Friday, August 16, 2013

BSU Soccer in Costa Rica -- Final Post

Maria McLeod, a junior captain on the Bemidji State soccer team, has invited all of Beaver Nation along with the team as it travels around the world for a soccer, sightseeing and service trip Aug. 6-14. In her final trip post, she describes highlights from the last two days in Costa Rica and recaps the trip, the impact it has had on her and what it has meant to the 2013 team. would like to thank Maria for giving us an inside look at the travels of the team.

There is so much to be said about this trip yet somehow it is difficult to find the words to express my feelings after finally returning home. All I can say is that this trip was a once in a life time experience. The chance we got to go to a foreign country together as a team to play competitively and experience a new culture was outstanding. The set up of the trip was beyond organized and this trip is one that I would do again in a heart beat.

On the second night that we were there a few of us girls met two soccer college coaches from a school in California who had done this tour before. When we were discussing the trip and what to expect they said that the hot springs and white water rafting would be activities that we would remember. They were right. The second to last day was a day for the books and, by far, my favorite day. I was a bit nervous for the white water rafting because it was something that I, as well as most of the other girls, had never done before. When going through the tutorial of what to do in the rapids I was starting to get a little nervous because of what they said could happen while going down the river. However, that completely changed once getting in the raft. I felt comfortable and my boats guide, Chicho, was an excellent leader. We quickly became comfortable with what to do and how to move about in the raft. The white water rafting took about two hours and we were even able to stop half way and jump off some of the shorter cliffs. The group that lead our guide brought pineapples and cookies for us and the taste was so amazing that some of the girls even bought the cookies to bring home to the states.

Following the white water rafting we had the chance to experience one of my favorite places on the trip, the Hot Springs. There really is no way to describe this place except for unbelievable. We had the chance to go to a five star hotel and swim in different pools of different temperatures of fresh water from the mountain. All of the pools were warm water and each pool was unique in its' own way. Even pictures don't do justice to how amazing and pretty this place is. Assistant coach Andy Jannsen did make a comment that if this trip was done again, he would want to stay at the Hot Springs resort for a couple of days. The whole day as a whole was so much fun and personally, I thought, that it was one of the best days of food too. We had a traditional lunch after rafting and had a high quality buffet for dinner at the resort. Monday was a day of smiles.

Ending the trip was bittersweet for most. We ended going back to the children's center to play with the kids for a final time. Even though we were there for only an hour, it was an hour that left tattoos on our hearts. So many of the girls connected with a child that made them appreciate things that they will never have. These children make us see that there is so much in this world that we may never experience and that thought is scary and motivating at the same time. I want to help these children so bad and it makes me think what I can do to accomplish that goal. I hope that I made a difference in these kids life, even if it is just for a quick thought or a hidden smile that made them glad they got the chance to meet me.

By definition states that opportunity is, "a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal." According to, I would have to agree. We had a goal of playing three competitive teams, bonding as a team and getting a cultural experience that we will always remember. For an action that I will keep secret, because it doesn't need praise, I was so proud of our team and so grateful and proud to be a Beaver. We have one talented and special group of girls that I am honored to be a family of. For any of you 2013 soccer ladies reading this blog, I cannot thank you enough for making this experience a once in a life time chance. We were able to teach each other about ourselves and about the world far better than any classroom could do. To conclude our trip there is only two words left to say, "PURA VIDA!" 

Final days of the trip from the team's voices on Twitter, Vine and other social media outlets:


Monday, August 12, 2013

BSU Soccer in Costa Rica -- Post 4

After leaving Punta Leona, we headed for the rainforest about four hours away. We were able to stop at a garden about half way that had a beautiful display of flowers designed in the words of Costa Rica with a star. The view was gorgeous! For miles all the eye could see was mountains. It was such a peaceful landscape. I felt so much serenity and, at that point in time, I was truly thankful for this life God has given me.

We finally reached the rainforest hotel with about an hour until our departure for our game. However, we had a bit of a hold up. The bus needed a hose fixed in the engine so as you could imagine this seemed like it was going to be a challenge but lucky for us we have Johnny! Johnny has been our awesome bus driver for this trip and he literally got under the bus for about 25 minutes and fixed it himself. We're lucky to have him because he has gotten us safely around Costa Rica and is there to protect us.

