COLUMN: The Advantage of Traveling

Selena Ingram, Columnist

Recently, the Siena Heights University men’s and women’s soccer teams got the chance to take a four-day trip to Chicago. During their time spent there, the athletes competed against both Judson and Trinity International universities. Though the trip was meant solely for the purposes of widening the athlete’s horizons in terms of experience, inevitably, there is always something that one can take from traveling.

In fact, traveling during the season is a key aspect of the growth of the team and the individual. During my discussion with one of the athletes, my speculations regarding the topic were confirmed. Webster Ruiter, a right-back for the Siena Heights men’s soccer team, comes from the Netherlands. Ruiter said he has quite a bit of experience when it comes to traveling, and confirmed that it’s something he enjoys immensely.

“My coach’s intentions were to take us to a new place so that we could play, or even win, games against skilled opponents, or opponents that might even be better than us,” Ruiter said. “It also shows us how to bounce back if something doesn’t go our way. I also think that it was a good way to get to know my teammates in a way you usually wouldn’t be able to.”

As far as what he took away from the experience as a whole, he said, “I got to know my teammates better and I got to see how the team operates at away games, and also the level of difference between Michigan and other states.”

In this case, the take away from it all was quite positive.

So, if he could choose a place for the team to travel, where would Ruiter go and why?

“If it had to be in America I would go somewhere far so that it’s completely new to them,” he said. “Anywhere in the world, I would choose Europe because I think my team can learn a lot about the European style of playing.”

With that being said, it is safe to say that the chance to experience new cultures and ways of interacting, or styles of playing, whether it be across the world or a few hours away, is an important aspect of growing and improving as an athlete.