While the result did not go in our favor, the performance was very good. We fell to the Eagles 2-1; conceding two scrappy goals on a set piece and failed clearance from a long throw in. The play however told a different story. We moved the ball around very well with good possession and creative attacking play. But at the end of the day the scoreboard determines who wins and who loses, on this day they had one number higher than ours on that scoreboard. Following the match the boys were frustrated and disappointed. Honestly, that was the response I was hoping for. They played well as a team and individually everyone had a positive contribution, but we live and die on results, and the result didn’t go our way.
Immediately following the match my attention turns to the next opponent. I was concerned this week in training because for almost 3 weeks we have been isolated on a quiet campus. Not so much anymore! Campus is buzzing and not always for the right reasons. Students are back and classes are in session, therefore, distractions are ever present and attention spans are shorter. We draw some hard lines within our program and the boys know exactly what’s at stake and exactly what the consequences of their actions are. We have good leadership throughout the team and the group is extremely committed to our goals, yet my nerves are still on edge. I guess it’s a lot like handing over the keys to the car to your son or daughter for the very first time as they head out on their own. You trust them, you’re confident they will do the right things but you’re also scared to death! Now multiply that by the 25 players on our roster and that’s exactly how I’m feeling.
The past ten days have been extremely busy, but I have had time to follow one of our alumni as he continues his professional career. Freddy Hall a former goalkeeper of mine has recently signed with Toronto F.C. of Major League Soccer. Freddy signed a four-year contract with TFC and his first appearance for Toronto was a friendly against a little team named Liverpool Football Club. Liverpool is very much a club in transition at the moment, but their history commands great respect. As I sat and watched Freddy, I couldn’t help but swell up with pride. He is deserving of the opportunity and as a true student of the game I knew he completely understood the magnitude of the moment. Since arriving in Toronto, Freddy has won the starting job in goal and when he made his debut against Columbus our current team gathered on campus to watch one of our own. Freddy now serves as an inspiration to the current players in our squad. He is a tangible example of how with hard work and perseverance you can and will accomplish your goals.
In my last blog I spoke about balance and my attempt to find some. This week I have made it home for dinner on most nights, I have found time to sneak in a round of golf (I even managed the entire round with the same ball) and made it to two birthday parties, one of which came complete with pony rides and an appearance by Mickey Mouse. But in the coming weeks it will likely be time spent in front of the TV. The NFL season is on the horizon and I look forward to rooting for my New England Patriots. American football has always been my Fall release away from real football, you know, the one where you actually use your feet! As often as I can, weekend mornings are reserved for the Premier League or La Liga, but Sunday or Monday night is reserved for whoever is on. I think I enjoy the NFL simply because it coincides with the college season. It gives me an excuse to stop breaking down film or scouting or overthinking things. But, we are in season and the vast majority of my time is spent breaking down film, scouting, and overthinking things.