How badly do you want to be a footballer?

Archive for May, 2011

A Day in the Life…5/31/11

8:00 AM — Wake up.  Back hurts too much to run, so make up for it later.  Watch Sports Center while getting ready for work, eat a banana, and fill up the water bottle.

9:00 AM — Work starts.  Log onto the computer, say good morning to people, check emails, and fix problems.

12:00 PM — Lunch time.

1:00 PM — Back to work…more emails, more problems fixed.

5:05 PM — Leave work, head back to the apartment, get changed into workout clothes and grab the soccer stuff.  Start at the gym with an arm workout, do some light cardio, then move onto Alumni Stadium.  Run the bleachers on one side of the field, then do drills with the ball.

6:45 PM — Done working out, walk back to the apartment.  Shower time (with singing…U2 themed this evening).

7:05 PM — Cook and eat dinner.  Pasta and apple juice all the way.

7:30 PM — Clean up time.
As promised, here’s a look at my new apartment.  I’m loving it.

Dining room...pretty plain, but it gets the job done.

My beautiful kitchen. Stove, oven, overhead fan, sink, refrigerator, microwave, and - most importantly - dishwasher.

Yum

My room. C'mon you gunners.

My desk and TV that pumps Netflix into my brain.

Gotta stay hydrated for training.

Hallway that leads to the storage rooms, my bud Francisco's room, and both of our bathrooms.

The common room and my piano...Francisco's setting up a huge fishtank in there that's gonna be pretty sick.

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Football, Volleyball, and Softball

For the first time since I’ve been at BC, Alumni Stadium was completely locked up today.  All the gates were padlocked, and even the athlete entrance through one of the buildings was uncharacteristically closed off.  This was a problem, because it was the first time I had multiple people playing football with me.

We ended up going to the softball field behind Alumni, where the track and field team had set up something that looked like a cross between a hurdle and a pommel-horse.  We couldn’t really figure out what it was, but it came in handy.  We used it as a volleyball net, but instead of using our hands we used our heads, feet, chest…you get the idea.  Definitely good work for our touch.  After a few of the guys left to eat, I stayed behind with my friend Aaron to run some passing drills.  Unfortunately we still don’t have access to football nets…if this keeps up, I’m going to have to make the trek to Newton Campus for my training.

As far as injuries go, my arm is completely healed but I’m developing some pretty bad pain in my lower back.  I blame this primarily on the awful university-supplied mattress and the plain wooden chair at my desk (where I sit 7 hours a day)…I’m going to start icing it daily and hope for some improvement.

I’ve moved into my summer housing…it’s awesome.  More to come on that.


The Ronaldo Free Kick

I find the way he sets himself with his hips straight on target to be a little awkward…but clearly it works for him.  All I know is it makes timing free kicks in FIFA a bit more difficult.

I think I’ll stick with my angled approach.


Amazing Weather…

…makes working out easy. I took these pics while stretching before a workout in Alumni Stadium.

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Shout out to my bud Aaron who trained with me today.  It’s like French class all over again…


Alumni Stadium

With Boston College’s 2011 Commencement over, Alumni Stadium has once again been vacated.  Though the football nets aren’t out there like they usually are, having the stadium at my disposal provided some new opportunities.

First off, having some green space to get some drills in is crucial.  With BC’s massive construction project taking up what used to be the “dustbowl” – a large open area in the middle of campus – there is nowhere on campus to practice except the stadium.  I brought some cones down to the pitch and ran some agility drills, focusing mostly on my left foot.

Alumni provides another great opportunity  – a challenging place to run.  I ran up and down the spectators’ stands along the away team’s bench side before beginning my workout, and ended with a quick lap around the field while dribbling the ball.

In other news, Arsenal proves that it is the classiest club in football and the USMNT announces its 23-man squad for the Gold Cup. (Freddy Adu?)

Stay classy…be champions.


Another Season Gone…I Don’t Want to Talk About It

Arsenal ended their season with a 2-2 draw with Fulham.  Finally, we’re out of our misery.  Arseblog has the final word…I can’t talk about this anymore.


Injury Update

Things are pretty much back to normal with my elbow issue.  After going for a run yesterday, I worked on it for a bit in the shower, bending and unbending the joint under the hot water.  After that I iced it 3 times, and by the time I went to bed I pretty much had the normal range of motion.  Everything else is feeling good.  Since I have a history of knee injuries, I iced those as a precaution after my run, but I they seem to be alright.

