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Penn State Men's Soccer Canadian Trip: Day One

June 19, 2016

The Penn State men's soccer team has embarked on an eight day trip to Canada where it will not only take part in international competition but also see the sites of the country. Through the student-athletes own words this blog will chronicle the trip on and off the field. The Nittany Lions left State College Saturday, June 18 to head to their first stop. The first blog was written by sophomore defender Brennan Ireland, redshirt-sophomore Noah Pilato and redshirt-junior Sam Bollinger.

Day One - Niagara Falls and Toronto FC/LA Galaxy Match 

Noah Pilato - R-So. - Midfielder
The trip started early in the morning as we arrived at Rec Hall in state college at 7:30 in the morning. After a quick team picture at the lion shrine, we departed for Canada at 8. Our first stop was Niagara Falls, on the United States side. We had the pleasure of partaking in the Maid of Mist tour; a once in a lifetime opportunity. As our team stood on the boat, helpless to the hard mist of the falls, it was a comedic relief to a long day of travel. Through the border and into Toronto was the next step in our journey. As we arrived at BMO field, the home of Toronto FC, we were greeted with open arms, as well as confused stares. We were able to join 20,000 supporters in watching LA Galaxy take on Toronto FC, two powerhouses of the league. The game ended with home side coming out on top, 1-0, and it was a phenomenal experience. Fifteen hours after leaving state college, we arrived at our hotel and day one was in the books.


Brennan Ireland - So. - Defender
Today was the first day of our international trip and it could not have come soon enough. We had a great week of training and everyone was eager to make the journey up to Canada. Our first day was a busy one. Our caravan departed State College early in the morning. Most of the boys hopped into their respective shuttles, determined by class year, and fell back asleep. Myself being in the freshmen van, on the other hand was kept awake because of Travis and Mac's babbling. Fortunately, after awhile their talking tired them out and we got some much needed shut eye.  

I awoke to the news we were at the Niagara Falls and after a quick meal we went to do some sightseeing. I had seen the falls as a kid, but at the time was probably more enamored with the ice cream in my hand then the actual beauty of the plummeting plumes of water that descended both into the United States and Canada. We then went on the Maid of the Mist and the cool air that was given off from the water was a nice break from the heat of the day. The blue poncho's given out to us before we stepped foot on the boat I thought would be a terrible compliment to the scorching temperature, but as we got close to the waterfalls I understood why they are passed out.

Being on the water as the falls crashed on the rocks was an amazing experience that I am fortunate enough to share with my teammates and I can not wait for what else lies ahead for us on the remainder of our trip.

Sam Bollinger - R-Jr. - Midfielder
We arrived in Toronto around 7 and drove straight to BMO Field (Toronto FC's stadium) to watch TFC take on the LA Galaxy.  It was a relief to be able to get out and stretch our legs after a long trip from State College.  We grabbed some food from the concession stand and headed to our seats in the upper left section of the stadium, which is beautifully designed and holds around 20,000 people.  There was also a really cool view of the Toronto skyline from the upper levels of the stadium.    

 The game was exciting and very back and forth, with both teams having good chances right from the start.  The score was 0-0 at halftime.  Toronto fans are very enthusiastic, constantly chanting and waving their scarves and banners.  In the 70th minute Toronto scored a beautiful goal off of a cross that was flicked on and finished with a header at the far post.  The crowd went crazy and began a long chant of "T-F-C! T-F-C!"  The game ended in a 1-0 Toronto victory and we made our way back to the vans to travel to the hotel, which was about 30 minutes away.  Overall the game was a really cool experience and it was great to be able to see teams of such quality compete.

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