May 26, 2011

Piranhas sign two from Germany

Virginia Beach, Virginia - It sounds like the perfect dream: come to the United States, experience the American way of life, meet new people, see new places, live at the beach, and, above all else, play soccer. For three months Anja Barwinsky and Stephanie Goddard from Germany are able to live out this dream. The two got recruited to play for the 2011 squad of the Virginia Beach W-League Piranhas.


Barwinsky, a native of Paderborn, Germany, didn’t have to think twice when her former sporting director offered her the deal that made her first visit to the U.S. possible.
“Going to America has always been a dream for me. I didn’t expect to ever get a chance like this; it was just perfect,” said Barwinsky.
The 25-year-old skipper for German Division II club FSV Guetersloh even missed the last two games of the season for her home team. The club, including the coaches however, recognized the uniqueness of this opportunity and fully supported the decision of the fullback.
Goddard, who is a former German international on the youth level, has traveled America with the national team before, but is just as excited as Barwinsky to play for the Red and White. *
“I feel like going to America for a while is something everybody should do when given the opportunity. The American culture is very influential, which makes it very interesting to experience it yourself,” said the 23-year-old striker.
Even more than absorbing the culture, Goddard looks forward to the time on the field. The native of Rinteln, Germany has played for various clubs in the German Bundesliga, one of the strongest leagues in the world. At last she wore the jersey of SG Essen-Schoenebeck but had to suffer a setback last season. Doctors diagnosed an aneurysm of the heart wall, and Goddard had to undergo surgery. “I’m just really happy to play again and get fit,” said the fully recovered Goddard.
The happiness about the Germans’ arrival in Virginia Beach is mutual. It began to show in the first two game - Barwinsky and Goddard will be cornerstones of the 2011 W-League Piranhas squad. Both have started each game and played the whole ninety minutes in impressive fashion. Coach Wendy Waddell is more than happy with the signings. “Anja gives us a lot of speed in defense and Stephanie is a workhorse - she gets the job done,” said Waddell, who becomes enthusiastic when talking about Goddard’s shot - “when she strikes the ball, it’s a goal.”
Outside the soccer-field the two college students will do internships related to their fields of study. Barwinsky, who is getting her Masters degree in sports management will intern for the Piranhas; Goddard, who studies to be a special school teacher is going to coach a wheelchair-soccer team.
Apart from practice, games and internships, Barwinsky and Goddard are eager to experience the “typical American lifestyle,” as Barwinsky said. That’s why they intentionally chose to live with a host family instead of in an apartment.
They are living with the Callahan’s, who are hosting Piranhas players for the third year in a row. Mrs. Teresa Callahan, who also looks after the visiting teams during Piranhas home games at the Sportsplex, has already taken the two girls to her heart. “They are great players, great people and very motivated to be here,” said Callahan. “They even started to teach us some German.” Daughter Logan, who plays soccer herself, looks up to the German guests: “They are inspiring me.”

Although the Piranhas are still on the search for the first win after two games, Barwinsky and Goddard recognize a great team spirit on and off the field. If they have free time, they mostly spend it with teammates, go to the beach or downtown. “We made friends immediately,” said Barwinsky. Both are sure that the team spirit will pay off on the field very soon. “Our team is very talented and once we find each other on the field we can be very successful,” said Goddard.
The W League Piranhas will be off this weekend but will take the Sportsplex field on June 4 in the first half of a doubleheader with the PDL Piranhas on June 4. Kickoffs are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
For more information on the 2011 Virginia Beach Piranhas, including tickets, sponsorships or to volunteer, please visit http://www.vbpiranhas.com/ or call 757-572-1592.