Juggling my two teams
I've been on a hiatus from my National Women's Soccer League team for the last couple of weeks, but this time it's not because of an injury (thank goodness!). Abby Wambach, my teammate on the Western New York Flash, and I have been at training camp with the U.S. national team, and then playing a two-game series against Korea Republic in Foxborough, Mass., and Harrison, N.J.
It's always good to be in with the national team, but it can be nerve-wracking as well. Every time you step out on the field you're getting evaluated, as our coach Tom Sermanni tries to figure out who he wants to keep on the roster and where everybody should play on the field. It's a process, but the more times we're together competing the better we're going to be as a team for the World Cup in 2015.
Abby and I missed two games with the Flash, but our team did really well without us. The first game against the Washington Spirit was at the same time as our national team game against Korea, so we weren't able to watch it live. Instead, we finished our game, and as we walked into the locker room, we checked our Twitter feeds to find out who won. (Ours did, 2-0.) For the second Flash game, this time against the Chicago Red Stars, Abby and I were able to watch and root for them. It's hard to miss games, but now we'll be with the team for the remainder of the NWSL season, which finishes in August.
We had some exciting games with the national team, too. I was so honored to be on the field as Abby broke Mia Hamm's all-time goal-scoring record last Thursday. We all knew she was chasing Mia, and it was getting close. I think she wanted to beat it during this series so she could get it over with, since we aren't going to play again as a national team until September.
We all laughed with her about it because she's an all-or-nothing kind of woman. When she wants to do something, she'll do 10 times the amount. I remember telling her after she scored her first goal to score "two more," and she laughed and scored three more in the first half. It was pretty incredible -- you could see it in her eyes that she was going to do it.
I was also psyched to get to play in front of my home crowd in New Jersey for that game, as well. I had a large crew of fans -- close to 100 people from the Medford Strikers Soccer Club whom I am affiliated with at home, as well as Universal Soccer Academy where my trainer James Galanis is the director of soccer operations. I also had a large group between my family and my boyfriend's family and friends.
All in all, I'm feeling really good. There's still some minor residual pain in my shoulder from the injury I had in March but like anything, that's going to take some time to go away completely. I just have to keep up with treatment and strength exercises for the rest of the season.
Playing with the NWSL is a totally different pace from the national team because we often have one game and then don't play again for a month. With the league, we have a game or two a week! It's a really good opportunity to try different things on the field, see what works, improve my game and increase my game fitness.
Luckily I love my ice baths so I am doing those on a daily basis to make sure I'm getting the recovery I need. Our next game is against Washington on Friday, so I'll be resting up until then. We've beaten them once and tied once, so we're hoping for another "W" on Friday!