A Sooke soccer team has returned home after a 10 day trip to Paris to compete in the Paris World Games. (Photo contributed by Sylvia Hancock)

A Sooke soccer team has returned home after a 10 day trip to Paris to compete in the Paris World Games. (Photo contributed by Sylvia Hancock)

Sooke soccer team returns home from Paris

A local soccer team has returned home after a 10 day trip to Paris to compete in the Paris World Games.

The team consisted of 17 girls, who were mainly from Sooke, ages 14-17, and though they did not win any games, they had an incredible experience.

14-year-old Jacinthe Desjardins, who plays for the soccer team, said the style of soccer played in Europe was a lot different than in Canada.

“Their style was more aggressive I guess is what you could say,” said Desjardins. “I think their soccer programs are a lot more intense or more professional. The players’ skills were just more developed than ours.”

The team played four games, and Desjardins said in the last couple games they started to adjust to the different style.

“I came home with a lot of cuts and bruises on my legs,” laughed Desjardins. “There was a lot more body contact.”

Throughout the rest of the trip, the team was able to explore the city and do a lot of sightseeing.

“We did a lot of walking. One of the ladies with us had been to Paris before, which was awesome because she helped us navigate around and use the public transit,” said Sylvia Hancock, team manager and organizer of the trip. “The city was packed and it was a little stressful at times having a group of 31 people, but we never lost anyone so that was great.”

Hancock and Desjardins both said the highlight of the trip was getting to see all the historical monuments, as well as being there while France advanced to the final World Cup.

“The streets absolutely lit up. It was incredible,” said Hancock, adding everyone loved seeing the Mona Lisa, the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and the Catacombs. “It was very eye-opening for everyone to see all the human history, and to take in another culture. Being in the Catacombs was so powerful, all of the girls were in awe.”

Hancock said the team hopes to do a similar international trip next year, but nothing has been set in stone yet.

“Maybe next time we could do Italy or something, who knows,” said Hancock. “But my favourite part of the trip had to be watching the girls gel, even though they had only played together a few times. They really came together as a team, on and off the field, and it was neat to see.”