How badly do you want to be a footballer?

Inspiration

Stomach Troubles

For the past two or three days I’ve been suffering from a pretty nasty stomach bug.  I won’t get into the details.  Just take my word for it – it’s unpleasant.  Though it stopped me going to the gym yesterday, I did manage to get out for training today.

It went alright.  Healthwise, I was not on my game.  Certain effects of my gastrointestinal issue had left me very dehydrated and all around exhausted.  That being said, I played alright.  My roommate and second-year teammate Alex Choi joined up with us for the first time today, and he seemed to fit in well with the squad.

I’m very excited for the season to get underway.  We have a very talented squad that might manage to be a contender come playoff time.  More to come…

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The Red Bandana – 9/11 Remembrance

On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, ESPN honors a Boston College athlete who sacrificed his life to save others at the World Trade Center.


Looking Forward, Looking Back

Junior Year officially began today, with BC undergraduate classes starting up.  I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been busy with finishing work, getting ready for school, and moving into my new off-campus house.  In case you’re wondering…it’s pretty sweet.  Eight bros with their own house:  eight bedrooms, two common rooms, two bathrooms, two kitchens, a good-sized balcony.

My Room

 

View from my bed

 

My Floor's Common Room

 

...Complete with one of our two giant TVs

The off-campus life so far has been great.  But in addition to living the college life, I’ve been focused on training.  The past two weeks or so have been very busy – I’ve only played soccer once or twice!  I’ve still been keeping in shape though, doing simple workouts to maintain my level of fitness.

So after this two-week hiatus, I consider where I stand in relation to my goal of playing football abroad.  I have four months left til I leave for London, putting me more or less at the halfway point of my training.  What good things have happened so far?

  • Better level of general fitness, particularly short bursts of speed within match stamina
  • Developed leg strength, particularly quads and calves
  • Much improved footwork, particularly with the left
  • Stronger, more accurate shot

And of course, with the positives come some negatives:

  • Need more work with left-footed, one-touch passing
  • Need more strength on left-footed crosses and shots
  • Need to continue work on upper body strength

Moving forward, there’s a lot of soccer in my immediate future.  The intramural season is right around the corner, and I can’t wait to get started.  It looks like we have a good team this season, and it will be a lot of fun.

More to come – stay tuned.


Ajax


Take it to the Next Level

Hands down, my favorite commercial ever.  Inspiration at its finest.  I couldn’t stop thinking about this at the gym today…


My Perfect Afternoon

Today didn’t start great.

My buddy (and roommate during the school year) Paul called me at 6:45 AM thinking I’d be awake to ask about a sweatshirt he’d left at my apartment after a party last weekend.  Turns out his work schedule changed and he couldn’t pick it up anyway.  Work got off to a similarly annoying start, with me waiting in vain for people to forward me information I needed to do my job.  It was a long day.

When work got out at 5, I hustled back to my place to change and went to the gym with my friend Aaron.  He’s much more accustomed to upper body workouts than me, so he’s been helping me get into my stride.  We did an arm workout for a little over an hour, and then headed to Alumni Stadium to do some football drills.  It was there that I witnessed two miracles:

  1. Nets had mysteriously appeared on the field.
  2. There were 10 grad students kicking a ball around.

I approached one who was wearing  a Luton Town jersey.  His choice of this somewhat obscure club made me confident that he was the right guy to talk to.  Turns out he was from London, and an Arsenal fan.  Of course things went well from there.  We started a 6 on 6 match, and ended up playing a little over 90 minutes.  It was an intense workout, but I felt good.  All my work on my left foot paid off in a big way, I scored several goals and got several assists as well.  The best chemistry was with the grad student from Luton…he and I managed some truthfully spectacular plays off running longballs.

Overall, my performance this afternoon was just the confidence boost I needed.  With my early injury struggles, I’d gotten a bit down about my training.  I’m certainly looking forward to playing with these people more this summer.

On a sadder note, I cannot watch the US vs. Canada game because I don’t have FSC and they seem to have worked tirelessly to prevent any reputable sites from providing internet streams.  I’m reminded of the words of Taylor Swift (the 2nd most perfect woman in the world behind Emma Watson):

Oh, what a shame.  What a rainy ending given to a perfect day.

If any of you are questioning my musical taste after that bit, perhaps you’ll like this better.  On the way back from the pitch tonight, I listened to several of my favorite songs from the FIFA 11 soundtrack.  So there.


A Beginning

They say the first half-meter is in your head…

Since my childhood, I’ve loved the game of football (for my American readers, yes…I’ll be calling it that, not soccer).  The style, the culture, the atmosphere – it all appealed to me.  I played a lot as a youngster, joining my local club team as a teen.  At that level, I was fairly successful and enjoyed every minute.  Naturally, I thought that I’d play in high school, but I misjudged the situation.  Here are the facts:

  1. Playing just for my local club left me with an inflated sense of how good I was.
  2. This inflated sense of talent led me to believe I could walk on to the tryouts without any serious training.
  3. As a result, I was unfit, inexperienced, and caught totally by surprise.

Add in the fact that St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts boasts one of the most competitive high school athletic programs in the state, and the result should be obvious:  I did not make the team.  Worse, I did nothing to fix the situation.  I didn’t suddenly start working hard to get fit, or even training my weaknesses in the game.  Frankly, I gave up.

Entering college, this started to change.  I had been playing pickup football games as much as I could, joined an intramural league, and stayed in shape with other sports as well.  Still, I had no plans to enter any serious training regime.  Then, I heard about the football program at University College London, where I will be studying abroad next Spring.  The club offers seven inter-varsity teams, each with a different level of play.  With that knowledge, my passion for the sport reignited.  With a program that provided opportunities to play for individuals from so many skill levels, maybe I could have a chance.  I asked myself,  “Why not put my talents to the test?  Let’s see if I can play football for UCL.”

Of course, I want to be realistic about this process.  I’m certainly only aiming to make the 6th or 7th team (especially considering that I would be a one-semester walk-on).  Whether or not I make the team at all, however, the experience of trying will undoubtedly make me a better player and should provide some interesting stories as well.

This blog will record my attempt, giving you personal insight into my life for the next eight months.  It will start with intense training this summer, some serious fine-tuning during the fall intramural season here at Boston College, and then the trial process when I get to London.  Hopefully, after that, this blog will be about playing football in England.  We’ll have to wait and see…

I had my last final exam yesterday, and start my summer job today.  After work, I expect to be exhausted; however, there’s no time to think about that.  This evening is my first training session of the summer.  Wish me luck.