Happiness reigns in soccer trip to Mexico

ELLSWORTH — One hundred percent happiness.

That’s how Ellsworth High School soccer coach characterized a recent nine-day trip to Mexico foir a group of Ellsworth area high school soccer players and their chaperones.

The team left Friday, July 18, to explore the southeastern region of the country before returning Saturday, July 26.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Higgins. “The beach, the food, the excursions… It was just 100 percent happiness.”

The group stayed just outside of Cancun in Riu Yucatan. They went on various tours, including a visit to the Mayan ruins called Tulum. Some went snorkeling or zip lining, and all played in soccer matches with a local high school team.

“No matter how much you plan, you don’t know what’s going to happen with the interactions with the kids,” Higgins said. “They couldn’t speak a word of English, but there were a lot of smiles, handshakes and hugs.”

Higgins’ players got to play one of their matches in the same stadium where the professionals compete.

“Little kids saw them out there and started asking them for autographs,” Higgins said. “We felt kind of important.”

Higgins has been organizing biannual summer trips to Europe for his team for more than 30 years, but Mexico was a new adventure.

“We didn’t see the architecture of old cities in Mexico,” Higgins said. “But there were very few beaches in Europe.”

Higgins said the beach activities were a highlight of the trip, as was the easy access to food at the hotel.

“They could go into the dining hall at anytime,” Higgins said. “They could eat whatever basically from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.”

Higgins said he hopes those who went on the trip left with a new perception of Mexico.

“Some were a little skeptical because of what you hear about Mexico,” Higgins said. “Now, the kids have a new appreciation for at least a part of the country.”

Higgins said the trip definitely won’t be his last.

“I’ll probably go there every time now,” he said.

Find in-depth coverage of local news in The Ellsworth American. Subscribe digitally or in print.

Taylor Vortherms

Taylor Vortherms

Sports Editor at The Ellsworth American
Taylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013.