Usually a stronghold full of fans wearing scarlet and grey t-shirts and collegiate gear, Arcadia University’s Easton Field was swarmed by players in blue and white uniforms on Sept. 13. That evening, Arcadia’s women’s soccer team welcomed more than 50 girls from Glenside’s Hunter Soccer Club to a training session, providing a special behind-the-scenes look at NCAA soccer.
The Knights kept their guests entertained, putting on a high-energy display of the skill, creativity and determination it takes to compete in the ultra-competitive MAC Commonwealth Conference. However, the girls from Hunter were more than just star-struck spectators watching from the sidelines. After observing a training segment, the Hunter players received lessons from Arcadia players and coaches, and then participated in drills.
“It was a great night,” said Rick Brownell, Head Coach of Women’s Soccer. “The Arcadia players all just light up every time they get a chance to share their love of soccer with youth players. I also have to give credit to the coaches from Hunter, for their willingness to make this all happen for their players.”
At the end of the training session, both teams shared a handshake at midfield, followed by a huge Hunter Soccer cheer of “Knights, Knights, Knights, Knights,” to honor the Arcadia team for its efforts. Undoubtedly, the youth players slept soundly that night, dreaming of college soccer and the wonderful friends they made at Arcadia.
In an email the next day, Mike Nelson of Hunter Soccer Club graciously wrote, “I can’t thank you and your squad enough for the graciousness, patience and experience our teams received last night. I know that your practice time is sacred and much needed this time of year and that you made changes on the fly to include and accommodate our girls. It really meant a great deal to us as coaches and the girls as well.”
The Hunter soccer players return to Easton Field on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 4 p.m. when Arcadia’s women’s soccer team hosts Wilkes University in non-conference play.
Photos in slideshow by Josh Blustein