Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Guinn to take team on Irish adventure

By Erik Lewis

If someone told the Warhawks soccer team last fall they would get to travel to coach Tony Guinn’s home in Northern Ireland, they might not have believed it. A few meetings later, the trip is set for May 20 through the 28.

Junior defenseman Kyle Sundby, who traveled to Spain with the ’Hawks his freshman year, said the team is thrilled about the trip.

“When we first heard about the opportunity back in January, all of us were instantly on our phones calling, texting, seeing who is going,” Sundby said. “Now we’ve had some meetings talking about it, every time we get more and more excited.”

While Northern Ireland shares a border with Ireland, it is part of the United Kingdom and different from Ireland.

Guinn was born and raised in Northern Ireland before he immigrated to the United States in 1976 and became a U.S. citizen when he was 18 years old. Guinn admitted the trip will be fun for him, because he gets to return to his home country.

“The athletic side of it is just the culture and the passion,” Guinn said. “We’re talking about a nation that eat, sleeps and drinks soccer, so if we can manage to stay in a game, I’ll be happy.”

Those games will be against local clubs, but Guinn said the trip is not just about soccer. Guinn hopes the trip is a great experience that inspires his players to one day travel the world and see new things that make them understand the world better.

“I hope that I encourage in them that they want to travel as they get older because I think the more people travel, the smaller the world becomes and the more we understand each other,” Guinn said.

Before he came to UW-Whitewater, Guinn had a successful coaching career at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota and Western Illinois University. In his first year as the coach, Guinn led the Warhawks to an 8-5-3 record, which was good for third-place in the WIAC.

One of the things that players like about Guinn is his personality.

“The greatest thing about coach Guinn is he is extremely personable guy,” Sundby said. “When you’re talking about soccer, it can be a lot of business, but then once that’s over, it’s just a great conversation to have with him.”

Although Guinn does not have dual-citizenship, the trip will be the eighth time he has gone. Guinn said he loves the trip because he believes in hands-on learning, and it allows him to show his players what another part of the world is like.

“Obviously, Ireland has a great tradition of soccer,” Guinn said. “It’s a way for me to share with my team my culture and soccer, so they get to travel to a different place in a world with some of their best friends, playing their favorite sport, and yet, seeing and learning a great deal about part of the world.”

Along with meeting Guinn’s family and visiting some of his favorite local fish ‘n’ chip shops, the team will tour Dunluce Castle and the newly built Titanic Museum in Belfast.

One of the sites that Guinn really wants the team to experience is the Antrim Coast in northeastern Northern Ireland.

“It’s a place that I honestly I know they’ll say to me, ‘Hey, coach, you know what? This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.’”

The ’Hawks cannot wait to go, Sundby said, but the trip is still a few months away.

“It’s going to be a long semester if it’s only March, and we’re this excited for a trip in May,” Sundby said.



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Founded 1901
Guinn to take team on Irish adventure