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Spoon represents U.S. lacrosse abroad

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By Sam Draut

South Oldham graduate Caleigh Spoon recently returned from a trip to Europe with Student Athlete World, a program for college student-athletes that offers an opportunity to represent the United States in lacrosse and compete against other countries. 

Spoon, who will play college lacrosse at the University of Montevallo in Alabama, competed in the Berlin Open in Germany, a 12-team international lacrosse tournament. Along with Berlin, Spoon also visited Prague in the Czech Republic during the weeklong trip. 

Spending three days competing against European teams, the U.S. team won one game. The team also competed against the Czech national team that was preparing for a national game the following week. 

“I wasn’t really sure how they played in Germany because I haven’t played with anyone from a different country,” Spoon said. “I didn’t know how advanced they were.”

The American and European styles of play were similar, and the only real difference between the two was the requirement of headgear, Spoon said. 

Traveling overseas with a group of around 40 people, including the men’s and women’s U.S. lacrosse team, Spoon was at first weary at because of the large group. 

“I thought it was going to be overwhelming and it wouldn’t go well,” Spoon said. “Everything turned out perfect.”

It wasn’t Spoon’s first trip to Europe as she had vacationed in Germany years ago. Spoon knew what to expect from the previous trip, but the six-hour time difference was the hardest adjustment. 

With a packed schedule of lacrosse and touring, Spoon said the team ended up sleeping on a boat ride during their first tour after arriving in Europe. 

Though Germany was a familiar experience for Spoon, she had never visited the Czech Republic before.

“The buildings are beautiful,” Spoon said. 

Several of Spoon’s teammates on the U.S. team will play with her this fall as members of the University of Montevallo lacrosse program. Along with playing with future teammates, Spoon was also coached by Frank Rogers, Montevallo’s head coach. 

The week overseas allowed for Spoon to become more familiar with her future teammates and coach. 

“I got to see how coach [Rogers] looks at you and coaches everyone,” Spoon said. “I talked with other girls from Montevallo to get insight and what he harps on.”

As an individual player, Spoon would like to improve her ground ball possession skills as she moves to the collegiate level. 

South Oldham lacrosse coach Bob Newton said the international experience will help Spoon prepare for the collegiate level because of the diverse offensive and defensive styles that will broaden her knowledge of the game. 

“It is gratifying as a coach to see one of your players, who has dedicated themselves to being the best they can be get selected for an opportunity and experience like this,” Newton said. 

Though Spoon was invited to travel abroad with the U.S. team next year, she hopes someone else can benefit from the experience. 

“I want to give someone else the opportunity,” Spoon said. “It would be selfish if I were to keep going throughout the years.”