Montevallo men’s soccer team heading to England

Published 11:14 am Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Montevallo men’s soccer team has had plenty of first-time experiences under the leadership of head coach Ryan Pratt.

Pratt and the Falcons will experience another first as they travel to Doncaster, England on Monday in the program’s first-ever foreign preseason tour. Pratt and his players will spend 10 days in England with an itinerary that tentatively includes five preseason matches against semi-professional teams and trips to some of soccer’s hallowed grounds.

“I’m hoping that passionate (soccer) culture is something they’ll embrace,” Pratt said.

The Falcons will stay in Doncaster, which Pratt said is within a day’s drive of both London and Manchester. Pratt said he has currently lined up five exhibition contests and hopes to add a sixth.

Pratt said having six newcomers to the program get a head start with the returning players is an important part of the trip.

“It’ll help them understand our ideas and philosophies,” Pratt said. “They’ll be able to get to know their teammates well. It will help both on and off the field.”

In addition to practice and games, Pratt said the players will have a few sightseeing tours as well during their stay. Pratt said he has lined up a trip to London, tours of Manchester United’s home field and the national football museum in Preston and tickets to see a Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea.

“To be in that atmosphere on a daily basis and to eat and sleep soccer will be one of the more beneficial experiences we’ll be able to bring back with us,” Pratt said.

The Falcons will return Aug. 21, one week before hosting a season-opening match against Faulkner. Pratt, who led Montevallo to its first NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in 2004, is entering his ninth season as head coach.