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Well, today is the day we head back – back to the land of the free, the land of the brave, the land of the greasy food and poor style… Leaving Europe and all of its magnificent beauty behind.

It was a rough morning because we had to be on our bus by 3:30am, our curfew last night was 10pm. But let’s be honest, none of us were in bed until around 1:30, leaving us zombiefied for this rather hectic day of travel.

We arrived at the Copenhagen airport before the sun and had to say our very heartfelt goodbyes to King Philip. Tears were shed; not only because we had to leave the Mark of Den, but because we had to leave the ever-so-happy Phil. We all realized that the next time we would see him would be at the gates of Hell.. Aka, 2 a Days, or, Phil’s paradise. This warm and fuzzy side of Phil we had seen for the past 10 days was something to cherish. We’ll forever remember the happy times we shared, and the next time we want to curse him on the field, we’ll just dig up these memories and try to manage a smile. <3

But on a real note, we learned some very important lessons on the trip. The most important Danish term that Hannah and I (Gabby) learned was “udsalg” that translates to “sale” in English. And you best believe there were some excellent sales in Copenhagen. CHA-CHING (Sorry, Dad). We also learned that you always have to be alert on the streets because they are crawling with men. We’re not talking like “red-zone,” be on the lookout for creepers, we’re saying keep an eye out for the thousands of Calvin Klein model lookalikes. It’s safe to say that finding a boyfriend in the States is highly unlikely after this trip, as our standards have been set rather high (Phil knows).
We also learned not to take ice water, air conditioning, real cereal, and soft toilet paper for granted. (S/O to Momma D for always buying Charmin Ultra).

All in all, the trip was an amazing experience. Who wouldn’t want to spend 10 days in Europe with 15 of their best friends? (It’s getting cheesy now). But really, Santos is the best. We couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to call teammates. From the sightseeing to the shopping, to the soccer and interacting with the Danish girls, there was never a dull moment. The soccer was awesome to watch, and celebrating first place was something none of us will ever forget. Nothing makes a championship game more dramatic than a penalty shootout followed by a celebratory dog pile. We could go on for days, but we’ll save it.

Thank you to all the parents that accompanied us on the trip, even though sometimes we were taking care of you guys… You were super, nonetheless. And, thanks to Phil, Father Goose, for taking us under your Danish wing. We are eternally grateful (read in the Alien voices from Toy Story).

See you all at 2 a Days… Try to remember what we all look like smiling.



It’s only day 8 of the Santos trip in Denmark, but it feels like we have been here a lifetime. As usual, we start our morning at 8:29 am with a nutritious breakfast consisting of unfrosted Frosted Flakes (editor’s note, a.k.a. Corn Flakes ;-) and warm milk. After a delightful meal full of good conversation and awkward eye contact, we met in the lobby at 9:30am. The troop moms (Joe Mazur and Mrs. Marconi) gather most of the team to head for Sweden. We also brought Laura, a member of the Danish U19 National Team, to be our guide. Other girls decided to spend a 3rd day in Copenhagen getting piercings and chasing Phil around.

After riding a train full of sweaty men and crying babies, we finally arrived in Malmo, Sweden. The quaint town had many restaurants, street performers, and of course shopping. We were very sad that Phil could not join us on our trip. Sightseeing just isn’t the same when you aren’t chasing a wild man around the busy streets of a foreign country. Also R.I.P to Phil’s crocs which he finally threw out today. Much like Phil, they too had no sole.