Today, I’ll be playing hurling with the newly formed Boston College Gaelic Athletic Association.  Hurling is the national sport of Ireland, a very fast-paced game that provides another way for me to get in a good workout.  I’m bringing a football and some cones to the practice pitch though, so that after hurling I can get in some football as well.  Since Alumni Stadium is still unavailable due to graduation, we’ll be practicing on the Newton Campus Field.  It’s a beautiful facility, but unfortunately it’s too inconveniently located from main campus to make it my regular training spot.


Poor Bet from the Special One

For those of you who might not have heard of Special1 TV, it’s a BBC comedy web-show about football…involving puppets.  This is the season finale, with a cliffhanger of an ending that’s leaving me a bit anxious.  Enjoy.

Mourinho’s wager will force me to do something I’ve never done before…root for Man U.  What a shame.  Regardless, here are a few of my favorite episodes from this season.

Match of the Century

Conspiracy at the Nou Camp  (I have the utmost respect for Mr. Wenger, but this is too funny to pass up.)

I haven’t been able to find an RSS feed of all the Special1 TV episodes, but Soccer By Ives will usually post the newest episodes.


An Early Injury

Nothing’s ever easy.

About 36 hours after my first back and shoulders workout of the summer, I noticed a slight tingle in my left elbow.  I thought nothing of it at first, but later, I awoke in the middle of the night to find that I could not bend that arm at the elbow – it was stuck at a 90 degree angle.  I couldn’t move it at all, even when I tried to slowly pull it flat with my right hand.

My grandfather’s funeral service was held this morning, and after the burial the family gathered at my aunt’s house.  It has become a family tradition for the cousins to play sports at any family get together…weddings, funerals, births, etc.  My still semi-immobile arm limited my ability to play basketball (I felt sort of like Rajon Rondo), but when soccer football rolled around, I enjoyed getting a few touches in.

I’m using a heat pack on the arm for now, and its range of motion is improving.  Hopefully it will be back to normal soon.  It’s a small setback – I just consider myself lucky that the problem is with my arm rather than my knee again.  I’m being very careful, spending more time stretching and warming up than I ever have before.  With a little luck, I hope to avoid any further issues with my legs as I train this summer.


Strategy

Two days in, and the summer is feeling pretty productive.  I’m working for BC ResLife as Technology Coordinator, but the end of term means all hands on deck checking residents in and out of the dorms (erm…residence halls, that’s what we’re supposed to call them).  The past two days haven’t featured a great deal of coordination or tech work.  The first day I worked 10 hours, and the second I worked 8.  I was pretty tired, but I still got to workout.

Unfortunately, graduation setup prevented me from getting into Alumni Stadium to do any football drills.  I did get into the gym both days though, and I’m feeling pretty confident about the start of my training.  Before I get into the swing of things here this summer, however, I thought I’d post about my overall strategy.

First of all – like I said in the last post – I want to be realistic about this process.  I will be competing against top-flight footballers, who grew up with the game at a level that isn’t available in the states.  No matter how prepared I am, they will always have that developmental advantage over me.  My response to this is two-fold:  First, I need to focus first on agility.  In short, I need to be the fastest guy on the pitch.  Second, I need to have clinical finishing.  In the past, most of my goals have been scored by setting up passing plays that allowed me a shot on goal after taking a touch or two.  I’m comfortable with this style of play, but I feel that by further developing my ability to have a go at the net without taking a touch, I’ll be a much more versatile player.

I have experience with distance running, but I’ve never really had any incentive to try very hard at it.  Though I was on the cross country team for a few years in high school (before injury issues with my knee cut that career short), I ran simply to stay in shape, never really caring about the competition.  With the prospect of trials in the future though, I have a whole new mentality.  I’ll be taking on a new cardio regime involving early morning runs 6 days a week and sprint drills most days as well.  Additionally, I’ll be going to the gym 5-6 days per week.  I’m feeling a dedication to physical fitness that I’ve never experienced before.

Once I have access to the pitch at Alumni Stadium, I’ll be doing various football drills out there on a daily basis.  Additionally, I was happy to find out that fellow ResLife staff members have a tradition of playing summer soccer in the stadium.  I’ll be getting involved in that for sure!

On a side note, my grandfather passed away this week, and wake and funeral services are being held over the next two days.  He had been very sick for some time, so to some extent his death can be considered a blessing.  I’m just happy that he’s at peace.  Obviously, I won’t be doing much training over the next few days and may not post either.  I’ll definitely check in early next week though.

That’s all for now…happy summer, and for all you graduating seniors out there – congratulations.