Okay so I took a little break from the blog and soccer posts. It was becoming very tough for me mentally to write about all of these games I was not playing in. First, it was difficult to remember as I’ve learned you remember a lot less details when you’re watching from the sideline. Second, I was in a bad mental state about soccer and my injury and writing these posts were just yet another reminder. So, after a few game break I am back to playing and writing!!
Our game last Friday was against PEC Zwolle. They were about middle of the pack in the standings, but they had been hyping this game UP. Since we are the #1 team right now we can always expect to get everyone’s best game, and that was what we got on Friday night. The PEC men and women play in the same stadium, so we played in front of a crowd of about 2500. The weather was perfect and the turf was nice – really not much more I could ask for. Since it was my first game back and I only had one full week of training under my belt our coach and I agreed I would play 20-30 minutes at the end of the game to get back into the swing of things.
About 30 seconds in to the game our starting forward went down after a hard tackle. I immediately was called to warm up. My stomach had dropped immediately. I had just gotten comfy in my spot on the bench and I was mentally prepared to play the last 30 minutes, not 90. NOR was I even close to fit enough to play a full 89 minutes and 30 seconds. Unfortunately that’s part of coming back from an injury. You can’t truly simulate game fitness on the bike or treadmill, so that is my #1 priority right now (getting fit again).
Thankfully for her and my lungs she was okay. I came back to my spot on the bench and was able to calm down a bit. The first half was back and forth. They didn’t have any great chances but neither did we. My fellow American (Dom) hit a ROCKET from 30 yards out giving us the 1-0 lead going in to halftime. We weren’t playing bad by any means, but when you don’t get a ton of chances and still find a way to lead at half that’s always a great feeling.
Right after halftime I was told to warm up. I was locked in and focused and ready to make an impact in my first 30 minutes back. Right as I was about to come in PEC Zwolle scored off a free kick. I was starting to feel the pressure a bit as now I knew I needed to go in and score a goal not only for my confidence but for our team to leave with a win. About 10 minutes after I came in they turned the ball over right to our other forward who played me a perfect ball in on goal for a breakaway. The keeper came out and it was an easy slot past her to the right post. We were now up 2-1!
We continued to stride forward but weren’t getting any great looks. Neither was PEC, but they did have a lot of possession towards the end. As I was standing at half field watching what seemed to be a good opportunity for them, our right winger made an AWESOME slide tackle stopping a cross into the box. Not only did she stop it, she got up quickly enough to play me a PERFECT long ball. I am not exaggerating when I say perfect. I didn’t even have to settle it or take a touch. My first touch was around the defender, then I remember looking up and taking a peek and seeing the keeper was out. With my second touch I just barely chipped her to the far post, and in the 92nd minute we were up 3-1.
3-1 was the final, and I will always remember that game. It was my first game back after another slight set back and I was able to prove/show the hard work I had put in the last 3 months on the sidelines. I was able to score 2 goals and help my team get a much needed win on the road to make sure our 1st place standing was secure. Lastly, my mom was there to witness it all. After all the long distance phone calls crying and complaining about my injury, and being at our game the previous week when I was upset my name was not called to play. She was there to see my comeback and how my hard work paid off. It was a very special night that I would never change, and I’m glad my role model was there to see herself.