Phil, being the old rascal that he is, also planned for us practice with the Brondby professional women’s team in the afternoon. You would think that after spending the morning scoping out Sweden, we would be tired, but nope! Santos are known for their willful endurance and positive energy. We strutted out to the fields to play a little soccer. The coaches took us through a couple drills of juggling, possession, and small sided games. At this point, Phil must have wandered off because the practice seemed to be missing a certain “constructive criticism”. Not once did I hear the words “Ho Ly crap”. (editor’s note, training with 4 Danish full National Team players, who won the Bronze at the European Championships 9 days ago, and 4 U19 Danish National Team players might have improved the play. Although the highlight of the practice was Hannah Rodgers pulling a move and then nutmegging a U19 National Team player followed by a great amount of laughter and ridicule from her pro teammates ;-)

When the practice ended, we thanked the girls and headed for the club house for our final Danish meal. After Phil rejected our requests for fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, we (he) decided on grilled chicken for dinner. Phil must have forgotten all the fat jokes he made about us earlier because he took us out for ice cream afterwards. What a guy.

This being our last night in Denmark, we all packed our bags and prepared to say goodbye. We are all going to miss Denmark and the the great experiences.. Except maybe the breakfast of unfrosted frosted flakes (a.k.a Corn Flakes).


Santos in Denmark!

Posted by Team Chicago Soccer Club at Aug 5, 2013 10:54AM PDT ( 0 Comments )

Tracey, Kristen, and Mary busting rhymes here.

Versace Versace 9 am meet up in the big hotel lobby. On this day’s agenda: Hamlet’s castle and an amusement park. Quite the load. Phil made it a little easier for us to follow (aka try to keep up with his walk, which is the same pace as my sprint) by wearing a bright orange hat. Tak Phil.

To travel to our destination we hopped on our first train at 10:59am.
Then another train.
Then another train.
Then another train.

Finally, we made it to a tourist’s heaven: Hamlet’s castle – Kronborg. After some explaining that Hamlet was not an actual person, but a Shakespearian character based on an actual Danish prince, we were off! The castle we got to explore also offered inspiration for his book. The dungeon was quite an adventure to investigate, it was dark and cold, and if we learned anything from scary movies it’s that place was probably full of ghosts.

Phil said last year Botafogo got to the roof and recited some lines of Hamlet, how beautiful. But since we are nowhere near as classy as them, we were not allowed to go to the roof due to renovation.. Nuts.

After all the exploring we were famished! Only two meals a day was not cutting it for us hungry soccer girls. So Phil spared some mercy and let us eat, we tried some Danish flutes (sandwiches). Thank goodness because while eating we saw some fiionneee Swedish boys. Mmm. The refueling process finished and the swooning subsided, so we went off to catch yet another train.

Well worth the ride because our next stop was where Satan was spawned: Phil’s childhood neighborhood. Wonderful place. We saw his school, old house, and Grandmother’s house, we also got to see a rare site, a rather sensitive and reflective side of Phil. Quite refreshing.

To start heading to our final destination, the amusement park Tivoli, we traveled by bus and train. The group split up, some rode roller-coasters, some enjoyed the food, and the parents kicked back at a restaurant. At 9, half the group headed back and half stayed back to squeeze in some more rides. Those who stayed had quite the adventure getting back without Phil’s superior guidance and got off at the wrong stop but don’t fret, Phil swooped there to pick them up. Such a good guy. And that wrapped up the night.

Sunday was a new day full of promise. We got to do what we wanted to do all trip: shop for hours! Many girls got their ears pierced because why not?! It’s Denmark! Others just hit up some souvenir shops, churches, and some museums including one displaying the crown jewels.

With our legs aching we found our way back to the hotel with more buses and trains and we’re greeted with the news that we’re were getting Pizza for dinner. Best news of the day. These Danish have their pizza game on point.

After that heavenly meal we had to gear up for the profession football game at Brøndby Stadium. Mary and Tracey decided to be raw and paint their face to support the team! They ended up losing but it was definitely an interesting game! After some down time, the sun set and Sunday’s adventures came to an end.

Santos Brondby Cup Champion!

Posted by Team Chicago Soccer Club at Aug 4, 2013 2:06PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

Americans are taking over Denmark!

Sam, Hannah, and Fuster here! We want to tell you a little about the memorable experiences we have had the past two days here in the homeland of the great Phil Nielsen.

