Caroline Farley grew up in Medford where the sport of lacrosse is as popular as trees.
So, in early June, when the Shawnee High School graduate and her University of Delaware women's lacrosse teammates went to Switzerland, well, the experience was an awakening.
“It was a great opportunity to speak with other players and show how we play in America and how different it is in Switzerland,” Farley said. “And it's just nice to know that these players would do anything to have the opportunities that we have in America to play Division I lacrosse and that was just eye-opening to me.”
Farley, who will be a junior, and her teammates trained against international club opponents and competed against the Swiss national team, which is preparing for the World Cup.
“It was awesome,” said Farley, who collected over 100 points in both her junior and senior seasons for the Renegades. “It was such a cool experience and I got to spend it with such an amazing staff and amazing teammates.”
The Blue Hens also participated in youth clinics and international coaching programs.
“We visited about 10 towns and then in two towns we hosted clinics and the ages range from about 16 to 30-year-old girls and a few of them were on their national team,” Farley said. “So we had a few hours to play lacrosse with them and we would go through a whole practice with them and show them how we do things and at the end we would scrimmage them.”
The Blue Hens arrived in Bern and participated in a scavenger hunt. The next day they visited the Olympic training facility in Montreux as well as the Broc Chocolate Factory.
In Solothurn, they played in an exhibition game with the Swiss champs and against themselves.
“We played a game against each other and it was seniors and freshmen against juniors and sophomores and the seniors and freshmen won unfortunately,” Farley said. “After that we watched the women's championship game and the men's championship game.”
This excellent adventure was funded by support of alumni, parents, family and friends.
“It's kind of a new thing, we were one of the first teams to do this through the program called Global Players,” Farley said. “It used to be individuals that would go on trips, so you would go with different players from different colleges and experience it with them.
“We were one of the first teams as a Division I program to go.”
Global Players designs programs for college students and recent graduates who are interested in coaching, business and international sports development
“It was a lot of team bonding, we were together for the whole 14 days,” Farley said.
“We are a very close team, but we had room assignments every other night so we would change your room mate and you got to be close with other people who maybe you wouldn’t have if we hadn't gone on this trip.”
As a senior for Shawnee, Farley netted 63 goals and dealt 48 assists. She finished her sparkling career with 173 goals and 107 assists.
Farley played in 11 games as a freshman and led all first-year players with five goals.
This past season, Farley played in 17 games - including eight starts - and scored 14 goals as Delaware posted a 9-8 record.
“We did better than last year and I got a lot of playing time so that was awesome,” said Farley, who finished seventh on the Blue Hens in scoring.
Farley is a marketing major. She is working as an intern in Philadelphia this summer.
“I love the school,” she said. “The atmosphere is awesome being a student-athlete as well as socially and academically.”
Farley will return to school with an experience as memorable as seeing the Swiss Alps.
“We went to a lot of cool cities,” Farley said before adding about Interlaken, “a few girls went sky diving and paragliding and I went canyoneering with a few other girls, which is basically water rafting without the raft, you're just using your body.
“We would jump off cliffs into the big pools of water, it basically felt like a waterslide, it was really cool.”
For Farley, the entire trip was a two-week cool ride.