Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
The Player Analysis Blog
by Christen Press, September 23rd, 2012 11:27PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  americans abroad, sweden

MOST COMMENTED

[THE PITCH: Blog 27] To get into the heart of a team, you have to let your teammates into your heart. That’s what I have been trying to do here in Sweden. And that’s exactly why this experience has been so meaningful to me. Perhaps it doesn’t seem like such a feat … becoming friends with your teammates? ... but for a person who spent years building a small army to protect my feelings, it was hard work tearing down that wall and letting people in. Then, to be told that perhaps this very behavior is thwarting my football career and progress ... well … it is something to consider.

Last week, my coach Torbjörn requested we have a meeting. Lying on our turf field, he said that he had noticed that I seemed particularly stressed and uninspired during our frustrating last match. He had his theories and talking points, but one particular comment grabbed my attention. He diagrammed our lineup (X’s and O’s) on his napkin in typical Torbjörn form. Drawing a circle around the central players on the team -- the center-backs and the center-midfielders -- he pointed to the circle and said, “This is the heart of the team.” He explained that wide players have their roles and relationships, but sometimes they get left out if the ball stays on one side…. But he continued, “… and I know how it feels as a forward, a forward has a different role. And that role is to be alone. You have to be a certain type of person to be a striker; the type of person who thinks about themself. That type of person can find a way to win a game even if the team deserves to lose... without getting frustrated.” He looked at me and said … “Both on and off the field, you try to come in here, to the heart of the team. And we need you to be a forward, alone, and we need you to score.”

From September 23, 2012



My blog is often about the parallels that run between my game and my life … and here was an analogy that I had clearly missed: what your position says about who you are … Is it possible to analyze a person based on her position on a team? Hmmm ...

The doctor is in … (Quack! Quack!)

The Goalkeeper: Goalies are just plain odd … like swimmers who get up at 4 a.m. everyday to dive into an ice-cold pool. Well, who volunteers to be a human shield? These strange people thrive on taking hits almost as much as inflicting pain on others … hmmm … there’s a catchy phrase for that type … sado-masome-thing or other … And all that chattering!!! They seem to have an insatiable desire to be heard … or maybe they are simply trying to enlist help finding that loose screw…

The Center-back: The training unit for future “Soccer Moms of the World.” In a few years you can find her: pony-tail-rocking, sweatpants-wearing, shuttling wayward kids in SUVs. But for now, she must content herself with mothering an entire team, An “automatic-captain,” they are also expected to provide a tireless stream of pep talks, constantly monitor the player GPS, and most importantly… CLEAN UP ALL MESSES!

From September 23, 2012



The Center-mid: Martyr or Psychopath? These silent thinkers appear introverted. They are the masterminds of the game. Like an orchestra conductor, their efforts are often hidden beneath the stage. Their unacknowledged status has been known to drive them into a schizophrenic state such that a running commentary about the match plays insistently in their heads … Like Joan of Arc claiming to have been led by the voice of God … I say sainthood can’t be too far off!

The Forward: Now we’ve come to the most important position, Self-centered/arrogant/cocky? I preferred to think of us as driven/confident … and maybe a little bit of a temperamental diva! Try spending a day in a striker’s boots … or more aptly, her head … and you’ll find that we have more than enough going on. For example a little thing called … hmmm … SCORING!  Everyone gives forwards a hard time for not tracking back on defense, but…in the tone of Allen Iverson (a basketball diva of sorts), ”Defense? We talking ‘bout Defense?”  They say defense wins championships. Well …we forwards know the truth … SCORING is the only way to win. We are forced to carry that heavy burden around 24/7. It’s a wonder that we can sleep nights or maintain proper posture. I tell you it’s just too much to bear. And, for what? Glory you say? Well … you would be surprised just how often we have to endure the ugly “candid” photos that appear in the newspapers following a match.

Okay … that was all in jest. But is it fair to say that, as players, our positions define us, much like character actors in a movie? Or, do we define our own roles, wielding our special talents to create our positions and bring value to our team? Of course any true footballer would want to incorporate the best qualities from every position. Which can be explored in that tricky but fascinating study of say …”The Forward-turned-Outside-back”… or even the rare … “Midfielder-trapped-in-a-Forward’s-jersey.” I’ve seen the glimmer in the eyes of many a back who got to play forward for one game or even one minute … so I know I’m not alone in my longing. Hmm … To be honest, I’d take the good with the bad if it meant I got to get into the heart of the team. But at the end of the day, I’m a striker. I accept that, diva and all. I guess it’s my job to embody those “virtues” and empower myself with the knowledge that I am needed. So for now … the doctor is out!



1 comment
  1. James Madison
    commented on: September 25, 2012 at 7:22 p.m.
    Fascinating blog as always, but even more fascinating comment by the coach.


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Real Monarchs ink deal on new stadium site    
A week after a deal for stadium at the Utah State Fairgrounds fell apart, Real Salt ...
Crew Stadium gets a name 16 years later    
MLS's oldest soccer-specific stadium finally has a name of its own. Columbus Crew SC has partnered ...
MLS Trade Central: Philly adds pair of youngsters    
The Philadelphia Union agreed to terms with Saint Louis University defender Raymond Lee and 18-year-old midfielder ...
What They're Saying: Zach Scott    
"The only thing we've talked about is if our families are alright. If you've got family ...
Lots at stake as MLS labor talks continue    
The deadline for a resolution of the talks between representatives of MLS and the MLS Players ...
Video Pick: Hand of God attempt fails for Yang Xu     
Shandong Luneng's Yang Xu impressively emulated Diego Maradona's infamous 1986 goal but the sharp-eyed ref in ...
What They're Saying: Arsene Wenger    
"At the moment we are nowhere near to winning the Premier League, and nowhere near close ...
U.S. U-23 women sweep at La Manga     
The U.S. U-23 women's national team won all three of its games at the Six Nations ...
What They're Saying: Bakary Soumare    
"As a player, there's nothing more fun than playing in front of a packed crowd, knowing ...
MLS Trade Central: Sporting KC gets De Jong    
Sporting Kansas City signed Canadian international Marcel de Jong after successful trial at left back at ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives