Women's Soccer
Kickin It With Ella #4

Former Illini Ella Masar and the U.S. U-23 WNT are one win away from playing for the Nordic Cup title.
Former Illini Ella Masar and the U.S. U-23 WNT are one win away from playing for the Nordic Cup title.

July 18, 2008

FALUN, Sweden - Before I go into details of our game (we WON) I have to start off by saying (North Carolina senior midfielder) Yael Averbuch and I officially broke my (maybe her's as well) one touch partner juggling record. With having only a morning practice yesterday and then the afternoon off we decided to juggle a bit before we headed down to town. Now the purpose of us heading out to do this was because two days ago at the end of practice our coaches gave each of us 10 minutes on our own. With our time, (Duke senior midfielder) Lorraine Quinn (#6), Yael and I decided to try to do complete grandfather's clock. This means I would start with one touch, Yael with two, Quinny with three, etc. and we go up to twelve, then once you hit 12 you try to make it back down to one. Without giving you guys all the details and numerous accounts of our screams of frustration, we never ended up completing back to one. So yesterday Yael and I decided that it was a good idea (Quinny had her massage) to try and redeem ourselves. Long story short, we completed grandfathers clock and also got a miraculous 173 one touch with each other. I do understand that many of you might not grip the outstanding joy that brings to my life but fortunately for you I have the perfect analogy. Remember (close your eyes) your first Christmas, I mean where you finally comprehended that in the morning Santa was going to bring you a bundle of things that you felt your heart desired most. Well folks, that first present you opened, that one thing that made you smile from ear to ear was what Yael and I felt. No it wasn't just me being creepily excited, we both shared the same joy ;)

So yes, my Wednesday was a beautiful success and I must say it just carried right over to today. We ended up beating England 3-0. The first half we finally started to click and by the second we were just all over England. I got clipped pretty bad in the second half and had to come out, however, before that I was very content with how I was playing. You all might not know it but I am infamous for psyching myself out or trying to find my confidence, especially with these guys. Nonetheless, this afternoon it was almost if I had an epiphany. As I was trying to take my daily nap (greatly needed) I realized that the pressure, the doubts that I found myself putting in my head, were ridiculous. I know that you would think that the unbelievable support from my family, coaches, teammates and you all should be enough but trust me, my mind is not always at the top of its game. Somehow I finally just realized how fun this is supposed to really be. That I am playing with some of the best college players in the nation and being able to represent my country. From this day forth I am only going to take any national team soccer experience as the true blessing it really is. So many people never get this chance even though they deserve it. Nothing can ever beat hard work and you know what bottom line the worse thing that can happen is you get benched.

To all: Never forget what YOU bring to the table! Everyone was born different for a reason, everyone was given their specific tools/talents for the sole purpose NO ONE was given the same thing! Take pride in that, confide in that, and if you ever feel your back against the wall, remember it!!!

Sorry I think watching the inspirational movies over here has gotten to me ;) One more game on Saturday vs. Norway til the championship. If we win or tie we will be playing on Monday for first place. Thanks for listening guys, talk to you soon....