Junior soccer players Isabella Lujan, Ella Gantman, and Meghan Dayton, as well as senior Elena Bagnoli, are scheduled to travel to Barcelona this March as part of a partnership between FC Barcelona and DCPS. They will explore the city for six days, from March 15 to March 21.
Lujan, Dayton, Gantman, and Bagnoli are four of 22 female soccer players chosen from teams across DCPS to play, watch, and experience soccer with one of Spain’s professional teams. To be selected for this event, athletes attended a two-day tryout, and of the many girls who tried out, 22 were selected. Soccer coaches from most DCPS schools attended the tryouts, including the two coaches who will be traveling with the team, Kate Murphy, the head Wilson girls varsity coach, and Amir Lowery, the head coach of the Cardozo boys varsity team. The DC Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) also brought in two players from the Washington Spirit, a local professional women’s soccer team. The coaches wanted to find a team who would want to get better, learn, and bond with their new teammates. “The other coaches and I looked at how each player played and their overall attitudes and leadership. The decisions were made to comprise a team that best represents all of the schools in the DCIAA,” Murphy said.
The tryouts, open to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, gave the players an opportunity to showcase the accomplishments they have achieved throughout their seasons and highlight key skills they have developed. The players had seen each other on the field, but this gave them a chance to come together and get to know each other, even if it was only a two-day try-out process.
While in Barcelona, the girls will compete against two local Barcelona girls soccer teams and attend a professional Barcelona soccer game in one of the most famous stadiums in the world, Camp Nou. However, the trip isn’t solely centered around soccer. They will also take in the beautiful views and culture of the city, including a bike tour of Barcelona and a flamenco dancing class. They are traveling with EF Tours and have some exciting plans in store. Lujan said that “all the girls are really excited to visit Spain and are really grateful for the DCPS and FC Barcelona partnership.” •
PHOTO COURTESY OF MEGHAN DAYTON