Mar 22, 2013, 1:59 PM EDT
Earlier this month, Irish freshmen Katie Naughton and Cari Roccaro, as well as incoming student-athlete Morgan Andrews competed with the United States Under-20 Women’s National Soccer Team in the 12 Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain. While across the pond, Naughton kept a daily blog, which we’ll be posting here in three segments over the next few days.
Day 1: March 1, 2013
Well, please bear with me because this is my first blog post ever. I am actually sitting on the plane right now bored out of my mind, so I figured what the heck, might as well start now. Cari and I were picked up at 11:45 this morning at the world-renowned – yes, world- renowned, main circle. The two and a half hour drive went very smooth as we listened to music, slept, and watched YouTube videos that featured the vocal talents of goats in many of the popular songs today. Once we arrived at the airport and got our bags checked we met up with a bunch of the other girls and set off for security. Of course, the security line was ridiculous on a Friday afternoon, but it moved pretty fast considering. After we all got through, a good group of us went to get a bite to eat at the Macaroni Grill. Everything was good, until the check came around… They had some difficulty giving everyone separate checks so we were there for a little while longer.
After that incident we headed toward our gate and got ready to board for Spain. I got pretty lucky with my seat. I’m in a two-seat row with the aisle. So far on the plane I have taken a nap, eaten some questionable airplane food, read some magazines, and I just finished watching the movie Wedding Crashers. Great movie, not the classiest, but it was hilarious and put me in a good mood. Now I think I am gonna try and take a nap before we land so that I won’t die on the field. We have training when we get to Spain so I need to get as much rest as I can! I will get back to you with how the rest of the traveling goes :)
Okay I’m back! We are finally in Espana! We landed in Madrid and are currently in the airport waiting for our connecting flight to Murcia. While we waited, me and one of my teammates, Ashley Meier, went window shopping around the terminal. We were especially fond of all the nice expensive perfumes (i.e. Coach, Chanel, Juicy Couture, Calvin Klein, DKNY, etc.) Of course we couldn’t afford any of it on our college budgets… but it was fun to test them all out and waste some time! The only side effect was that we started to get headaches, so we quickly left. Currently we are at the gate waiting to board, but it is a kinda stressful environment as one of the girls misplaced her passport and boarding pass… I’m sure they will show up someplace.
Day 2: March 2, 2013
It turns out that our equipment manager accidentally grabbed the wrong passport out of security, so luckily we found the one girl’s passport and boarding pass! So to get onto our last flight to Murcia, we had to take a little bus ride to the little plane that we would be taking. The plane ride was fine, nothing out of the ordinary. Once we landed and went to baggage claim, however, a bunch of us didn’t have our bags because the plane was too small to transport all of the equipment and bags. Of course, I was a part of the group that didn’t get their bags, so I am still bag-less :( But it could be worse so I am just taking it in stride.
Then we left on a coach bus and drove to the hotel. The hotel we are staying at is called the La Manga Club and it is GORGEOUS! It is actually a five-star hotel and the views are awesome! My room has a balcony with a view of the pool and the surrounding mountainside. After we all got settled in, we headed off to the fields to watch the U-23 national team play Sweden. They easily won, 6-0. By that point everyone was exhausted and ready to crash, but we stayed at the fields to jog and stretch to try and combat the drowsiness. Then we all walked back to the hotel and took showers, thank goodness (we all felt disgusting). From there the night started to settle down as we ate dinner (steak, potatoes, pasta, paella, green beans, fruit, and of course, bread), had a team meeting, and then went back to our rooms to crash. I only woke up twice during the night, which is pretty good, and one of those times was just to go to the bathroom! Overall I would say that the first couple of days were a success, exhausting and long, but a success nonetheless.
Day 3: March 3, 2013
This morning my roommate and I woke up at 9:30 and were the first ones down to breakfast. We waited until a few other girls came down before we got our food. There were eggs, bacon, meat, cheese, bread, fruit, and some other things as well. The eggs looked a little strange, but they were actually really good!
Well we had our first training session this morning and it went really well! We did the FIFA warmup first and then had a little 3 vs. 1 competition, which is always fun. After that we split up into three teams and played possession with two defenders. The objective was to get to thirty passes, but the first ten passes were unlimited touch, the next ten were a mandatory two touch, and the last ten were one touch. My group was the only group to make it to thirty! oh yeah! Then the last thing we did was a nice finishing game that incorporated some passing patterns. Overall, I think the training session went well and this week looks like it’s gonna be fun!
We just finished dinner after our second training session today. For training we did some triangle passing patterns and then went into some possession games. There were two teams inside a big square with targets on the outside. The objective was to hit the target for your team and swap out with them, but you could not go to the same side twice in a row. Then we did a few variations of that possession game. At dinner we had pasta, fish, steak, veggies, fruit, and the staple, bread and butter. We have a light stretch at 8:30 tonight to try and keep us awake. Personally I think I had a better first session than my second session, probably just because I was getting fatigued. I think tomorrow will be good though!
Day 4: March 4, 2013
So we had training this morning and started off with some technical drills. There were five-yard squares and we had to pass, volley, and run around them in a group of four. After that they split us off into defenders and attackers. The defenders worked on a heading progression and then went into some shape drills. After that we took it full field and scrimmaged for a little bit.
We did not have a second training today due to the weather so we ended up doing some team-building stuff instead. They broke us up into three teams and we did an obstacle course. It was actually a bunch of fun! First we had to weave in and out of chairs, then we had to stack paper Gatorade cups into a pyramid and take it down without falling, then we had to run over to a memory matching section, and lastly we had to kick a plastic water bottle so that one of our teammates could catch it. All of the teams were competing against each other for time. My team came in second! Now we are just waiting to go to dinner.
Just got back from dinner! There is no meeting tonight so I am going to Skype with my friends back on campus :) I can not wait to talk to them! Hopefully Skype works better than last night with my mom, I couldn’t see her and she couldn’t hear me, so it was a struggle. But I seriously need to do some homework tonight so that I am not too far behind once I get back.
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