Archive for April, 2011

Snake

Posted: April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

For all those with ophidiophobia, or a fear of snakes, don’t worry, this post has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the creepy, scaly reptile! However, it does have everything to do with a pretty sweet ball skill that enables you to imbalance your defender and create space for a shot or cross. To execute a snake you need to take a quick touch with the inside of your foot, followed by a more explosive touch with the outside of foot, all in one complete fluid motion. If it’s done properly the ball will take the motion of a slithering snake: hence the name! Overwhelmed yet? You should be. This is one of the most challenging attacking moves to master, but it can be extremely effective.

This video is a great portrayal of the snake in action!

Here’s a recap on facts about this move:

Definition- an attacking move in which you take a quick touch on the ball with the inside of your foot, followed by a more explosive touch with the outside of foot, all in one complete fluid motion.

*This move can also be done in reverse. In this case you would start with a quick touch on the outside of your foot, and follow with a more explosive touch with the inside of your foot.*

Uses- imbalance a defender, create space for a shot or cross

Synonyms- in and out

Difficulty: 10 out of 10

Happy Practicing!

So this past weekend was Easter weekend, and initially I thought it was going to be great, but to my misfortune, it was actually more like a roller coaster of disastrous events. It all started with Friday’s weather. Despite the fact all week it was sunny and at least 60 degrees, Friday turned out to be rainy, windy, and a maximum of 50 degrees. How convenient, we get the worse weather on the day of our final competitive spring game (first drop on the coaster).

Aside from the terrible weather, things actually turned out to be pretty decent on Friday. We beat Penn State University 2-0 that night, and I must admit even though it was windy and chilly, it’s tons of fun to play in the rain(1st peak on the coaster). The pace of the game accelerates, and a wet ground makes it really fun to slide tackle. Except when you wind up on the receiving end of a slide tackle. I fell victim to a few slide tackles throughout the game, but none more painful than the two footed tackle this girl initiated in the middle of the field. I was tracking back on defense when a ball popped out of our 18 yard box. I was in a foot race with a girl on Penn State to get to the ball first and prevent her from serving it back into our box. Then, just as I extended my leg out to win the ball, she hit the ground and slid at me with two feet, studs up. It happened so fast, but in my head it was in slow motion. I thought, at that moment, I was going to break an ankle or some part of my leg, but luckily she only clipped the top of my foot. I still have the giant lump and bruise to show for that tackle, but it beats the heck out of a broken bone (2nd drop on the coaster).

I retalliated shortly after though, and my revenge was much sweeter than the little bruise on my foot. My teammate Amy O’Sullivan picked up a ball around midfield. She ran at the PSU defensive line, beat one girl, and slipped a perfectly weighted pass behind their back line. I ran onto the ball, took a little touch to my right, and shot the ball back across the left side of my body. The presence of a PSU defender on my left shoulder caused all my momentum to fall forward, and I slid on the ground after my shot. As I picked my head up to follow the path of the ball I noticed it dropping right in the back of the net for a goal. Scoring a goal, on your home field, for your fans and team to cheer for, against a big time opponent such as PSU, is one of the greatest feelings anyone could ever experience. And to add to my bliss, I jogged back to my half of the field, right passed the girl who studded me, and smiled. Ahhh! Sometimes it feels great to let the b*tch out and shut someone up (peak two on the coaster).

Friday ended on a good note, with a victory celebration with my team. Then Saturday started off decent enough. I woke up, packed my car to head home for Easter weekend, and ate a great breakfast with my parents. We left College Park around 1:30pm, for what was suppose to be a leisure drive home with an ETA of about 5:30pm. Of course that was not the case, with a holiday as big as Easter, and traveling on everyone’s agenda. The trip took almost 6 miserable hours! There were patches of heavy traffic in almost every state. Delaware, worst of all, decided to do major construction on their bridge that links the Northeast region of the coast to the South. It took nearly two hours to get from the Maryland border of the bridge to exit 1 on the New Jersey Turnpike. It didn’t help much either that my GPS is very simplistic, and I was trying to follow my parents, whose GPS was giving them alternate routes to avoid every bit of traffic the whole way home. I wound up doing two extremely long and detoured loop arounds to finally head in the right direction home, and eventually got completely seperated from my parents on the road (huge drop on the coaster).