We were pretty late to our second game but there was a drive in our team that pushed us out of that obstacle. We barely warmed up but at kick off we were ready to go. It was a great game and opportunity to play the San Carlos professional team and we were able to come out with a W! It was fun and the other team was excited that they got to play our team. The coach had mentioned that out of the three American teams their team has played, we made them feel the most uncomfortable. So if you're wondering, that's a good thing haha! It was an amazing stadium and thrilling because the premier men's league plays their home games at that stadium.

We're all fairly exhausted from the day and tomorrow is even busier with white water rafting and traveling to the hot springs! Sleep well beavers, sending love and hellos from BEAUTIFUL Costa Rica!

Day 3 via Twitter:
Day 4-8 on Twitter:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

BSU Soccer in Costa Rica -- Post 3

It's day five of our trip, and to say the least, it has been nothing short of amazing! The culture and people we have met have been so warm and welcoming and that has made our experience magical! On the second day of our trip we got the chance to play the u17 national team. This team's chemistry was unbelievable and they had so much talent and skill. Everything flowed together and they knew exactly how to find each other on the field. The first half of our game was a huge adjustment for us seeing has how we were not use to the heat and the field. But as always, it only takes a short amount of time to figure out how to adapt to the conditions we play in. It was fun playing this team because we had great opportunities and we showed the Costa Rica team what Beaver soccer is all about. Their goalie was outstanding and was able to keep the goals to zero against us but we have her a run for her money. After the game it was awesome to talk with the girls and each team was so grateful for the opportunity to get better as a team.

Following the game, we had the chance to go to The Center where children who are not safe go when their parents are at work. This, for me, was the highlight of the day. I met two girls who were smiley from the time I met them. These children were just so excited that we were there to give them love and the chance to play games. I connected with two girls at The Center and even though we could not communicate because of the different languages, we were able to connect just through our smiles (corny I know, but it's the truth). These girls found happiness by just throwing a safely pin through my arms. It was something so simple but it was blast! I was able to teach them girly hand games and they did the same as well. This experience made me see that we are more blessed than we will ever know. I am so glad I get the chance to see them one more time before we leave.

As for the last couple of days it has been nothing but relaxing! We have been taking pool time, sun time, beach time, volleyball time and any other relaxing thing one can imagine. The new resort we are at, Punta Leona, has gave us the opportunity to see monkeys, lizards, geckos, iguanas, ant eaters and even a snake. We have just been hanging out at the beach and catching and riding the waves. Our whole team has been together and we are having a blast. Leaving this place will be bitter sweet and this trip has made us bond in numerous ways. I apologize if this blog has bad grammar or doesn't make any sense, the Wi-Fi isn't the greatest and typing from a phone isn't my strong suit but to sum it up Costa Rica is one heck of an opportunity!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BSU Soccer in Costa Rica - Post 2

Day One

We finally landed in Costa Rica at 2:30 pm Minnesota time! Waking up at 4am made for an interesting morning seeing as how we already had a nine-hour day by the time we landed. However, that did not seem to matter. Adrenaline, perseverance and excitement pushed the BSU women's soccer team through our first day in Costa Rica.

After landing we made it through customs and immigration especially quickly and surprisingly smoothly. Once we reached the Wyndham hotel lunch was served and let me tell you, that was the only thing on our minds. We ate a filling and delicious lunch while also getting a presentation on what we should expect from our trip to Costa Rica.

The group we are playing soccer through has been a tremendous help and is always there to assist us when we need it. We learned today that Costa Rica is the "Happiest Country in the World' according to the United Nations so we are expected to bring our happiness back to the BSU community.

Following check in, we had our first training and it was a beautiful sight. The city in the background was an amazing sight, and as most of us would agree, it was great to play on some shorter grass.

Most of us are all extremely exhausted from the day and cannot wait to be asleep by 10 pm Costa Rica time. Tomorrow is a busy day with our first friendly game which may not be so friendly as we learned this national team competes at a very high level and is training for the World Cup to be held in Costa Rica.

Day one = complete. We made it and as twitter says, "There is no turning back now!"

