URBANA (WCIA) — The Illinois softball team is getting a rare opportunity this summer. The Illini are taking the program’s first foreign trip this week, they leave for Europe Tuesday.
“I’ve never gone out of the country, so I’m excited for that,” Illinois junior catcher Bella Loya said. “But it’s going to be a really cool bonding experience with this team. And I think that this team is already so close, even though we’ve only been together for 10 days. I’m really excited.”
The Illini will tour England, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, before returning to Champaign-Urbana on Aug. 16. While across the pond, the team will play two games against the British Club Team and the Amsterdam Pirates Club Team.
“Just the opportunity to have every sport take a foreign tour, I think, is pretty unique to our university,” Illinois head coach Tyra Perry said. “You know, giving all of us a chance to experience softball in a different environment is an amazing opportunity.”
This is the first time the program has embarked on a foreign trip. The Illini are coming off their third NCAA tournament appearance in the last five years.