We woke up to a beautiful Thursday morning in Denmark, sun shining, and a slight breeze. Grabbing a delicious hotel breakfast and laying low, Team Chicago Academy-Santos prepared for the exciting championship game waiting around the corner.

During warm-ups the clouds broke a little and tried to rain on Santos’ game, but nothing was to stop them from achieving what they traveled 10 hours for. The whistle blew and the championship game started, Team Chicago Academy-Santos vs. Hillerod. With possession back and forth the regulation time ended 1-1 (goal by Sara assisted by Abbey) and led to a penalty kick shoot-out to decide the winner. With hearts beating fast, Sam, Mary, Gianna, Rachael, and Heather were lined up to take their respective shots. However, with a great save by Fuster, and a lucky miss by an opponent, the game ended after only four shots. Screaming in excitement, the whole team ran onto the field for a team dog-pile.

Once our name was called and we lined up for some awesome pictures with the trophy, the whole team broke out in song singing “We Are The Champions”. Each player got their own medal and a small speakers, that actually works very well and have come to good use!

After all the pictures and the celebrating we went back to the dorm rooms to get ready to go out to dinner. We walked through the town to the pizza place which seemed like forever because we were all tired from the games. After eating dinner we went to the mall, which happens to be very different from our malls. There was a grocery store, weird sizing, and to our surprise everything was in English! Phil waited patiently as we looked about, and on our way home out of no where Judy came off a bus passing by (we were all surprised she didn’t get lost). Once back at the hotel we all laid low and just laughed and talked with one another in our rooms and at the clubhouse (a little restaurant on the hotel property).

Next day we woke up bright and early to get to our favorite meal, breakfast at the hotel!! We walked down, all on time this morning, to find ourselves competing for the delectable food with a team from South Africa. Once out of the crazy battle for food, we all rushed to our rooms to get ready for the day’s adventures.

Meeting back downstairs in the lobby Santos was off and began its big trek into the city of Copenhagen. With a walk to the bus, a bus to the train, and a train to the canal, we began our wonderful tour of Denmark! We ran into a few minor problems, including: many close calls almost losing Phil (Olympic speed walker), Hannah and Gabby almost getting run over by the stampede of walkers, and many Santos left behind. We soon realized that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. With all the hustle and bustle of the journey into town, we finally took a break and soaked in the beautiful European architecture on a canal tour of Copenhagen. It was really cool to see the mix of the old buildings full of charm and the new buildings full of glamor come together to make such a remarkable city of Denmark.

After getting off of the canal tour, Phil cut us lose and we set off like wild animals (in groups of four or more), some looking for souvenirs, some for clothing, and most for FOOD! Gabby and Hannah shopped till they dropped! Fuster and AJ got juice at a unique place called Joe and The Juice. While others experienced the rich culture in and out of shops and trying the unique cuisine of the country.

We left the city mid afternoon on a quest to see the U19 national team game, Denmark vs Canada. It took a train and a bus to get there but once there Santos quickly realized they were a few chaperones short. Mrs. Marconi and Mrs. Rounce had failed to see everyone get off at our stop and continued to ride the bus after we had gone. Meanwhile the game was an exciting scoreless match even into the second half where it ended regulation time tied 1-1 to be settled by a penalty kick shoot out. The Danish were a force to reckoned with finishing all there penalty kicks and their goalkeeper, like a fierce animal, stopping most of the shots Canada had to offer.

Quickly after the game Santos chased behind the fast and furious Phil to get back to the hotel in time for dinner at the clubhouse. We then went to our rooms and had a dance party using the speakers we got from the championship win. With a lovely dance performed by Mary, Heather, Kristen and Katie directed by Tracy and choreographed by Abbey.