Check out what the team was saying about day 1 on Twitter

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BSU soccer in Costa Rica - Post 1 and Bemidji State Athletics invite you to join the BSU soccer program through the eyes of Maria McLeod as the travels internationally to Costa Rica Aug. 6-14 .  The junior captain will make regular posts here to keep all fans and followers up to date on the advantures of the team.

Costa Rica 2013 - Pretrip training camp

Seventeen girls, 10 practices, six days, two coaches, one trainer and a million emotions have finished the preseason training prep camp for our trip to Costa Rica. We have had exciting practices that show our team's potential for success in Costa Rica as well as for the 2013 season. However, this trip is not just about soccer. This trip is about gaining an experience and memories that will never be forgotten.

The opportunity our team has been given to travel to a foreign country is unimaginable yet imaginable at the same time because it is actually happening. Six months ago the thought of taking 28 passengers to play at a competitive level versus a professional national team seemed challenging but we did it! And we are so glad! Our trip is ready to begin and, as most girls can attest to, we are ready.

Thank you to all of our donors and participants that supported our fundraisers and donated to our trip. We are hoping to touch the lives of those who live in Costa Rica as you have so graciously touched ours. This trip would not be possible without your support and we want you to know that you made the difference in getting our team there. Thank you for this opportunity!

If we could say one word to describe our feelings right now for this trip it would be, "ready, anxious, excited, woohoo, antsy, nervous, thrilled, curious, scared, eager, adventurous, courageous, shocked, prepared, content, sweet, Pepto Bismol." Needless to say we're geared up to go!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where did the summer go?

We could have all predicted it four months ago. The weather-compressed summer of 2013 seemed to go by in the blink of an eye.

As residents of Minnesota, we grow up learning to savor the summer months and the carnivals, vacations at the lake and outdoor athletic events that accompany them.  Winter storms last April and soggy weather in May hijacked our spring sport seasons and delayed the start of summer. It seemed as though temperatures went from zero to 80 in a matter days, but that didn't stop our student-athletes from taking full advantage of their time away. 

Andrew Benson opened the summer representing BSU in the Minnesota Golf Association Players' Championship at Interlachen Country Club June 24-25. He won his opening round match, but bowed out of the tournament in the round of 32... Benson and fellow BSU golfer John Hafdal were among the 156 competitors to qualify for the 110th Annual Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship at the Medina Golf & Country Club July 17... Jack Hegarty, of the BSU baseball team, joined the Willmar Stingers of the Northwoods League July 17 as a relief pitcher. He has played in four games, including a start and is 0-1. The Stingers are 33-25 overall and are third in the league's North Division...Meanwhile in Kansas, sophomore Tyler Nelson and freshman Mason Bellew found success for the North Central Kansas Knights of the Walter Johnson League. Bellew played in 20 games and collected 14 hits, while hitting .264 as the Knights' first baseman. Nelson played 33 games in the outfield and on the mound. He hit .265 and posted 15 RBIs with five doubles and a home run. He was 1-0 in two pitching appearances with a 4.50 ERA... Members of BSU's soccer, volleyball and men's and women's basketball teams made occasional appearances on campus to help instruct aspiring athletes as a part of a variety of summer youth camps...Former Beavers also made a splash this summer. Brad Hunt (2008-2011) signed a contract with the NHL's Edmonton Oilers organization July 8 after an all-star season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL... Word also has it that Matt Carlson has agreed to terms to play defense for the Quad City Mallards of the CHL and Jordan George will take his talents to Norway next season, playing for Rosenborg Elite...2013 grad Brian Leonhardt, who signed a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders in April, began his first NFL training camp with the organization July 25 and will attempt to make the team as a tight end.

Now, summer's warmth will be fading as quickly as it arrived. A look at today's date of August 1 brings anticipation for the 2013-14 athletic season. 

As hard as it will be to soon pack away our Bermuda shorts and sandals, cooler weather also means the Beavers' season-opening kickoff and the start of the 2013-14 school year is just around the corner. BSU student-athletes return for fall training camps beginning Aug. 14.

Get ready Beaver Nation, 2013-14 is coming and its going to be exciting!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dill takes reins of Bemidji State Athletics

The Bemidji State University Department of Athletics is under new leadership. April 25, President Dr. Richard A. Hanson announced Tracy Dill as the University’s director of intercollegiate athletics and a new face has been roaming the campus and community this week.

