Saturday, February 9, 2013

Day 7

It was our last day of camp and game day. We woke up at the regular time and ate breakfast. We hung out for awhile after breakfast then went back down to our meeting room to go through set plays and got the starting line up for our game in the afternoon against UC Irvine. After the meeting, we had some more downtime, but at 11:30 we had to head back down to hear from our guest speaker, a nutritionist who works with Olympic level athletes. She talked with us about what we should be eating and drinking to fuel our body. Lunch immediately followed the meeting. Before we left for the fields, I read through the binder the younger ages of my club team put together for me before I left. It was filled with letters from little girls I helped train prior to coming to camp. It was a great confidence booster before my game. At 2:00, we drove to the fields to prepare for our game. Since it wasn't an international match and we were just playing a college team we didn't get to wear the actual US uniforms. We just wore what we had been wearing all week, our practice uniforms. Regardless, it still felt amazing to have the US emblem on my chest representing the country I love and playing the sport I love. We went trough a 24 minute warm up then got ready to play. We played three 30 minute periods. I started at center mid and played the whole first period. Then the second round of players went in the second period and then I played the whole third period. We won the game 1-0. Although they were a lot bigger than us, we still outplayed them. It was a fun game and at one point it was pouring down rain, so much to the point that I could barely see while I was playing. We were going to stay and watch the u20s play UCLA, but since we were soaking wet from the rain we decided to go back to the hotel. We packed up our things and then headed to dinner and then our final meeting. April Heinrichs touched base with us on her expectations for us after this camp and told us to keep improving. After the meeting, we all said thank you to the coaches and staff for everything they'd done for us throughout the week. It was such a fun camp and I learned a lot. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to do it all again!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 6

We woke up and went through the same morning routine as usual. Breakfast at 8, downtime, leave for training at 10:30. The morning session we focused on defending again, but this time instead of individual defending, we worked on defending with two. Then, like always, we finished the session with some 11v11. Lunch was next and then more downtime. I didn't catch up on sleep or homework this time, but I did catch up on some TV time. At 3:30 we left for the fields and when we got dressed and headed out to the fields we were all happy to find out we were playing soccer tennis. We combined with the u20s again, but this time the coaches didn't pick the teams. My three man team started out in the winners square, but we sadly made our way down and finished in the middle of the pack. It was a lot of fun even though I'm still convinced some of the teams we played against cheated.. After soccer tennis, we had to take yet another 8 minute ice bath, making it our third ice bath for the week. My feet were throbbing after 10 seconds of being in the bath. So, needless to say the rest of the ice bath was miserable for me. Once we were done with that, we went back to the hotel, ate dinner, then went up to our rooms. We had to get some rest for our big game against UC Irvine.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day 5

I was thankful because we got to sleep in till8:45. The coaches decided to take it easy on us and cancelled the morning session. Instead, we had a jog and stretch after breakfast. We took two laps around the hotel, did some dynamic stretching, and then used a ball to roll out our legs. After that we had some downtime, which was much needed because I caught up on some of my homework. We then ate lunch and had a guest speaker, Angie Hucles, a former US national team player and Boston Breakers player. She talked to us about her experience and gave us insight to what she went through during her time on the national team. It was nice getting the inside scoop from somebody who's been to where all of us are trying to get. We had a team meeting following our guest speaker. The meeting was about the principles of defense, which we then applied to our next training session. We did 1v1 during the practice and then made it a competition after everybody let all the coaching tips sink in. Then we played 11v11 with and without restrictions. After that we rushed to the locker room and got ready to leave as fast as we could. There was no wasting time, it was taco night. We raced the other vans home and arrived back in time to be the first ones in line to stack our plates with taco ingredients. Then off to bed we went to get some rest for the last training sessions of the camp.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 4

We woke up regular time, at breakfast, and drove to the fields for our first session. In the beginning of the session we did different passing combinations. Then we played a game going to goal. It was 7v7v7. It was kind of confusing at first, but eventually we got the hang of it. We then played 11v11 and to top of the session we ended with finishing and crossing. We went about our regular routine until our next session, which was a little later than usual. For this session, we joined with the u20s and played a 6v6 tournament. It was very competitive. My team unfortunately came in 5th out of six teams, but I still had fun. After training, we all had to take a shower at the training center because we were being treated to PF Changs. We all wore our red training tops and black training pants there and we feasted on a million different delicious dishes. To make it even better, our coach let us get dessert. After we finished that we headed back to our hotel and hung out a little bit until it was time to go to bed. It was an overall good day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Day 3

