Excerpts from Christen Press' 57 reports for Soccer America
Christen Press was the 2010 Soccer America College Women's Player of the Year at NCAA Division I finalist Stanford and won 2011 WPS Rookie of the Year honors at magicJack. When WPS suspended plans for the 2012 season, she signed with Kopparbergs/Gothenburg FC of the Swedish Damallsvenskan. The Californian, at age 23, started her Soccer America blog feature when she was preparing for her new journey by working out on her own and joining pickup games in Manhattan Beach three times a week.
Finding Flow. March 1, 2012. "The regulars look like the cast of misfits in a Telenovela. Some are fit, some are not; some are technical magicians, some are not; some are young, some are … not. But they all love fútbol, they are very competitive, and they are eager to teach … I’ve learned a lot of Spanish curse-words! One of my favorite guys, Spider, is not the most technical player on the field. He laughs at himself as he trips over the ball, and teases his teammates when they miss an open net. Every time I go out to play, he, somehow, scores the game-winner. After he does, he throws his hands up in jubilation ...
"An infectious grin spreads across his face like a child who spots his favorite character at Disneyland, and everyone on the field cannot help but shake their head and laugh along with him. I think his words capture the feeling every player in the world covets: the feeling of being unstoppable. It is a fleeting emotion, usually lasting only until the whistle blows, but the boost it gives our spirit sustains us long after."
100 Days of Sweden. June 10, 2012. "There is no one-track, fast lane to success, but many different roads and they are all winding, through both meadows and dark forests. I have had a glimpse at different styles, methods, systems, and cultures of football along the way. I thought my path had led me to Sweden, but it actually led me so much further. The trek down that road has been both empowering and liberating. Ironically, my round-a-bout trail has also led me to the USWNT, but in the most unconventional way."
My Pursuit of Happiness Blog. September 13, 2012. "In the past, if I hit the crossbar or post, I have been inevitably unable to convert the rest of my shots during that game. Hitting the post infuriates me! Maybe it’s silly, but the difference of an inch determining the outcome of a game, a season, or a championship seems ridiculous to me! This negative thought does not always come to fruition, but it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is an example of a time where I can use my focus-on-the-fun mentality to actually help me achieve more success. Instead of slipping into the lonely silence of my raging mind, thwarting all future chances to score, I can feed off the excitement of the moment ... the crowd's gasp ... the keepers look of terror ... and smile!"
Body language. April 19, 2013. "I've gotten used to reading players' body language and waiting for their cues on the field. In fact, forwards spend the whole game deciphering codes based on teammates' approach and set up to the ball to determine when and where to make runs. But now, since playing for both Tyresö FF and the U.S, I’ve noticed that the player on the ball often waits for me to signal them where to pass the ball. So I have to keep that in mind. While I'm reading them, they are reading me! It is a fluid exchange of signals that neither starts nor ends with the match. ... In time we become, though sometimes subconsciously, aware of one another's manners, styles, and cues."
The Swan Song. June 18, 2014. After two and a half years sharing stories about my journey through Sweden as a professional footballer, how could I possibly skip over the biggest game of my career and the final goodbye? Well, other than a country western composer, who wants to write about a heartbreak? That is what May brought: a heartbreaking loss in the Champions League final and and sad ending to the best chapter of my soccer life.
"I used to think that losing titles made me a loser ... But as I packed my life back into my luggage, I knew that although I was losing everything -- not just the title, but also my team, my training environment, my life, my friends -- I had won something more."
The Chicago Daily News. July 22, 2014. Soccer has brought me back across the Atlantic into the heartland of the USA, and I am awe struck by the impressiveness of Chicago. Always an explorer at heart, relocating here has made me not only a member of the Chicago Red Stars, but also, an excited and happy tourist. I’ve spent my first month trying to figure out what it means to be a Red Star as well as a Chicagoan, and I’m starting to think the identities are not too different.
• Links to Christen Press' Swedish Diary in Soccer America HERE.