The Duke University women’s soccer program will travel to Beijing, China, in June. The team will be guests of China’s Federation of University Sports, and will participate in a friendship game versus a local Chinese university team. The June 2-9 trip will coincide with the seventh annual meeting of the U.S-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing.
Duke will be the first collegiate women’s soccer team to travel to China to participate in this program.
In addition to the friendship game match, the team will participate in soccer-related activities for local youth and other events associated with the People-to-People Exchange, and visit local historical and cultural sites in Beijing.
“The United States and China enjoy a rich history of relationship building through sports,” said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead. “I'm proud to have the Duke women’s soccer team serve as ambassadors for both the university and our country through this trip.”
In 2015 the Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA College Cup for the third time in school history. Duke totaled a 14-6-5 record under head coach Robbie Church, including an 8-2-2 record over its final 12 matches of the season. After downing top-ranked and reigning NCAA Champion Florida State, 2-0, the Blue Devils fell in the national championship, 1-0, to Penn State.
“This is an amazing opportunity for members of the Duke women’s soccer program,” said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. “Not only will they get the chance to face quality competition, they’ll do so in a country with which Duke has a long history and one that offers so many valuable educational and cultural opportunities. This should be a trip that our team remembers forever.”
Church, who enters his 16th season at the helm of the Blue Devils, has totaled a 181-111-42 mark at Duke, while collecting a 364-225-56 record over his 30 years as a men’s and women’s college head coach. He has guided the Blue Devils to 13 NCAA Tournaments and was the Soccer America National Coach of the Year in 2011.
“It is an honor for Duke Women’s Soccer to travel to China and play in the friendship games in Beijing,” said Church. “China’s soccer teams play at a very high level, and we expect a good match. We’re looking forward to representing Duke University and NCAA soccer.”
Duke University’s ties to China date to 1881, when a young man from China became the first international student to enroll at what was then Trinity College. The university currently enrolls more than 1,000 students from China, and has more alumni from China than any other country outside the United States.
In 2011 the Duke men’s basketball team travelled to China to compete in Friendship Games in Kunshan, Shanghai and Beijing. Duke Kunshan University, a partnership of Duke and Wuhan University, opened in Kunshan, China, in 2014.