The Lehigh men’s and women’s soccer teams look to bond and grow as teams on their upcoming spring break trip to France.
Hosting the teams is Lehigh alumnus Vincent Volpe, ’80, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor of arts degree in German literature.
Volpe has had a distinguished career and is currently the president and chief executive officer of Dresser-Rand Group, which makes custom-engineered rotating equipment.
Volpe invited the soccer team to compete against the team he owns, Le Havre AC, a second division French team. Lehigh will play against its reserve and under-19 teams.
“We are playing their reserves, and if you equate that to American terms, second division French league is very good and probably equivalent to the MLS (Major League Soccer), maybe better,” junior forward Doyle Tuvesson said. “The U19 team will be a quality team as well, but obviously they’re a little younger than us, so they won’t be as good.”
In addition to competing against Le Havre, the soccer teams will be working out, practicing and learning what the work ethic of a professional international team looks like. The teams will also have the opportunity to watch Le Havre compete in a professional game.
Watching Le Havre compete will give the men’s team a good gauge on how prepared it is going into the upcoming season next fall. Tuvesson said the team has put in a lot of work during the offseason thus far, and this opportunity will show the players how much work they have to put in for next season.
The men’s team went 7-10-1 last season but will return its top six point scorers, Tuvesson being one of them.
“We hope to find a better identity,” Tuvesson said. “The spring is always a different period because we lose our seniors, so we are kind of finding a new group. We really want to find a consistent style of play and a solid starting lineup to carry us through the rest of our spring games.”
The women’s team will also play one game against the Le Havre women’s team.
Junior forward/midfielder Lexi Chang said the women’s team found out about the opportunity last minute. The opportunity to represent Lehigh abroad through athletics is something that is a rarity, and the women’s team hopes to bond as a team all while soaking in the French culture.
“We are really excited to spend time together and get to play abroad,” Chang said. “We have been training a lot and working really hard, so there is definitely a soccer focus, but it’s going to be an opportunity to kind of team bond, work on our chemistry and have some fun out there.”
The women’s team just came off a successful 11-5-2 season and is looking to build off that during this trip.
Outside of soccer, both teams will have an opportunity to see some of France’s biggest attractions. The teams are planning on visiting Normandy Beach and Paris.