Coduca Soccer Tournament
I am playing for the women’s soccer team at the Universidad El Salvador. This past week, for five days, our team traveled to Mar del Plata, a city on the coast, for a tournament against other catholic universities from all over Argentina. We traveled with the guys soccer team and girls field hockey team from USAL as well (picture of all of us at the awards ceremony below). Pictured below are some of the friends we made through the windows at our hotel… I like to think the young girl at the top window looks like Rapunzel.
Playing soccer here is so different from playing in the US. Very few girls play soccer, so the games for us are 7 v. 7 on a smaller field. It was hard to play at first because I didn’t know a lot of the soccer terms. During games, coach would yell something at me and I would do the opposite until I learned the words. Also, I was confused after the first game because instead of going up to all of the players on the other team and shaking hands, they all kiss each other on the cheek.
Our soccer team got 1st in the tournament!! (pic of our celebration at awards ceremony below) On the bus ride home on the last day after the awards, the guys soccer team blasted music in the back and we all danced in the bus aisles to celebrate. As well as winning the tournament, I learned a lot about Argentine culture/language being with the team every day, AND i think my spanish improved woooo! First, I learned to (or tried to) dance like an Argentine. Second, they have lots of words for specific things and contexts that only they understand. These words change on a regular basis, and are different year to year. For example, when a team is in second place in a tournament, they are called “cebollitas” (little onions) due to a TV show here where there was a team that always came in second place.
Another very uniquely Argentine tradition… there is this tea called ‘mate’ that they drink in groups. You pour the herbs into a special cup and add water, then one person sips it until the water is all gone, then they fill it up again for the next person. We all shared mate together in each afternoon, and one day we were able to drink mate on the beach! The first time I tasted it I thought it tasted like tree bark, but now I’m a big fan.