Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself"

Currently I am sitting in the Helsinki airport, waiting for my next connection on my trip back to the USA! I am returning home for about 3 weeks to prepare for Max and Ebba’s visit to my house. J They will come and stay with us for a week and half before I fly back to Finland for the season. They are only coming for a short time so we have a lot to do and! I am excited to get back home and enjoy the summer weather they have been lucky enough to have already.

This past weekend we took a trip to Turku to play two games. Saturday we played against TPS, a team in the Naistenliiga.  After about a 6 hour drive and many bathroom breaks we arrived to the field. The field was in awful condition.  Although it was turf there were huge puddles down both sidelines. I think we showed up with a good mentality and everyone was ready to play and win despite the divisional difference. It was a good test to the team as we pared up well against them.  The final score was 0-0. Both teams demonstrated good play throughout and both had a few good chances. Their best chance was in the first half on a penalty kick; I dove to the correct side and made the save. Our best chance came towards the end of the match when Maya broke through on a breakaway; the keeper came out and was able to parry the ball away. It was good to see some of the younger players getting stuck into tackles and the confidence the team showed.
After the game we went back to our hotel, had dinner and tried to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. On Sunday we woke up, ate breakfast and headed off to our next game. We were playing against FC Rauma who are also in our division. The field was really nice and the sun was shining. The game started off pretty slow and you could tell fatigue had set in. Although we played a bit slow we were the better team. We held control of the ball almost the entire game and created many chances. The game ended 4-1. It was a good weekend overall and we were able to see where we are at and what we need to continue working on before the season kicks off.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finland, Round 3

I arrived to Finland on February 28th after about 15 hours of traveling. I made all of my connections and managed to not lose my luggage...success! Robert, Elis, Otto and Fred (manager) were there to pick me up at the airport. Juliana, the new Nigerian on our team also arrived at the same time. They took us by our practice to say hi to everyone and then I came back to the Astrom’s to settle in and get some food. Although we are 7 hours difference I managed to adjust to the time difference quite well.  It was so great to see the family again and it seemed as if I hadn’t even left! They are letting me stay in Ebba’s room for the time being (what a great sis)!
The temperature is a lot colder here then the weather we had been having back home! Overnight it has been in the single digits and hasn’t hit above 30 or so during the days. We have gotten a new turf field outside and therefore we train and play our games outside from now on!! They keep telling me it’s beautiful weather now and I am lucky I wasn’t here a few weeks ago, I agree! We played two training matches on Saturday. The first game was against the league team, ONS and we lost 2-0. Although they maybe were the better team we were able to get some very good looks on goal. After the game we met Mormor (the Astrom’s grandmother) for lunch at Rax. She invited her grandchildren + me to go for lunch to celebrate all the winter birthdays. It is an all you can eat pizza and ice cream place and was very good. In the evening we played the second match of the day against JYPK. We won the game 2-1. We played very well throughout the first 30 minutes of the match. There were some good things we can take away from the games on Saturday as well as some things we will work on for the future.

On Sunday, Robert took Ebba, Elis and I snowboarding and skiing at a small place nearby. The chairlift proved to be quite a challenge for me at first. You must put the bar in between your legs for it to pull you up; I think I fell at least three times before I succeeded. Ebba just got a new snowboard and was able to try it out for the first time at the real hill. She was so good already! Elis skied and he even went over the little jumps they had made! Afterwards we enjoyed a family size pizza and then headed home. That is what I’ve been up to in my first week back in Kokkola and I am excited for the season to get going.