We got to sleep in a little bit earlier in the morning because training wasn't as early. We ate breakfast at 8:00 and then got ready for training. I was excited to get to actually start playing. We began training by splitting up the offense and defense. I was with the offensive group and we worked on passing sequences and then went to goal with it. The defenders were doing some small sided games on the other side of the field. With about thirty minutes left in practice, we came together to play some 10v10. At first there were some restrictions, like the forwards couldn't put pressure on the defense inside the eighteen, but eventually we got to play with no restrictions at all. I was happy because I got to play my favorite position, center mid, during it. After training we headed straight for lunch and then again had two hours of downtime. I caught up on all my sleep during this time and once I woke up, I picked up my bag and headed off to the Home Depot Center with the rest of the team for our second training session. Our second training session we focused on the instep. We juggled sitting down and had some little competitions with it. We also worked on driving the ball with our instep. After working on that, we worked on some combination play to goal and then finished off the session with some scrimmaging. I thought we were done for the day, but then I found out we had to take the always terrible ice bath. We got in directly after training and had to stay in for eight minutes. It was awful. When we got back to the hotel we ate dinner, where salmon was served. Then we rushed to take a shower and be back in time for the team meeting. At the meeting we went over the Nigeria vs South Korea u20 World Cup game, which we were instructed to watch prior to arriving to camp. We broke down the game and picked a part every aspect of each teams style of play. Nigeria was clearly the better team. After the meeting we went off to our rooms and I fell asleep almost immediately. The time change is really taking its toll on me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 2

We had to wake up at 7:15, but I wasn't too tired because of the time change. We went straight to breakfast and then headed to the fields shortly after. Our first session consisted of the technical training. We had to juggle with our right foot and then juggle with our left. It was difficult because you had to hit the ball atleast waist high with no backspin or else it didn't count. We also had to juggle with our head. Speed dribbling tests were after that and then a passing drill. We then had to drive a 40 yard ball into a box, 5 left and 5 right. The last test was a shooting drill where you had to drive a ball into the goal. It had to be in the air when it passed the goal line and again 5 left and 5 right. After that session we headed to lunch and then had about two hours of downtime until our next session. At 3:00, we left for the fields and got ready to complete the fitness testing. None of the fitness tests were too hard, except for the beep test. Glad to have gotten the hardest part of the camp over with, we went to dinner and quickly headed up to our rooms to watch the end of the Super Bowl. A majority of the team was 49ers fans so it was a sad day for some. The game ended at perfect timing because we had to head to a team meeting right after. April Heinrichs went over styles of play, formations, and roles of players, which she said we would apply to our next few training sessions. We headed back to our rooms after the meeting to get some rest for the next day. I was happy for the day to be over because I was excited for the rest of the weeks events. I wanted to get to actually playing and training with some of the best players and coaches in the nation.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 1

I woke up at 5:30 and headed to the airport to catch my 8:50 flight to Los Angeles. I was wearing my khakis, Nike gym shoes, and US soccer polo. The four hour flight gave me a lot to think about. I slept the first half, but the second half I reflected on all the hard work I'd put in leading up to this point and all the people that helped me along the way. A big thanks goes out to my trainers and all my CUP coaches for helping me prepare for this opportunity. We landed about 11 am Los Angeles time and got picked up and dropped off at the Holiday Inn. At one we ate lunch and then at three we met again for a team meeting. Then at 5, we got ready to head to our 5:30 training at the Home Depot Center. I walked into the locker room and changed into the US training gear they provided us with. My locker had a ton of free Nike stuff that I was pretty excited about too. At the training, we worked on stringing passes together. We started with small sided games and then played bigger. After training, we went straight to dinner where pasta and chicken was served. Then we headed back to our rooms to get some sleep for our technical and fitness tests they had planned for us in the morning and afternoon.

Above: Maddie Huster (Ohio Elite), Me, Emily Ogle (Internationals), the Ohio contingent.