trip. We had a heartfelt (and tasty!) goodbye dinner to wrap up their exhilarating stay in Costa Rica before they departed the next morning.