Sean Feeley’s first trip abroad won’t be on a mission of mercy, but he will be an ambassador of sorts.
The 2009 Lakeside High School graduate recently was selected to join USA Athletes International on a nine-day trip next month to compete in the 2012 Berlin Open-Prague Lacrosse Tour.
Feeley started playing lacrosse his sophomore year at Lakeside, and has been a member of the Shorter University (Rome, Ga.) lacrosse team the past three years. The chance to combine international travel while playing lacrosse is like a dream come true, he said.
“I’m very excited,” said Feeley, who moved to defenseman after playing midfield the first two years at Shorter. “It’s the first time I’m going out of the country. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent my country playing the sport I love so much.”
The selection committee didn’t just look at athletic ability. Helping his cause was a cumulative 3.45 GPA and selection to the Dean’s List for the 2011 fall semester.
The 16-man roster is comprised of players from Centenary College, Ithaca College, Saint Anselm College, Thiel College and the University of Kansas. Feeley won’t be going it alone, however, as his roommate from Shorter, Mike Matthews, is on the team also.
The whole team won’t meet until they reach Berlin.
“They’ll meet up with the coach in Amsterdam and meet up with the rest of the guys over in Berlin,” said Rick Mathieu, USA Athletes International program coordinator. “Then they’ll have a practice the day they arrive to get their blood pumping and get over the jet lag, help keep that at bay, and the tournament starts the next day.”
Feeley is happy that Matthews is traveling with him, but he would still take the trip even if he was going alone.
“I’d probably be really nervous if I didn’t know anybody else going, but I’d probably still do the opportunity because it’s such a great one,” Feeley said. “I think we only play three games in Berlin and then we’re there for five or six days and then the next five or so days we’re in Prague, sightseeing and playing one or two more games.”
The organization seems to be having success.
“We’ve had a lot of success,” said Mathieu of his organization, which has been around since 1992. “It’s amazing how quickly the team does come together. They get together and they have a common goal and they hit the ground running and by the end of the trip it’s like they’re best of friends. Lifelong friends at that.”
Feeley is looking forward to seeing other cultures in action both on and off the field.
“It’s kind of a learning experience to see how other countries are playing lacrosse,” Feeley said. “It’s tough to put (into words) because I’ve never been out of the country. I’m really excited to see other places and how they began.”
They will also get to interact with their opponents.
“We’ll have little get-togethers every night after the games and be able to talk to them,” Feeley said.
And what he takes away from his journey can be put to practical use when he returns.
In addition to taking two summer classes at Augusta State University, Feeley plans to help with the Family Y lacrosse program.