When I finally arrived home, I had a nice dinner with my brothers, played with my dogs, and then went out to visit an old friend of mine. It was a relaxing night after a long days travel, and when I came home from my friends house, I passed out, for a well needed night’s rest (3rd peak on the coaster).

So now, as I’ve said my weekend was a bit of a roller coaster of up and down moments, right? Well right about now is when we slowly start to climb up for the monster drop. You know exactly what I’m talking about. The slow creep up for the biggest drop ever on the track. There’s usually a sign at the top that says something annoying and witty like, “Smile for the camera”, and makes you second guess why you even got on the ride in the first place.

Well, here’s my ultimate drop. When I woke up Sunday morning, I had a pounding headache and my throat was extremely sore. My body was aching all over, and I didn’t want to move from my bed. I called out to my mom, and told her I didn’t feel well, so she brought me a ton of medicine. I eventually fell back asleep for a few hours, and some of my pain subsided, but I still felt sick. Then, the next wave of medicine came, TheraFlu. YUCK! I drank it down, burning my tongue and throat with every gulp, and eventually fell asleep again. By the time I woke up it was a quarter to 6pm, and I had to start packing my car to return to school. I slept through all of Easter! It was so depressing. I missed my dad’s big breakfast, and my mom’s dinner (the best parts of Easter). I was miserable, too tired to drive, and upset I missed all the Easter festivities and my parents cooking. To top off this miserable Easter Sunday, I hit a ton of traffic on the drive back and it was pouring rain, so it took another 6 hours to get back! When I finally got back to school I was too tired and pissed to unpack my car so I walked directly to my dorm, and went right to bed.

After having the longest weekend ever I fell right asleep. I expected to wake up Monday morning feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work, but I felt even more miserable then the day before. Shortly after I was diagnosed with the dreaded tonsillitis. What a perfect ending to the longest 96 hours of my life!

To My Misfortune

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

So I woke up this morning, went to brush my teeth, and I found the weirdest thing in the back of my mouth. Two giant red golf balls. Only they weren’t golf balls. They were my tonsils- swollen to the size of golf balls! I hadn’t felt well all day yesterday, but I thought rest and a few meds would take care of it. Well, I was absolutely wrong! My throat was extremely sore, my back, neck, and abdominals were achy, and my head was pounding so hard I thought there was a little man floating above me hitting me with a hammer repeatedly. I immediately called my coach and said I was sick, and didn’t think I’d make it to practice today. Then I walked over to the health center. After sitting in there for almost two hours feeling nauseous, getting examined, having cotton swabs stuffed down my already swollen and sore throat, and crying from the needle that was stuck in my arm to draw blood; the nurse practitioner concluded I have tonsillitis. Tonsil-freakin-itis. Isn’t that great?! Heading into the busiest time of the school year, and I can’t even stay on top of things because I’m in too much pain and too exhausted to even move. What a great ending to the longest weekend of my life!

On the bright side of things I’m excused from fitness testing tomorrow morning, and I got to search the web all afternoon for some pretty cool soccer videos. Check this one out! It’s a pepsi commercial created during last summer’s FIFA World Cup.

Stay tuned for a prelude of my misfortune, to catch a glimpse of the roughest 96 hours I’ve ever had in my life!

Updates

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

The scoreboard page has been updated with results on the UEFA Champions League games. Check it out!

Cheeky

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last week’s class assignment for the blogosphere was to pick a word that resonates to you. The word could be anything: a favorite word, word you hate, word you love, word you use a lot, anything. So I sat and thought over the past few days, and originally I was going to do something about my height. Which is a mere 5’0″,  but I didn’t think that was original, or pertained enough to soccer (even though I could talk forever about how my height was played a factor in my game throughout my career.)

