Former Illini forward Ella Masar continues preparation for the Nordic Cup with the U.S. U-23 Women's National Team.
July 14, 2008
Well we are officially 1-0 and let me tell you I am in just as much shock as you are. Now before the thought of me not believing in this team creeps into your mind, I feel I am forced to tell you of our usual boy team experiences. They usually happen when we attend a camp in L.A. where we end up playing an ODP (Olympic Development Program) team or, in other words, an AAU team of the best U-16 boys in California. I am not exaggerating when I say that you will see these boys in the Olympics one day and not for soccer but for track!!! I seriously do not think that I have ever played a team of faster boys than the ones in California; it's quite unbelievable. I also could go on and on about them, but for some reason I don't think many of you are interested in just that, so back to our game today ;)
The guys we played were pretty big, meaning that the top of my head only hit the upper chest of the center back. So, in other words, me going up for head ball was pretty comical to not only my team but also to the fans (in a good way). Overall we played pretty well. The differences from last year to this year are already beginning to appear. What I mean is last year I came in with never really experiencing the national teams, whereas most of the girls that I was with have been in for years. I had the recent camps of the last six months, but i did not have enough games under my belt to really understand the environment of the Nordic Cup. The only way I can try to explain this is through our college scouting report. Before each game we always get told about the best player or players our coach feels we have to 'pay attention' to. That means usually one to at most four players we become aware of before the game. However, here it's not only those best players, but then only the top player of those.
All I am really trying to say is that I was pretty naive to what I was really getting myself into and thank God I am stubborn because I think if I realized I might have freaked myself out (Janet would probably say I did) ;) Nonetheless, this year I not only fully comprehend what it's about, but feel I now have the experience to back it up. I know the tournament has not even started yet, but that doesn't change my attitude and the excitement to really be able to help my team win it again this year, to not only feel the pressure but to thrive on it as well.
I apologize for the seriousness of this so I'll finish with a funny story ;) Last night at around 1:30 in the morning my roommate gets up to use the bathroom. Well, I think I was having a scary dream, aka a nightmare, because as soon as she takes a step out of bed the floor creeks and I literally shoot up into a sitting positing and scream "Oh my God!" Needless to say she immediately started to scream as well and hits the floor. After about a minute of us trying to understand what just happened we both realized NOTHING did and start dying laughing. Anywho, she is now trying to get me back even though I did not mean to do it, which means my studs (metal cleats) are my cuddle buddy for the night ;)