Tech students receive soccer perspective while in England

Jul 13, 2010 | General News

Fourteen Louisiana Tech students and two faculty members found themselves in the midst of World Cup festivities recently during the annual Tech-London study abroad program.
Dr. Kenneth Robbins, director of the School of Performing Arts, said the experience of being in London during the World Cup – particularly when the USA played against England – changed his and the students’ perspective on soccer.
“Most of our students had no interest in soccer. We have a different kind of ‘fútbol’ here,” Robbins said. “We were on ground when England played the USA. It was an amazing experience.”
While the students and faculty enjoyed the soccer games, Robbins said the most exciting game was the one when England played against the USA.
Robbins said about half of the businesses in London displayed the English soccer team flag, and the students added that many Londoners were dressed up in the English team’s colors.
“I wouldn’t trade the huge, energetic atmosphere we experienced for anything,” said Stacy Trammell, a senior from San Francisco. “There were men wearing red and white wigs, English flags, and face paint strewn around the pub, and they were all yelling chants for England.”
Sarah Clements, a senior from Homer, said she and several other students went to a pub to watch the USA vs. England game.
“So no one won the game; it was a tie,” she said. “It was the weirdest thing. One minute people were cheering to the nines, and the next they are out of the bar like nothing happened.
“I have become a soccer fan. I got the amazing opportunity to go to a pub the night England played America. The atmosphere was so laid back and the people were extremely friendly.  It is an experience that I will never forget.”
Amanda Tatum, a senior from Shreveport, said this was her first trip out of the country, and she learned much about history, various cultures, entertainment and traveling.
“As a theater major, I really appreciated being in that kind of environment,” Tatum said. “I really enjoyed our free days and being able to walk around and really get to know different parts of London. I appreciated the amount of freedom we had in our days off. A friend of mine and I were actually able to take a day trip to Edinburgh, which is a beautiful, more relaxed city. London is fast-paced, but there is so much variety in lifestyle, architecture and people, that there is always something to do or see.”
As far as being in England to experience the World Cup, Tatum said she played soccer as a child but is now just a fan.
“I did watch some of the other World Cup games after the USA/England game,” she said. “It was hard not to watch any of the other games while we were in London. Fútbol is such a valued sport in the English society, and even when I took a day trip to Scotland, written on the windows of all the pubs was whether they were showing the World Cup or not. I tried to keep up with it when I got back into the States even if I did not actually see the games.”
While the trip focused on performing arts and literature and language classes, Robbins said the students gained insight on the rest of the world’s thoughts regarding soccer.
“It was such a difference when the USA tied England,” Robbins said. “England was depressed. Our students were thrilled; there were such different expectations. It was almost like England’s national pride relied on the legs of their soccer players.”