Q&A with Stephanie Logterman
Rising junior defender Stephanie Logterman was one of 18 players selected to travel with the United States' Under-21 Women's National Team to England for three matches against English club soccer teams -- Rovers Ladies, Everton Ladies and Leeds Ladies. The U-21 team, which is training for the 2007 Nordic Cup in July, won all three of its matches against English club soccer teams and, as an added benefit, took in a Manchester United professional soccer match.
Logterman shared her pictures and her thoughts from the trip with TexasSports.com upon her return to campus.
On going to England: I went with the under 21 national team and this is kind of one step in our preparation towards the Nordic Cup this summer which is compared to a world championship but it's not formally one so the best teams in the world compete in a small tournament that's held in Scandinavia every year.
On reuniting with former players from the Under-20 National team: Yeah, I'd say about half the team was girls who I played with last year with the U-20s.
On the team's daily schedule during their stay in England: We usually woke up and go to training. In the first couple of days when we were adjusting to the time I would sleep all day, when we were first playing. We trained twice a day and game days we'd just get up, have a stretch and walk kind of thing and just relax until our game.
On touring some of the English soccer stadiums: We got to see Old Trafford which is Manchester United's stadium and we also got to see their training complex in Carrington, which if you love soccer at all, is an awesome experience. It was so cool to get to see this and then the next day we attended a game -- Manchester United vs. Bolton at Old Trafford.
On the ins and outs of the facility: Old Trafford is huge and holds a little over 76,000 people, and they will fill it to full capacity every game. Without a doubt, their fans are dedicated to say the least. It was awesome being there, the atmosphere there was incredible, everyone has Manchester United stuff on. I'd equate it to a football game [here at UT] except for it was soccer obviously. Their facilities are first class, I mean what you'd expect from any professional team, and their training facilities are like a soccer players dream. I think they had around 12 soccer fields; they have a huge building with indoor facilities and a huge workout areas, locker rooms, swimming pools. Within the complex but across the street they have another separate facility for their academy kids so they bring kids up and train them from when they are about 6 or 7 years old. They feed them there, they go to school up through 16 years old and then after that you hopefully get signed professionally. They even have the heated fields so ice won't get on the field so they can play year round. They're heated from beneath but it's natural grass.
On the large fan base of Manchester United: They're the most widely known team in the entire world. They have fans everywhere and they have huge sponsors. They're new sponsor is American International Group (AIG), them and Nike and then just supporters, money; I can't even imagine what they get from jersey sales.
On whether or not this was the most exciting trip with the national team: I would say so. The atmosphere over there for a soccer player is unlike any other so just that, soccer culture-wise is awesome.
On actually playing matches against the English club teams: The "friendlies" are for development the for the most part; everyone got to play a lot. I started all three games and I think I played the whole game during the first game and then I came out about a quarter of the way through the second half in both of the other games. I left thinking that we're spoiled in the states -- the facilities we train at are similar to what we have here at Texas, just an awesome field. You have no complaints because the field is awesome. You go over [to the England club team fields] where we played, and one of them was totally slanted so one half you're going up hill and the other half you're going down hill. The field is so muddy, there's mud everywhere, and it's really hard when you play soccer because the ball is always on the ground so that affects it a lot. So really it's a good learning experience in the fact that we got to face a little bit of adversity in learning how to adjust in different fields and different conditions was really good.
On eating different types of food while in England: We ate in the hotel, we saw some interesting stuff like steak and kidney pie, we ate a lot of toast and drank a lot of tea. But for the most part the food was pretty much the same as what we have here. Well the first day nobody really ate that much because people weren't used to it. But the chef came out and was worried so she asked us what we wanted and from there she'd make what we asked.
On touring areas outside of the soccer stadiums and training centers: We really didn't get to do that much sight seeing because the first part of our trip was mainly just training and then our games. We walked around the town of Bolton and we were right next to a shopping center so we got to go over there. I watched a lot of cricket on TV so I know the rules of cricket now. But yeah, we didn't get to do a lot of sight seeing because we were doing all the soccer stuff and we were four hours north of London which would have been a hard trip to make down there to see stuff.
On the differences between soccer fans in England and the United States: Here in the states we obviously have cheerleaders who get stuff started but over there they have cheers for players individually, cheers for the coaches and then just a regular team cheer like we have here. Instead of someone leading the cheers, someone just starts the player cheer if somebody scores a goal or has an assist. Sometimes they'll cheer for a player if they come out or go in. The other cheers, somebody will just start singing it and then everyone else will join in. it's incredible; the place is so loud once they have everyone singing. It's incredible how they know them because some of the players change teams so often, I don't know how these get inherited or the new ones are created but everyone gets to know them. I'm not sure how all that comes about but it's incredible, everyone just knows.