It's the little things that have been surprisingly hard and most exciting for me this preseason. For example, that first practice I discovered that we wore Adidas cleats. This, after wearing Nike Tiempos for as long as I can remember hit me pretty hard. That may not seem like a big deal, but for all of us our boots become like an old friend and the change sort of jolted me into an understanding that some things were about to be much different. (BTW I have come to really like my new Adidas Copas!). It was also pretty strange in that first scrimmage to be wearing maroon (not blue) and realizing, this is my new team, school and colors. It's all bittersweet, the end of the familiar and the beginning of what will soon be comfortable.
Those first few days seemed to drag on forever, all filled with complaints and the constant question "will I ever be able to feel my legs again?" But then you wake up one morning to discover that it's already been 2 weeks and doubles are over. Those other twenty girls that you first met just two Fridays ago are now your friends and teammates and the first game is right around the corner. If done right, pre-season assures that your team is like an instant family, making the transition all the more easier. The older girls are critical sources of information because they have been through it before and are living proof that we all will not only survive, but love it enough that we will keep coming back for three more years.
Did I question my decision to play D1 college soccer at times throughout that first week? I'd be lying if I said no. It's intimidating, exhausting and much more competitive than about any other atmosphere I've been a part of. However, being on your own is exhilarating, the hard work is rewarding and most importantly, I love playing soccer and being part of a team. I believe that it's an achievement on its own to have made it here and a real privilege to play every day. That attitude helps … a lot. Every little thing that we endure throughout preseason will obviously help prepare you for the actual season and hopefully, the postseason. That is the same for everyone, but only we freshmen got the chance to attend our FIRST pre-season, and that makes it so much more special.