How badly do you want to be a footballer?

Training

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have not had a spare minute to myself….with the semester in full swing, I’ve been attending meetings, writing papers, applying for internships, and all sorts of other things.   My technical training has taken a hit due to this business, but I have still been playing soccer every week.  In addition, I’ve been running training sessions for gaelic football and hurling with the BCGAA, keeping me pretty well fit.

The intramural season is off to a rocky start.  We lost the first game 3-1 and drew the second 1-1.  I’ve played pretty well, but the problem has been a team-wide issue with possession.  We give up the ball on stupid passes way too many times, missing out on a lot of would-be goal scoring opportunities.

My footballing world has been further upset by Arsenal’s continuing spiral, topped off by a loss to Sp*rs this weekend.  Let’s not talk about it.

Promise I’ll be posting more frequently as London draws closer…Cheers.

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4 Sports Day

Training goes on, and today my fitness was really put to the test.  From 2-3:40, I ran a hurling/gaelic football practice with the BCGAA, teaching some newcomers how to play the sports as well.  Then from 4-6, I had an intense soccer scrimmage with the intramural team.  Finally at 7:30, I had an intramural softball game, which got out around an hour later just in time for me to head to work.

Soccer went well, and the team is coming together nicely.  Our first game is this Wednesday night, in what looks like our hardest match of the regular season.


The Season Begins

On the BC practice football field, my intramural team had its first training session yesterday.  Though I had to leave a bit early, I have to say it went fantastically.  There was lots of inventive play, good passing, and a great level of general fitness.  We also have solid players at every position – including goalkeeper, a rarity on the intramural circuit.

More info. to come later.


More Success

Another scrimmage, and more good news to report.  My footwork and crosses were dead on, which helped me net several goals and assists while playing man down (4 vs. 3) on a small field.  Playing today after moving out of my apartment (back home for a week and 1/2 until my new lease), I’m pretty exhausted, but it’s the good kind of exhausted where you know you accomplished some things.

On a sadder note (but good riddance nonetheless), Arsenal sent Samir Nasri to Manchester City today.  I didn’t care for his attitude of late, but his presence will definitely be missed in the midfield.


Redemption

Cesc gone?  Arsenal plays well and takes down Udinese.  I’ve been playing poorly the past few games?  I snapped out of it in style.  In a 4 v 4 match, I stepped up and my game came together beautifully.  My footwork kicked in perfectly, my passes were dead on, and I made several key defensive plays. I also scored several times and stacked up a few assists as well.

Frankly, I’m just glad to have some positive things to report.  I had been pretty discouraged lately, but things seem to be picking up again.


Discouragement

Second game in a row that I just didn’t play well at all, and I’m pretty discouraged.  Granted some of the time it wasn’t entirely my fault, but still I have to be accountable where necessary.  All the progress that I’d been having seems to have trailed off in the past two weeks.

What’s different?  A few things.  First of all, we haven’t had enough people to play full field games, and this means short-sided, small field games.  My style of play is to work the long ball and the wings – something you can’t do too well on a short field.  Does this mean that I have a speciality?  Maybe…but the trouble on short-field play also suggests I’m not too versatile a player.  Is it a problem with touch?  I don’t know.  I mostly am getting a good first touch, but I seem lost with the ball on a short field.  I just don’t know where to go with it…passes aren’t as available, and there’s less room to work around.  So maybe it’s a footwork issue.  I’m not sure.

The biggest problem might just be my own negativity.  Today’s game started out alright for me, but after one or two mistakes, I just fell apart.  I think I’m just far too down on myself…even tonight, not EVERYTHING was bad.  I had several good passes and one particularly good shot on net (just glanced wide).

And if my soccer world couldn’t be crumbling down around me any more, Arsenal is set to lose Cesc and Samir in the next few days.  With van Persie and Wilshere already having injury problems on top of this, it looks like it could be a long season for the gunners.

Hopefully the upcoming intramural season (with its full-field play) will bring me back some confidence.  Until then, I’m just going to keep training.


Behind the Scenes at Alumni Stadium


Abysmal Performance

Last night’s twice-a-week scrimmage went awfully for my team and me.  As a team, we couldn’t finish well, our passes were always a step off, and we made a series of stupid mistakes.  Personally, I ended up with three goals in our 11-5 loss, but only one of them is worth noting (a volley off my left foot).  I blew way more opportunities to score, and was frustrated throughout the whole game by my lackluster performance.

The one good thing I took from the game was my speed.  I was the quickest one out there by the end of the game, able to put on a quick burst in the final minutes when everyone else lagged back.  I’m taking the day off from any type of workout today, trying to give my legs a break.  I had been hitting the gym with a lot more vigor leading up to last night, and I think tiredness may have contributed to my bad night.


Angry

After a long day at work looking forward to my game tonight…thunderstorm. Oh well, at least it’s sharkweek.


End of July Update

With August starting up, the summer is coming to a close.  Work is slowing down, the days are getting shorter, and people are getting ready for the academic year to kickoff.  As I get closer to London, I’m starting to pick up my training.  I’ve begun going to the gym early in the morning before work three days a week and doing football drills in the afternoon.  I still play matches Tuesdays and Thursdays as well.

Status?  Things are coming along well.  For example, I netted a hat trick and an assist in last Thursdays 7v7 match.  We played on little nets, but I still managed to score two volley goals.  My other goal was a bit more special, finding the upper 90 on-the-fly from twenty yards out.

My left foot touch is progressing nicely, but I feel my weakest point is still shooting from the left.  It’s something I’ll be focusing on a lot this month.  One helpful exercise I’ve been doing for this uses this setup:

I dribble through the cones starting on the right hand side, and at the end, shoot with my right foot.  The two tackling dummies mark the middle zone of the net where I cannot put the ball (that makes me hit the corners, out of the imaginary keeper’s reach).  I then turn, run back through the cones this time starting on the left, and at the end shoot on another goal (not pictured, but on the other side) with my left foot.  Then repeat.

With the fall term comes the intramural soccer season.  We take it pretty seriously here.  For example, here’s the crest (photoshopped by yours truly) and uniform from my Freshman year team:

This year, three buddies and I were invited to join a new team (name TBD).  It should be a higher level of play than previous years, which I’m looking forward to.  I will keep you updated on these developments.

On a closing note, I’m pretending the Emirates Cup didn’t happen.  I know it’s just a preseason tuneup, but come on Arsenal…