Shortly afterwards we got exciting news of an Olympic sized scavenger hunt/game extravaganza hosted by the amazing chaperones. We started off by deciding teams from all around the world, including: Nigeria, Egypt, ’Merica, and JaBOOTY! We then continued with a game of photo scavenger hunt, dizzy soccer, charades, and pictionary. The funniest game and team favorite of the night was probably dizzy soccer, which included us spinning in a circle around the soccer ball five times, dribbling the ball in between parents and then having to try and make it in the goal past Phil, only to throw it back to your team waiting patiently to get ’er done. It was funny to see our teammates struggle to dribble in a straight line, even funnier was probably Abbey wiping out, but especially Madi missing the goal about seven times!

After the games the chaperones treated all the participants in the Olympic Games to a nice cold dessert in the clubhouse. The team exhausted from the days events returned to their rooms to get a good nights rest for the activities that were planned for the next day.

Overall as you can see, we are having a pretty fantastic time in Denmark. And though the tournament may be over, the Santos crew is always finding new ways to have fun and most frequently have Phil yell at us ;) we love it here and are glad to share some of our experiences with you!

Love from Denmark!

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Santos in Denmark!

Posted by Team Chicago Soccer Club at Aug 1, 2013 2:31PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

Continuing off Rachel, Lilly, & Gianna’s blog – after our last game of the day we all headed back to our rooms to shower & rest our legs for a bit. After, Heather, Fuster, Sammy, AJ, Sara, Hannah, & Abbey Mazur went out to the clubhouse for a bite to eat. As we were eating fries & slushies the owner came up to our table with two boys our age & asked us who was the fastest person. Everyone pointed at Heather, but she pointed at Sara. Soon after Sara & Heather agreed to race the boys across the entire field outside.

It was dark, so we could barely see but we were the only ones on the field. We found out just before the race began that the kid we were up against, Patrick da Silva, plays professionally for the team Brøndby, which we will watch at the stadium on Sunday. Patrick said that if Sara or Heather won the race that he would buy them a slushie and that if he lost, he would cry. People heard about the race and came outside of the restaurant to watch. After a few short seconds, Sara and Heather beat Patrick in the race. Patrick’s friend gave him a hard time about it and told him he would lose his job. it was quite hysterical. We went back into the clubhouse to get the prize we earned. The boys also agreed to take a picture with the group to have as a memory.

Then we all walked back to the hotel and found some snails on the stairs outside. Sammy and Abbey found this very amusing for a short while, but curfew was approaching so we all went back to our rooms for the night.

The next day, we played the semi final game verses Brøndby and won 3-0. The game was tied for a while but once we scored the first goal we ended up shutting them down and held possession the rest of the game. Goals came from Sara (2) and Kristen.

After the game we went back and had a quick snack before the barbecue with a Danish team. When we got there, everyone was very welcoming and excited. We all sat at different tables and talked to all the Danish girls. It was interesting to hear all their stories and learn things about them individually. They were all really funny and easy to talk to.

When we were done eating, we went to go watch the women’s professional team play. We watched the game and at halftime Katie and Fuster played around with a couple younger boys and some of the girls they met at dinner. The Danish boys showed off all their moves and tricks and we were amazed at how much they could do at such a young age. They all told us to “show off our skills” and we didn’t have any to show them that they already didn’t know how to do. The rest of the girls came to join us at this point and the kids taught us how to do the worm. It was funny to watch people attempt it, especially Fuster. Sam showed off her flip throw a couple times and the Danish girls loved watching her because they had never seen anything like it.

Once we got back to the hotel, some of us decided to explore the building. However, we failed to realize that some doors locked… After about 30 minutes wandering around we decided to head back to our rooms, but little did we know, the stairwell door that we had first gone through was locked. Fortunately we were able to connect to wifi & our teammates came to rescue us after about 10 minutes. We learned our lesson. On our way back to our rooms we quickly heard the bass go boom boom & we followed our musical instincts & found a DJ in the soccer complex. There we met other teams who shared a similar taste in music. We danced & sang along & had a great time! Overall, we love Denmark & we are so excited to start sightseeing & play in the finals!