WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Catholic University women's soccer team will spend the next nine days on an international trip in Portugal which includes stops in Lisbon and the surrounding areas of Sintra, Cascais and Belem.
"Going to Portugal is an exciting way to kick start our 2019 season," said head coach JP Sousa. "It's a special opportunity for our players and coaches to have extra time together like this before the fall."
In addition to sightseeing, the Cardinals will participate in three training sessions and three friendly matches. The team will play against Estoril on Sunday, Aug. 4, Barreirense on Tuesday, Aug. 6 and Sporting CP on Thursday, Aug. 8.
"I am looking at the training sessions and games we will play in Lisbon as the first phase of our preseason preparation," added Sousa. "It's important for us to evaluate where individual players are before preseason, but we also want to work on a few new things while taking full advantage of the awesome country we will be exploring."
The NCAA allows teams to participate in foreign tours once every four years. Catholic has taken full advantage of this opportunity under Sousa. In 2015, the Cardinals traveled to Madrid and Barcelona, Spain after traveling to Porto and Lisbon, Portugal in 2012. In 2008, the team went to England to train at the Liverpool FC Academy.
A total of 21 returning players from last year's team as well as Sousa and assistant coach and Lisbon native, Beatriz Fernandes, begin their trip on Friday when they arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), check into Hotel Roma and have their first training session.
Catholic opens the 2019 season on the road at York (Pa.) on Friday, Aug. 30. The Cards defeated the Spartans at home last year, 2-0.