by Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
After some 13 days and over 26,000 miles, the Rice Owls football team will return to the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center late Friday afternoon after completing one final practice at the temporary headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
A total of 101 players in addition to coaching and support staff and family members who made the trip to Australia will bus south to Houston, in addition to a Rice student who had been left stranded in Fort Worth after the flooding along the Gulf Coast. Some members of the official travel party had been able to return to Houston in advance of the full team’s return on Friday.
The Owls departed from the same spot on August 20 to embark on a historic journey to Sydney, Australia to play Stanford in the second annual Sydney Cup, a trip that was nearly doubled in time after Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented flooding forced them to detour north for an additional five days.
Rice will practice at TCU from 9-11 a.m. and depart for Houston at approximately 12:30. The Owls were able to complete their planned routine for the week after the return from Australia, including a pair of practices at the Horned Frogs facilities.
Upon arrival, team members and staff will assess the status of their vehicles which were parked outside Rice Stadium for the trip and then move on to join some of their teammates in surveying the conditions at their off-campus residences.
The Owls will not return to the practice field until next Tuesday when they continue preparations for the Conference USA opener on Saturday, September 9 against UTEP in El Paso, Texas.
In an effort to help the people of Houston and Southeast Texas, Conference USA is spearheading an effort through its C-USA Cares Project, which is geared toward Rice athletics employees and student-athletes as many were impacted by the storm. Despite staying in Fort Worth, head football coach David Bailiff and linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee joined with Conference USA to shoot a PSA addressing the situation in the Houston area. The PSA will air at C-USA home events over the next several weeks. Supporters can go to here to donate.