Today marks 11 weeks since I arrived in Yzeure! Wowza! Almost three months.
It honestly doesn’t seem like it’s been that long; I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. Or when all you think about is soccer so you forget what day it is…I think a mixture of the two!
I am super excited to share with y’all that we won our first game! WHEW. Big sigh of relief. After being in a winless rut, getting that first win and breaking the monotonous cycle of losing can be quite difficult. We had some close games in that span: a tough tie and a couple loses in which we really beat ourselves as opposed to the better team actually winning. It’s tough to take all those defeats on the chin, but we learned a lot from them, and going into last week’s game our entire squad recognized it as a must-win match. The week of training leading up to our last game there was a great intensity and a sustained level of effort that really benefitted us. We really pushed each other and created a great training environment for the team.
Fast forward to Sunday. Game time! Right from the first whistle, our team played with confidence and purpose. The game against Juvisy the previous week had really benefitted us; we had great team shape and applied good pressure all over the field. It had been a couple weeks since we dominated the time of possession and really pinged the ball around, so it was nice to get back into a strong playing rhythm. And when we scored our first goal, you could just feel a huge weight lift off everyone’s shoulders.
We continued to fight and pressure the entire game. We had lots of opportunities on goal, even after we had scored a couple more goals. When we had a player sent off with fifteen minutes left, our team rose to the occasion and kept playing hard. I don’t know if I have ever been so happy when the referee blew the final whistle! Now that we have our first win (and first shutout!) under our belt, there is just a better aura around our team. The win was definitely the boost we needed at this point in the season! And it definitely made the five-hour drive home much more bearable!
Last week we also had our team “picture night” to take the official photo for the 2013-2014 season. We had to take a couple different variations of a team photo, one in each uniform color as well as individual portraits. It was fun to see everyone with their hair down and makeup on! We spend a lot of time together, but the vast majority of it we are on the field or just hanging out casually, so to see all my teammates all glammed up was definitely a change of pace! Our coach decided to make a night out of it, so after all the photos were taken, the president hosted a dinner for our team, staff, and club regents. It was a really great event!
Everyone was asked to bring a “regional specialty” from whatever part of France they are originally from. It was really interesting to see what people brought! There were a ton of different foods: a huge assortment of cheese, sausage, as well as wine from all over the country. Yzeure’s department was also well represented: a couple people brought homemade pâté aux pommes de terre. It was a great opportunity for everyone to relax and just enjoy good food and company. This event was especially fun for me; not being a French native I got to learn about and try a bunch of new food!
And I am sure y’all are all dying to know what I brought to the party! Well, being the awesome baker that I am (please note the sarcasm) I had a really hard time trying to decide what to bake. All my teammates had been asking me what I was planning on bringing to this soiree. They had been poking fun at me at training, asking if I was going to make hamburgers or something along those lines. I knew that whatever I made everyone was going to try, so the pressure was on! After conferring with my mom and sister (the ones truly gifted in the kitchen) I decided to attempt an apple pie! Is there anything more quintessentially American?!
Now, when it comes to my cooking skills, there is a lot left to be desired. As I mentioned earlier, my mom and sister are far superior when it comes to anything to with cooking or baking. If I can follow a recipe without setting fire to the kitchen or scaring off anyone in a fifty-foot radius, I consider it a success. So I set out to try my hand at apple pie! I found a super simple recipe, translated all of the ingredients (in case you were wondering, ground cinnamon is canelle moulue!), ventured to the store for ingredients, and got to baking! By some stroke of luck, I was actually able to bake an apple pie!! I definitely surprised myself, and I think all my teammates were pleasantly surprised as well. They managed to finish off the entire thing without any complaints! So all in all, the night was definitely a success.
So that is what has been happening with me the past couple days! Team photos, food, and finally a much-appreciated victory!
Our next match is a home game against Olympique Lyonnais in the first weekend of November. I am actually really looking forward to this match since they are not only one of the best teams in France, but one of the best teams in Europe! I know it will be a difficult game, but I am interested to see how we stack up against them!
Since we don’t have a match this Sunday, our coach has given us this weekend off! We trained hard the entire week, already anticipating the tough task awaiting us against Lyon. It will be great to have a couple days to take a mental break and recharge the batteries. As soon as I found out we had the weekend off, I started looking at train tickets to do some exploring. I found some great prices with ma carte de reduction jeune, so I am spending the weekend in Brussels, Belgium! Again, just one of the many reasons I feel so lucky to be able to play in the French D1, I can hop on a train and in a few hours be transported to another country! I am so excited to visit a county I have never been to before and experience a new culture! Plus, Brussels is home to a Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate, so it sounds like it will be right up my alley!
Peace, love, and here’s to weekend adventures,
Professional goalkeeper for ASPTT Albi in the French Division 1. Previous player at Foot Féminin Yzeure, Forfar Farmington FC (Scotland SWPL) and the Houston Aces (USA WPSL). Inquisitive adventurer uniting my first great love, football, with my passion for exploring. Proud alumna of Rice University (Go Owls!)