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Katie Naughton’s Spain Blog: Days 5-8

Mar 25, 2013, 9:57 AM 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. We posted the first blog on Friday. Here’s part two.

Day 5: March 5, 2013
We had our first training session this morning and did a bunch of possession games. From the beginning we were divided up by age, which was weird because I am technically the oldest in this camp, and then played possession. It was pretty fun and got really competitive. Then we moved on to larger scale possession where we had to connect a certain number of passes and then get it to the other side. From there we moved on to a small-sided game where the starting line-up worked on their defensive shape. Lastly, we ended with a finishing drill that incorporated 2 vs. 2. We may not have a second training session today; it all depends on the weather!

Looks like we are not going to have our second training session due to poor weather. Instead we are going to watch film of the game we played against UCLA last camp.

Day 6: March 6, 2013
Today we only had one training session in the morning. To start we worked on some passing patterns and went through a few progressions of that. Then we moved onto some full-field passing patterns where we built it out of the back. We ended by going over some set pieces and how to defend them. I think I did well during this part of practice; I gave the defense a difficult time from what I can tell.

At lunch, one of the girls taught us this game called ‘What are the odds’ and it was hysterical! We played it again at dinner. After lunch a group of people headed down to the market and souvenir shop in town. I bought some shirts, postcards, key chains, and some other little trinkets! Then we just walked around and took in all of the beautiful sights 🙂 Once I got back to the hotel, I watched part of the movie The Incredibles and then helped one of the girls on the team with her math homework.

Day 7: March 7, 2013
Today is game day! We play Norway at 3:00 🙂 This morning we had the choice to go to breakfast from 8-9, but if you didn’t want to eat or if you wanted to sleep in, you had that option as well. After that we were free until lunch at 11:00 and then we loaded up the gear and headed out after our pre-game talk at 1:45. Once we got to the fields we started the warm-up. Everyone did their own thing for about 15 minutes and then we got into four lines and did some dynamic warm-ups. Following that we got into a large circle and worked on dribbling and passing while interchanging. Then we split off into the starters and non-starters and played some possession. Lastly, the defenders did some long balls and heading while the mids and forwards worked on shooting and passing. Then it was game time!

We were a little shaky the first half and couldn’t seem to penetrate the compact formation of the Norwegians. The score was 0-0 at half. The second half was much better as we started to pass the ball much faster and started to pull apart their formation so that we could play through the seams. We scored fairly early in the first half off a nice long ball from the midfield that one of the forwards poked around the goalkeeper and then tapped in. We had several more opportunities after that but couldn’t find the back of the net. Then in the last minute of the game, Norway got a cross off that led to a scrum in the box and that they ended up scoring off. It was a bummer, but I think we all learned a lesson from it. The final score was 1-1.

After the game we went back to the hotel, showered quickly, and then went to an Italian restaurant named Luigi’s. It was really good! They served us salad, two different types of pasta, four different types of pizza, and we even got a little bit of gelato for dessert. It was a nice break from the hotel food.

Day 8: March 8, 2013
This morning we only had one training session since we have a game tomorrow, so the coaches want to rest our legs and make sure we are recovered. We started with a light warm-up with our coach, Janet, where we got our heart rates going a little bit. We have to wear these heart rate straps now that monitor how hard we are working. Then after that we split into two teams and did a technical ladder progression where we competed with the other team. My team did not win unfortunately. Then the center backs and goalkeepers worked together on communicating when a flighted ball was coming into the box. I thought that was really productive because we almost never have a session dedicated to just the center backs and goalkeepers working together.

Now we have the rest of the afternoon off to relax and do some homework before dinner and our meeting later tonight.

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