Anyway, here’s what I came up with, and it pertains directly to soccer. Cheeky. Contrary to what some of you are probably thinking right now, cheeky is not used only to describe a small pair of women’s bottoms that shows off their butt cheeks. Cheeky is an adjective used to describe a particularly clever skill or action done by a player, or even a player them self. Perfect example, Messi, is a very cheeky player on the ball. He’s ridiculously smooth and deceptive on the ball, and that enables him to dribble in and out of players with great ease.  Here are some great clips of cheeky goals and skills in the game of soccer.

This week’s Word Wednesday is a tribute to Johan Cruyff. Cruyff is a retired Dutch footballer, who currently manages the Catalonian National team. In 1999 he was named European player of the century. His signature cut back move became so popularly widespread it eventually adopted his name “cruyff”. I know I missed last week’s Word Wednesday, because I was more focused on games, so I’ve decided to give you a bonus move today, which is a step over. Both skills that are featured today are rudimentary attacking moves that most players develop within their first few years of training. I emphasize the word training, because most of us start playing soccer at a very young age; when all you are expected to do is run and kick the ball toward the net in hopes for a goal. However, when you begin to train to learn, process, and excel at the game of soccer, you begin to build an extensive weaponry of skills. (This is not to say that when you’re young you don’t develop such skills. I’m simply making a generalization.)

This video shows Johan Cruyff executing his signature cut back, that we know today as the “cruyff”.

The step over, is a move very similar to that of a scissor, and often times the two terms are inter-changable. A step over, also known as pedalada, was arguably made popular in the 1990s. Brazilian footballers known as Robinho, and Ronaldo (not to be confused with Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo), are just two famous footballers who’ve mastered this skill, and popularized it during their careers.

Here’s a little summary of today’s skills:

Cruyff

Definition- an advanced cut back done with the inside of your foot.

Uses- change directions,

Synonyms- cut back

Difficulty- 2 out of 10

Pedalada

Definition- an attacking move, in which you step over the ball one way, and carry the ball in the opposite direction

Uses- change direction, deceive a defender, create space for a shot and/or pass

* if you have an opponent on your back, as oppose to running at an opponent, you can use this move in the form of a turn*

Synonyms- step over, scissor

Difficulty- 7 out of 10

* To see this move in the form of a turn fast forward the video to 1:04*

For a list of all the skills up to date with this week, check out my soccer glossary page.

Cincinnati Bengals star wide-reciever, Chad Ochocinco, has been the talk of the soccer world for the past month. Yes, you heard right, the Soccer World! On March 16th, Ochocinco announced that he would attend a 4 day tryout with MLS team Sporting Kansas City. Although, current ongoing NFL labor disputes was a factor in Ochocinco’s big switch, it wasn’t the biggest reason Ochocinco decided to step out onto the pitch. Recent interviews with Ochocino on the matter, quote him speaking about his love and passion for the game of soccer. In his youth, Ochocino was said to be a soccer stud, before he made the permanent switch to football in high school.

So now I hope you’re wondering, what I was wondering when I first heard this news. Is the six time Pro- bowler any good at real football? Or is he going to be a mockery to the sport, like Michael Jordan was to baseball. (Sorry MJ fans, I love him too, and was pulling for him to be a superstar, but baseball just wasn’t his sport.) Well check him out for yourself, and you tell me!

On March 23rd, Ochocinco started his tryout in Kansas City. After two days of training he was invited to play in the reserve game on March 25th. At the conclusion of the tryout, Ochocino was unfortunately not signed under contract by Kansas City, but he was invited to play and train with the reserve team for the remainder of the season.

In my opinion Ochocinco, has a great head on his shoulders. He admits he cannot make up for the time he’s taken away from the sport of soccer, but he’s still willing to work hard, train hard, and live his dream. He may not ever be the soccer star that he once dreamed of becoming, but he is still living out his dream, and who am I to look down upon him for that. After all, soccer is the greatest sport in the world, and having an icon like that sharing the same passion for the sport as I do, is pretty darn cool. Not to mention, I’m sure his presence in the sport will bring an even greater attractiveness to the game here in the states!