WALLA WALLA - The Whitman College men's soccer team is off to a strong start in its two-week tour of England.
Since its arrival on Aug. 1, Whitman has notched a pair of shutout victories over youth teams representing the Paulton City and Bath City football clubs. The Missionaries opened with a 5-0 triumph at Paulton before blitzing Bath, 4-0.
After playing Sunday at Forest Green, Whitman traveled to Caldicot Town Monday and Weston-Super-Mare on Wednesday.
This month's tour marks the third time since 2002 that Whitman head coach Mike Washington, a native of England, has taken his Missionary team on a late summer trip to his soccer-crazy homeland.
After Whitman and Paulton City battled through a scoreless first half, junior Sam Freedman sparked the Missionaries with two post-intermission goals.
Sophomores Leland Matthaeus and Jed Jacobson, along with senior Cooper Crosby, also had goals for Whitman.
"We played better and got on the scoreboard early against Bath City," Washington said.
Matthaeus, who missed most of his freshman season due to injury, booted the first two goals after capitalizing on through balls from sophomore Andy Clark and senior Beau Morton.
With sophomore keeper Devin Kuh holding the opposition scoreless, Whitman had Bath City down 2-0 at halftime. Sophomore transfer Michael Bathurst took over in goal in the second half to complete the shutout.
Jacobson made it 3-0 Whitman in the second half, taking a quick pass from Matthaeus and "smashing the ball past the keeper from a difficult angle," Washington said.
Freedman, assisted by senior Conner Bottomly, netted the fourth goal, also scoring from an acute angle.
"We had great possession throughout the game," Washington said.
As it has with past trips, Whitman will cap its excursion with a visit to the storied Manchester United Football Club and its 76,000-seat stadium, Old Trafford.