While road trips are first and foremost business-oriented for
the Michigan men’s soccer team, it also knows how to make the
most of any city it visits.

“Road games are pretty tough to handle sometimes,”
sophomore Bobby Trybula said. “But it’s a chance for
the team to really bond together and have a good time.”

This weekend the Wolverines will take their final road trip of
the regular season, as they travel to Madison tomorrow and Evanston
on Sunday.

The team has 12 road games on its schedule this season compared
to its nine home games. Most teams would consider playing more than
half its games away from home to be a pain and a disruption, but
Burns sees the trips as a means of strengthening the team’s
skills and abilities. Since the program is just five years old
— and considered inexperienced — it has had a tough
time convincing competitive squads to come to Ann Arbor. That is
why Michigan coach Steve Burns is forced to schedule so many road
games.

“Traveling may be difficult for a young team,” Burns
said. “But it makes us stronger.”

When the Wolverines take longer trips, the coaching staff tries
to give the players an opportunity to explore the city they are
visiting.

“Usually, when we have weekend trips and get a break from
games, we like to take the guys on mini-trips,” Burns said.
“Most of the trips are designed to give them a historical
perspective. While we were in New York (three weeks ago), we
visited Ground Zero before watching the (Michigan football) game in
Times Square.”

Burns enjoyed the outing in the Big Apple, but said that the
city was too distracting for younger members of the team and
compromised the seriousness of the trip.

The Wolverines take a plane for trips that would take longer
than seven hours by car. But for the most part, Michigan travels by
bus. For entertainment on the longer bus rides, the players usually
watch movies, listen to music and play Texas hold’em or
euchre.

Card games are a major part of the long road trips. While Burns
doesn’t participate in poker games with the team due to NCAA
regulations controlling gambling, he swears that he’s a tough
euchre player and is unbeatable with senior Mychal Turpin as his
teammate.

“We connect when it comes to cards,” Burns said.
“We haven’t lost a game yet this year.”

For movie options, the coaching staff lets the players decide
what they want to watch, but it’s up to them to go out and
rent the videos. Burns always reminds the players that if they
don’t bring any movies, he’ll put on one of from his
collection.

“I’m more old school when it comes to movies,”
Burns said. “I usually bring “Caddyshack,”
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or
“Fletch” because those are the classics. I’m not
sure if the guys really like my choices.”

When the team gets closer to its destination, Burns usually puts
on soccer highlight reels of professional teams that help get his
players mentally prepared.

“Those videos get us all pumped up for the game,”
Trybula said. “By the time we get to the field, we’re
really ready to play.”

As with any team, food is an important factor on a road trip.
Assistant coach Ernie Yarborough is usually in charge of making the
dining arrangements.

“When you have a 270-pound man (Yarborough) on your team,
food plays a crucial role,” Burns said. “Ernie is
really great about making the team’s eating experiences very
unique. Last year, when we were playing in Indiana, he had a meal
catered for us at an art museum.”

While the team is often fairly pleased with the dining choices,
Trybula recalls several unwanted trips to Old Country Buffet thanks
to Yarborough.

“That place is no good,” Trybula said. “And
somehow we always end up going there.”

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