By: Erin Lycan Last night, we also did some team building. This group is really coming together as roles are getting sorted out and leaders are emerging. Head coach Mike Singleton has a strong background in pyschology, and the team building activities have been very impressive.
From our itinerary:
SOCCER EMPHASIS FOR THE DAY:
Cherish each and every goal-scoring opportunity as if it is the last one our team will create in that game.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“In the end, we are all going to have to support each other.” Tori Leigh
This thought of the day came directly from one our captains during one of the team building activities. Taken both literally and metaphorically, they’re making huge strides on and off the field.
From Fran Kulas:
Yesterday we played our first match. While the tie against the Krasnodar Regional Team earned us a point in the tournament, this result for sure felt like a loss to us all, as we all felt this was clearly a match we should have won, particularly after gaining a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes to play.
Following lunch and a brief team meeting, we attended the Opening Ceremonies. All participating teams were in attendance and were recognized in the stadium on the field. Each team was presented with Russian bread while on the field and our team made quick work of that when we moved into the stadium seats to watch the U19 National Teams of Russia and Estonia play against each other. While it was raining throughout the ceremonies, it was an exciting experience for our team and it was apparent that Russia was proud to be hosting this tournament. While Russia’s President did not attend, the President of the Russian Football Union did, as did the Director of Women’s Football for FIFA.
Upon our return to our “base”, we ate dinner and then headed back to the hotel for some teambuilding activities which were followed by some debriefing in conversation form between the players and the coaching staff. During the debriefing we addressed how the activities we conducted were relevant to where we are as a team at the moment and how we could carry the lessons learned from these activities into our performance on the field during the remainder of this event. The team enjoyed the activities for as you can see in the photos posted for today, but they also benefited greatly from them.
Training went well today as we started with our usual dynamic warm-up, and then the field players went with Mike and Erin to spend some time working on technical repetitions and timing of runs in the “Dutch Circle” activity. We certainly appreciated the tournament organizers working to provide us an opportunity to train in preparation for our match on Monday.
Following our session, we returned to the hotel and the team was given the option to take a walk to the beach to see the Black Sea or to stay at catch up on homework. We are happy to report that Tara, Lyndse, Katelyn and Sloan stayed to work on homework– parents you must be proud!
As our trip goes on, the girls are becoming friendlier with the other teams who we share meals and the hotel lobby (only place for internet connection) with. As I type, the girls who are in the lobby at the moment are pestering some of the players from China and Turkey with questions and it is funny to watch them interacting with people who don't speak English. This is yet another aspect of this trip that everyone will remember for their entire lives.
The intermingling of cultures has been especially fun to watch. Our players were able to speak with the Chinese through online translators as they typed back and forth.