By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 08, 2006 at 2:47 PM

The University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team will visit Hessen, Germany, June 12-24 as part of Hessen and Wisconsin’s state relationship, the UW Department of Athletics announced Monday.

The invitation to visit Germany was made at the request of officials from Hessen last fall. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the sister state relationship, which began in 1976.

The student-athletes, coaching staff and support staff will leave Madison June 12 and return June 24. During the 12 days in Germany, the team will compete in at least four games, tour the city of Frankfurt and surrounding areas, and interact with fellow German students. Germany also will be playing host to the 2006 FIFA World Cup from June 9 through July 9.

"This historic trip to our sister state of Hessen, Germany is a tremendous opportunity for our women’s soccer program," Wisconsin coach Dean Duerst said. "We are very appreciative of the athletic department’s blessing and look forward to the competition that the German teams will provide."

The partnership with Hessen and Wisconsin has its closest ties at the K-12 and higher education levels. Several agreements also promoted the exchange of students, teachers and faculty. Professionals in Wisconsin also maintain close working relationships in the field of biotechnology and research. The trip for the UW soccer team, meanwhile, is believed to be the first sports partnership, which not only focuses on athletics, but on education and culture as well.

The formal request from German officials was made by Dr. Klaus Schormann in October 2005. Schormann is an advisor for international affairs in Hessen, and he along with Dr. Gerhard Fischer from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, were the organizers of the event.

"We are very excited about this opportunity to travel to our sister state of Hessen with our women’s soccer program," said Terry Gawlik, assistant athletic director for sports administration. "I am sure it will be a great educational experience for our student-athletes as well as an opportunity to prepare for next season with the competitions that are scheduled. We thank our host in Germany for this great opportunity and Gerhard Fischer for setting up such a wonderful trip.

"We are planning to use the trip as an educational and cultural experience as well," Duerst said. "We will be able to learn many new aspects about Europe, Germany, our sister state (Hessen) and about Wisconsin. We look forward to meeting our German host and being in the country which is hosting the World Cup."

2006 UW Women's Soccer tentative itinerary*

June 12 Depart Madison
June 13 Arrival in Frankfurt, welcome by Hessen
June 14 Meet hosts, training session, sightseeing
June 15 Game #1, Frankfurt mayor’s reception
June 16 Tour Frankfurt, training session
June 17 Game #2, TBA
June 18 Game #3, cultural program
June 19 Sightseeing
June 20 Game #4 TBA, reception in Wiesbaden (state capital)
June 21 Sightseeing
June 22 Game #5, sightseeing
June 23 Farewell party
June 24 Departure

*Subject to change