Kickin’ It Luau Style


Get up early, practice, practice, practice; go to the townhouses, sleep. That’s the typical pre-season routine for a team at Pace. Naturally, when given the opportunity to break that routine and try something a little different, one would definitely take it.

That’s the scenario that the Pace women’s soccer team found themselves in over the summer, when the team took a trip to Hawaii during the pre-season.

The trip provided the team with many opportunities, including the chance to learn a bit more about the management side of sports.

The team put clinics, fundraisers, and tournaments together in order to raise money for the trip.

“Everyone had to really pitch in and donate a lot of time in order to make this happen,” said head coach Michael Wynn. “We needed to meet a certain criteria in order to make sure we didn’t fall behind in terms of training. But the girls and the coaching staff really worked hard.”

Starting last December, and working all the way until Aug. 1 of this year, the team raised the money needed for Hawaii.

According to senior nursing major Geena Kooner, the team knew that the trip was a “privilege” and that they would have to put in a ton of hours to raise the money.

Still, they were all quite excited, with Kooner mentioning that the mentality was something like “who cares how much we have to work we’re going to Hawaii!”

But all that hard work allowed the team to learn some important lessons, such as how to interact with youth players.

“The clinics are really a great way to have the girls learn how to teach youth and really help put them in good leadership roles,” Wynn said.

Kooner enjoyed the experience, seeing as it was quite different from training sessions in the past, where the team traveled to Florida and California. However, she knew it would be a lot of work but in the end it was worth it.

“All of the girls had to work a specific amount of hours doing concession stands for basketball games, soccer day and overnight camps for high school girls looking to come to Pace in the future during the spring,” Kooner said. “In the summer we worked full day multi-sport camps working with young children from the ages of four to 13.”

All that time spent together helped the team get to know each other, especially with 20 new recruits. Part of the reason Hawaii was chosen as the destination was for player bonding. The team would have their regularly scheduled practices and training mixed in with a bit of Hawaiian adventures.

“We were really able to experience the culture during our down-time which I think was a great experience for everyone to really get to know each other,” explained Wynn.

Kooner agreed, stating that the team “got very close with one another,” becoming a family rather quickly.

Playing in Hawaii also provided the team with the opportunity to play a couple more pre-season games, seeing as the NCAA allows for some exhibition games to be played.

The team took on Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University, giving the Setters a live-action look at teams similar to the competition in the NE-10.

Despite being in warm weather with sunny skies and beautiful beaches, the team stayed focused throughout the trip, already in pre-season mode.

“Although it was a different place, we still had the same mindset, which was to win games,” Kooner said. “We were still in preseason so we practiced and worked just as hard and just as many hours as we would have at Pace, but being in Hawaii made it better.”

Now that the season has already begun, the team has already been hit with some challenges, most notably sophomore Delaney Williams being sidelined with a torn ACL.

The team has remained optimistic though, with Coach Wynn stating it’s just an opportunity others to step up their game.

That chance to step up will continue on Wed. Sept. 17, when the Setters take on American International for their first home game at 4 p.m. on Pace ield.