Wittenberg women’s soccer Head Coach Norm Riker isn’t in the construction business, but he’s clearly building something very impressive.
He isn’t a travel agent, either, but he plans to play one every few years, starting in August 2005 when he leads his team on a 10-day trip through Europe.
“This is a chance to play the sport we love in a completely different environment,” said Riker, who has a three-year record of 25-26-6 at Wittenberg. “It’s a great opportunity for us to build off last year’s success and create an even tighter bond amongst our players.”
Wittenberg finished 11-4-5 overall in 2004 and 5-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference regular season, good for third place behind two of the top 15 teams in the nation in the final rankings. The Tigers won the first NCAC Tournament game in school history, but lost 1-0 to perennial powerhouse Ohio Wesleyan in the tournament title game three nights later.
“This trip is part of bringing the program to another level and paving the way for our team to be one of the top in Division III every year,” said Riker, who will travel with 21 players to Amsterdam, Munich and Venice, and numerous locales in between, from Aug. 4-14.
“This trip is also a great opportunity to have all of our returning players really come together as a team both on and off the field.”
The Tigers will play three games, two against local club teams at the training facility adjacent to their hotel in Rosenhein, Germany, a suburb of Munich, and the other against a squad that is part of the Bayern Munich Professional Soccer Club system.
Bayern Munich is one of the most successful professional teams in all of Europe and a member of the German Bonus League, the highest division of German professional soccer.
Riker, a 1992 graduate of Springfield (Mass.) College, where he was a four-year letterwinner in men’s lacrosse, said he plans to take a trip like this once every three years, the minimum number of years between trips allowed by the NCAA.
The goal is to give every student-athlete who makes a four-year commitment to Wittenberg’s women’s soccer program the opportunity to experience the best cultural, educational and athletic experiences possible during their collegiate careers.