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Thursday, April 25, 2013
Getting to know my new city, and new team

By Erin McLeod

Erin McLeod
Erin McLeod has temporarily traded the Canadian team jersey for a Chicago Red Stars one. Chicago tied Seattle 1-1 in its first NWSL game.

The new National Women’s Soccer League has brought a fresh start for me, on and off the field. A new squad (Red Stars), new city (Chicago) and new teammates too.

Our season opener on April 14 against the Seattle Reign had some parts that were great and some that, well, weren’t. We really came alive in the second half and dominated most of the play, but Seattle’s goalkeeper had an incredible game and we just weren’t able to finish it. We wound up with a 1-1 tie.

Nerves were totally understandable for our first game, and we made some mistakes that will only help us going forward. We still have some things to figure out tactically, but the team is moving in the right direction. For me, I know I need to step up from a leadership standpoint, make sure I’ve got the best view of the whole field and be vocal out there.

Jessica Fishlock
Erin McLeod: "I need to step up from a leadership standpoint, make sure I've got the best view of the whole field and be vocal out there."

I've been battling a groin and hip-flexor injury, so my coach, Rory Dames, ultimately told me to take the week off after the game to heal. With a crazy travel schedule between the Canadian national team and Red Stars, I’ve been going since January with not much time off and keep getting these nagging injuries. I know I’m not a spring chicken anymore, so it’s all about being careful and taking care of myself.

I still went to all the practices to support the other girls and I’m getting to know everyone, which is fun. After our game against Seattle, we all went out for some team karaoke. Jess McDonald sang “Baby Got Back,” which was amazing. And my roommate, Carmelina Moscato, did a cheesy slow-song duet with a girl we didn’t know -- it was hilarious. I wish I could remember the song. I love to sing, but I hung back -- hey, you’ve gotta let other people shine sometimes!

We’ve been developing some other fun team traditions, as well. A bunch of us all go to this place called The Protein Bar, a healthy restaurant, after practice; and Carm, Lori Chalupny, Taryn Hemmings, Ella Masar and I are obsessed with watching the show “Scandal.” We all live in the same apartment building, so we get together and watch it almost every night on Netflix. It's a pretty big commitment.

Right now, I’m psyched that the man in my life is on his way to Chicago -- that is, my Chihuahua, Maxwell. My parents are driving my car -- and dog -- all the way from Calgary. They’re coming for a week to visit and to support me and the new team. I’ve been so busy I really haven’t had the chance to do the touristy Chicago stuff yet, so I can’t wait to do it all with my parents. I’m pretty sure my dad will have a schedule with bullet points of all the places to visit -- he’s like that, and I can totally get on board! We’re going to go to the Chicago Art Institute, which I’ve heard so many great things about. I’m a total art nut. I also can't wait to eat lots of good food and go shopping on Michigan Avenue.

Our next game is against the Portland Thorns on Saturday and, after a week off (and a weekend without a game), I'm excited to get back out there. We've been doing a lot of defensive work this week since it's no secret Portland has two of the best strikers in the world, Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair. Alex is one of the fastest players in the league, so we'll have to adjust to be ready for her. We're looking great in training, so wish us luck this weekend!