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World history : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
World history
Oswego defender experiences 12-day adventure in Europe

by Mike Slodki

7/24/2014

Local soccer fans had someone to cheer for in an international setting earlier this month.

Just ignore Team USA, which saw knockout round action at the World Cup in Brazil.

The more centralized version to Kendall County tastes took the form of incoming Oswego senior Kamryn Coppes, of the regional finalist Panthers girls' soccer team. The veteran of Oswego and Panthers Soccer Club experience was invited last October to travel with the Team AIST Girls for participation in the 14th annual San Marino Cup from July 6-11.

"They had scouts come to club tournaments and talk to local coaches and look at online profiles. We first found out about it from the email asking to go," Coppes said.

Her international experience previously confined to locales like Riviera Maya, Mexico on family vacations, Coppes took to the defender tag for the US on the U19 team at the Cup, which housed 2,000 participants on the boys and girls side from 18 different nations.

A microstate surrounded by Italy, San Marino is a constitutional republic and was able to provide a nice jumping off point for four days of travel through Italy for Coppes and her father, Dustin.

"They have an agreement with Italy, where they don't have to stop at the border. It's not very big, but it's own thing and it's very sports-minded," Dustin said. "This cup is the big thing they have."

The Coppes' flew to Atlanta instead of New York due to a hurricane and flew to Boston, then to New York and on to Italy. A taxi connection later, and they were among the last AIST reps to join with the rest of the team.

They were in San Marino for five days and went to spots like Milan, Como, Tuscany and Rome to boot.

"Before games, we could go out and do stuff," Coppes said. "After the tournament was over, we pretty much got to do our own thing.

"Our team was from all over the country with one other one from Chicago," Coppes said. "It's something I've wanted to do. It was really exciting."

Going 2-2 in their four matches against teams with names like USD Amicizia Lagaccio, Baerum SK, ASD Castelevecchio and Imolese Calcio, the squad was stopped after a six-point team total.

"It's hard not knowing the girls. We had a practice game, but once we started getting to know each other we played better," Coppes said.

With more of an experienced eye to how the game of soccer translates internationally, the senior had opinions after four matches.

"They were very floppy," Coppes muses. "They had very good touches though, and tiny but physical. I think it would have been different if we knew each other."

Coppes hopes to have a successful 2015 spring season for Oswego before heading off to potential institutions like St. Ambrose in Iowa or University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.





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