After 27 years at St. Cloud State University, where he served as associate athletic director since 1999, Dill stepped into his new role and new surroundings June 3. Dill said that since the announcement he has felt the embrace of Beaver Nation, making his transition easier.

“I’ve received numerous phone calls, email messages and texts congratulating me, which has been very much appreciated,” said Dill. “One of my last duties at St. Cloud State was to direct the NSIC baseball tournament. It was great to see the Beavers make such a solid run. It also provided me the opportunity to interact with Bemidji State players, coaches, staff, family members and BSU supporters that came out.” He added, “I can tell already, people are very excited to be a part of Beaver athletics.”

During his first two days in the office, Dill has been busy to say the least. Whether it is getting his staff ID photo taken, meeting faculty/staff or figuring out which key operates which door on campus, Dill is clearing one hurdle at a time.

“It’s exactly what I thought I’d feel like after the first couple days,” smiled Dill. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed. I know there is a lot to do, but I take it one day at a time.” Dill added, “It’s an old adage, but in sports, I think it is true. I know that everyday will be a learning experience.”

When asked how he is approaching his first few days as the Bemidji State AD, it was obvious where his top priority lies—building relationships.

“As I said when I was in the process of being hired, developing relationships is critical of the success of any organization and I still believe that.” Dill added, “I am actually tying to get out and meet as many people as I can. I really enjoy that part of [the job]. The first few days that is what I have been focusing on. I went to the Rotary meeting yesterday and met quite a few people there. I want to continue to do that, I just need to get my calendar organized to allow me to get out and do the things I need to do to move the program forward.”

A graduate of William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Dill has more than three decades of experience in collegiate athletics. He began his professional career in 1981 as an admissions counselor and assistant football coach at his alma mater. During that time he assisted in the coordination of student and student-athlete recruiting in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. In 1985, Dill’s duties shifted as he was he was hired to take over the Statesmen track and field teams and was named intramural director in addition to coaching linebackers as assistant football coach.

In 1988, Dill left William Penn to take a position as assistant coach with the St. Cloud State football program. He remained involved in the recruiting process and added game-plan preparation and play selection to his duties coaching defensive backs, quarterbacks and running backs.

Dill’s roots in track and field led him to the role of head coach of the Husky men’s track and field team beginning in 1988. He assumed control of all aspects of the track and field program while retaining his role as assistant football coach during the fall. 

In 1995, Dill was promoted to assistant athletic director and remained head coach of the men’s and women’s track and field teams. His move into administration thrust him into budget management, scheduling, game management, fund raising and promotions. He served as the advisor to St. Cloud State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and provided oversight to the Husky Booster Clubs. In addition, he was also involved in the development of strategies for compliance with Title IX and the implementation of department drug and alcohol policies.

In 1999, Dill left coaching and moved full time into administration. In his role as associate athletic director at St. Cloud State, he was responsible for sponsorships and marketing efforts for the Huskies’ 23-program athletics department, as well as television radio and web-streaming rights and ticket sales. He continued to oversee all aspects of game management and was appointed to work with an external team to enhance student participation and attendance at home athletics events. He also took an active role in the development of the department’s strategic plan. Dill’s position supervised assistant athletic directors and the Huskies’ strength and conditioning program.

During his coaching tenure at St. Cloud State, Dill mentored 37 NCAA Division II track and field All-Americans, which included two individual national champions. In football, he helped develop 36 All-North Central Conference selections, and his running backs helped the Huskies lead the conference in rushing four times.

In addition to an English degree from William Penn, Dill holds a master’s degree in athletic administration from St. Cloud State.

Dill and his wife, Kristy, have two grown sons. Trey lives in Hermantown, Minn., with his wife Holly and is the defensive line coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and Tye is a resident of Minneapolis.

“My wife and I are extremely excited about Bemidji State and the opportunity for me to be its next athletic director,” Dill said. “We are excited to get to know the community, the campus and the Bemidji area.”

“I think there are good things happening at BSU, and a there is great opportunity to build upon what is already in place to continue to move the programs forward.”

Dill takes over for Dr. Rick Goeb, who was named the University’s first full-time director of athletics in 2001.