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Canada Day 3

Mar 11, 2013, 10:55 PM EDT

Another 9:30 wake up (or what boss would likely call ‘sleeping the day away’) for the soccer team set off the third day of our spring break trip to the lovely Toronto.  While the sun wasn’t shining today, it was what our native Scottish coach would call, “Daahhhh, a lovely day for the race!”  What race, you ask? Well that would be ‘The Human Race’…. another timeless joke from our fearless leader.  Living proof, that some jokes age like a fine red wine, and others, like a glass of milk.

Following an uneventful breakfast a meeting to review set pieces rounded out the morning.  After looking over the current starting front line, we are ripe with talent and soccer ability, but leave a bit to be desired in the height department.  This line, which I will now affectionately refer to as, “The Lollipop Guild” serves a vital role for the team, and we all hope that freshman Patrick Hodan can finally get over the physical thrashing he received in the Big East final (get ready for the lift on Thursday buddy).

After the quick meeting, we all headed out to the unrivaled Toronto FC training facility to get a good pregame workout in.  As anyone who was on the tour with us could tell you, this imported Italian turf with only the finest cork-coconut hybrid aggregate could trick an agronomist into thinking it was a pristine grass field.  The ball rolled true and wizzed around the practice as the blades of artificial turf caressed the ball into perfect passing lanes. Did I mention it was nice to play on? (I’m looking at you anonymous donor)  As we played our favorite drill, the Barcelona drill, everyone got some good touches and prepped for the games tomorrow. Also, not surprisingly, sophomore Nick Besler had another howler of a practice, hardly connecting a pass all day.

At the end of practice we were able to have a short chat with the man that Boss coached at Stanford and the New Zealand National team who now manages the first team at Toronto FC, Ryan Nelson.  You may also know him from his long career at Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League, also playing with clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers.  What I’m saying is he doesn’t suck! He had some words of wisdom for us after practice focusing on the importance of players to have big and influencial personalities on the field.  He stressed the importance of personality over ability, technique and even athleticism to make it at the highest level.

Upon leaving the training ground, the team got to take a nice mid-day nap and recharge before a dinner at a staple for any Notre Dame Men’s Soccer trip, an Italian restaurant.  Piasano’s (or ‘brothers’ for those not fluent in Italian) was incredibly accommodating with enough food for the whole team, a rather impressive feat.  Dinner conversation ranged from the absurd, to the hilarious and included such novelties as which Rom-Com’s are worthy of the top 5 title.  Rom-Com of course being Romantic Comedy movies: a very masculine dinner conversation for us… and freshman Connor Klekota and sophomore Brendan Lesch chimed in with maybe a little too much experience in the field.

With everyone’s mind on the games to come, we retired to our rooms and prepared for our two games tomorrow which will be a true test for the end of our trip.

Since this will likely be the end of my professional blog writing/written comedy career due to some harsh criticism from the coaching staff, I love you all.

-Andrew O’Malley


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