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Games, Changes and Fears
by Christen Press, May 3rd, 2013 3:23PM

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TAGS:  americans abroad, sweden, women's national team


“Games, changes and fears When will they go from here When will they stop.”  -- Macy Gray

[THE PITCH: Blog 10]  Last year, when my family and I visited Stockholm during a break in the season, we made a point to see The Changing of The Guards at Sweden’s Palace in Gamla Stan. Official uniforms, a band, and synchronized movements are all a part of this ritual, celebrating national pride. A large crowd of tourists come together to, quite simply, watch the guards switch shifts. I’ve seen the Changing of the Guards in Oslo, Norway and London, England as well. It happens in X different countries throughout the world. And so it seems that I am not the only one to make a big deal out of change. To gain perspective (but mostly to make my case for being melodramatic), I have enlisted the wisdom of those far more astute than myself to play the role of provocateur.

 



So many of my blogs have referred back to that moment when I decided to move to Sweden. In that instant, I changed my career path, relationships, and home. It seems to be the pivotal point in my life. After years of developing a style of play that I was both comfortable with and proud of, I was forced to change my style in order to fit a new role. Ugh!!! Noted neurologist, Viktor E. Frankl might argue, “When we are no longer able to change a situation -- we are challenged to change ourselves.” Good point … While all that changing happened to me, something changed within me. To find happiness in Sweden, I had to change my perspective. I’m not sure of which I am more proud: taking the leap or growing the wings.

 



And then, I changed teams again. New job … Bang … New relationships … Bam … New home … Boom! One might think that after I’d garnered all the benefits of change so many times before, the process would get easier. But it isn’t. I continue to miss. I continue to resist. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” You’re right, Dr. King so I better stay tough.

 



My head coach Tony has made a point to tell me that he doesn’t want to cut off my edges to fit me into the team. “No need to change you,” he says, “we can find you in our system.” Hmm ... But with these new players, this new system, and a totally different style around me, I’ve started to see the steadfast truth in life: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Truth President Obama! If I am going to grow, I have to change.  No, I’m not saying that I have to force this “square peg” into a circle,—getting away from my strengths as a player—would be a mess. But I am not opposed to a little nip and tuck…here and there. (I am an LA girl after all!!) They say that football is a game of inches, and the small adjustments in timing and positioning transform the game entirely. If so, then maybe my role last year and my role this year are not so far apart…or perhaps they are colossally different.

 



In the past, it seemed as if change was something that happened to me. I, in turn, had to change to survive. But now as I look toward the season ahead of me, I can make the choices myself. I can choose to change; I can, for the first time, actively seek out the adjustments that will allow me to thrive. As of now, I don’t know much for certain: not what these changes will look like or when I will make them. But to that end, I think I’ll just let Winston Churchill have the last word here. “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Stoppage Time:

The season is underway. It feels good to be in the swing of things. Preseason is long, hard, and here in Sweden…a liiiitle bit chilly. We are the favored team to win the league. So, automatically, that makes things ten times harder. We are the only team to have three wins in our first three games. But all three games were …well… hard.

To finish at the top of the table, we are going to have to find all sorts of different ways to win games. Our last two games are prime examples.

After squeaking out a 1-0 premier win against Umeå, we traveled down to Vittsjö. We played the game against (arguably) Damallsvenskan’s most physical team, on (arguably) the worst grass I’ve played on in quite some time. In light of the pitch conditions and to minimize the risk of “bad field bad luck,” we changed our game plan to a very direct style, similar to how our opponents played. Our 2-0 win meant more to us than the box score, however, because we had to step outside ourselves to beat them at their own game.

And, then, this past weekend at home in our game versus Linköping, it was one of those games…one of those games… where you are playing really well, but can’t score. One of those games… where you are doing everything right… but can’t score.   Just moments before the end of the match, when the emotions of the game started to swell up in the stadium, I let out a deep breath and tried to remind myself, for the 1,000th time, that I was sure that we were going to score. A teammate looked over to me and said, “You’re going to have one more chance” but I could see in her eyes she meant, “you’re going to score.” While the media would comment about another close game for a team that, perhaps, should be winning by larger margins (c/o Google translate and their oh-so-doubtful intonations), the steadfast faith demonstrated by my teammates seems remarkable to me.  To remain unwaveringly confident when you’re playing against a strong opponent is no easy feat. To remain calm all the way into the final minutes of a match in spite of all of the pressure and expectations is no simple task. To ignore the soft whispers of self-doubt that grow louder as every scoreless minute passes is something of which we can be quite proud. And to score in the 88th and 91st minutes, snatching all three points … well that’s just fun!

Tyresö-Linköping Highlights

Off The Post!

#ThatAwkwardMoment on the field when…

@knowles1313: getting sniped, missing the ball, and getting a turf burn on my face... see picture (i'm in white) http://bit.ly/107XjKo

@CaitlinKyaw: scored a goal and went to hug my teammate, and both of us didn't know which way to face, and ended up kissing. Awk

@rootchino: Broken thumb, had a metal splint. Ref tied 2 big shinpads on my hand. Ran around for 90mins with a giant ghetto oven mitt :(

@dquicky: tried2 intercept a pass, foot rolled on top of th ball n i smacked myslf in th face wth my own knee, tried callin 4 a foul...

@megkuch: getting caught off sides 14 times in one game #notpayingattention #oops

@joenooft: scored my 1st career goal as sweeper the proceeded to high knee/sprint back to my spot arms in the air, holding up duces.

@suth: I was about 4 years old. While taking a breather I ended up standing in fire ants. Coaches had to strip me down on the field. -only because I picture this happening to max. and then him running around naked.

@ANNA_gram: Corner kicks gone wrong (I'm in white) http://bit.ly/ZDvhdh



1 comment
  1. Gole goal
    commented on: May 6, 2013 at 12:20 p.m.
    Before reading this article I read the title and I thought this article was going to be one of struggle. Struggle in the since of having to adapt to a new area where fans are aggressive against a player and an enviorment that is hostile towards foreigners. As I read word for word sentence for sentence I found my assumption to be nothing like what I thought. As a former player and now a coach I understand what Macy Gray means about adapting to a foreigner style of play. But what came to thought after reading this article is that players of color especially Hispanic/Latino and black players have to adapt every day in their life. To be a person of color is to be pointed at, made fun of, and suspected of wrong doing. As a coach I have seen this first hand, where players of color are pushed aside in the recruitment process and a white player is perfered over a brown or black player. Just see the NCAA Ethnicty/Race report on the NCAA.org website and you will see what I mean.Where in showcases and soccer tournaments players, coaches, and parents of the opposing team make racial remarks like beaner, wetback, and spick to brown players and the officials just say play on. Every tournament and showcase I have attended my players have been racially abused because of the color of their skin and they as kids really have to ADAPT in a hostile environment, it doesn't really help when the majority of the time we perform very well and place in tournaments, once this is accomplished the opposing team, parents, and coaches become more hostile. Also to adapt is a player of color who attends a university and city that is predominantly white and the players own teammates shy away from the player and the coaching staff singles the player out because they are brown or black. I have seen this first hand and it still goes on. So I hear what Macy Gray means by adapting to a new style of play and new lifestyle let's just also realize as a soccer nation that American born players that are players of color always have to adapt from what they do day to day and when they play as foreigners in their own land.


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