Football and soccer players from Siena Heights University in Michigan will head to Italy with Global Football on Monday, May 5, to play against local opposition and take in the sights of Rome, Siena and Florence.
Having conducted overseas tours for college and high school American football teams to 21 countries since 1996, Global Football welcomes women’s soccer players from Siena Heights to enjoy the thrilling experiences of visiting Europe and testing their skills against local club teams.
The combined football and soccer tour will see the Saints student athletes from Adrian, MI, travel to Rome, Florence, Sienna and Viterbo from May 5-13 for a week of experiencing a new culture, highlighted by competitive games on the football fields and soccer pitches of Italy.
“This tour has me really fired up, as I get to travel with my longtime friend Coach Jim Lyall, and also christen our first soccer tour!” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “It has been a fun challenge to organize everything this tour will entail, and a huge thanks to our travel and sports partners in Italy. This will make for some exciting times, photos and blogs.”
The Saints women’s soccer team will face a local Division I Firenze team on Wednesday, May 7, before being part of a unique double header in Viterbo, near Rome, on Sunday, May 11. The afternoon celebration of sport will begin with the 12 noon Saints soccer match against the top level SS Lazio team, followed at 4pm by the Saints football team against the Italian National Team.
Saints football head coach Jim Lyall traveled four times with Global Football when he was head coach at Adrian University, before staring the football program at Siena Heights, posting an 8-1 record in his first season. His NAIA football team will face the Italian senior national team, which is coached by former University of Texas and Kansas City Chiefs head coach John Mackovic.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to travel to Italy and visit the town of Siena – home of our patron saint, Saint Catherine of Siena – and we look forward to playing a game against a group of Italian all-stars, said Coach Lyall. “This will provided our students with a great opportunity, both educational and athletically.”
Scott Oliver, who enters his 13th season as head coach, leads the Saints women’s soccer program. Since taking over the program in 2001, he has led the women to four Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular season championships and four WHAC Tournament titles and an 8-8-3 record last season.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our program to show student-athletes a historic place while playing the sport we love,” said Coach Oliver. “We also look forward to starting a new tradition within our tremendous program.”
Global Football tours offer wonderful life experiences and the visiting group from Siena Heights will enjoy some of Italy’s most famous sites during their visit. After arriving in the Italian capital Rome, they will visit two ancient Roman landmarks, the Coliseum and Forum, on a guided tour. Then they head Siena, a long-time rival of nearby Florence, which offers some of Italy’s finest art and architecture. They will enjoy a day-trip to Florence, the birthplace and focal point of the Italian Renaissance, and take an excursion to Assisi, a small town of narrow streets and medieval walls, and the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order.
As the group journeys to Rome, there will be a stop in the ancient Etruscan stronghold of Orvieto, situated on a volcanic plateau surrounded by steep cliffs and a visit to Viterbo. Finally, before returning on May 13, the traveling party will take a guided tour of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica.