Heather O’Reilly, a midfielder on the U.S. women’s soccer team and a two-time gold medalist, will be writing regularly for the 2012 London Olympics blog. Here, her first post.
Having more than 140 characters to communicate, I decided to begin my blog by letting readers know where our team is in our preparation for the 2012 Olympics and how we are feeling.
Is it really less than 50 days until we open against France? PUMPED.
For the World Cup last summer, our roster featured 21 players. The Olympic team can only have 18 players, and our final roster was just recently selected. Like all major tournament rosters, there was some serious competition for those 18 spots and there are some great players who will not be going with us to the Olympics. So all of us who made the team are extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity.
We had a deep pool of players trying to make the final team, and that pool contained players with very different skill sets. At the end of the day, our coaching staff makes the huge decisions, and they have picked a very talented team (plus four alternates) to compete in the London Games. Although it was an emotional and stressful time for the team collectively and the players individually, it is always an exciting time to have the team selected and now we can shift our attention solely to the tournament. The team is picked, we know our group (France, Colombia, and North Korea) and the venues have been named (we are playing our third game in Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. Sweet!). This is all becoming very real.
Right now as I write this, we are in Sweden training and preparing for two friendly matches versus Sweden and Japan. Those two teams are currently ranked fourth and third in the world, respectively, by FIFA, so needless to state these are good preparation games for us. It is so good for us to play these REAL games. As much as we have good practice sessions against each other on the training pitch (and we have some epic battles — try going against Rachel “Buehldozer” Buehler) nothing can come closer to simulating an Olympic match than playing the ideal teams in the world in an “away game” environment.
It gets us out of our comfort zone a tiny bit, and forces us to rely on one another, and on our preparation. People always ask me, “Are you nervous to play in huge games like the Olympics?” The answer is yes, but only a tiny bit. It’s a good nervous. But when you truly feel that you are prepared, that you have seen these situations before, that you have ingrained good habits on the training pitch and in friendly matches, there is nothing to be nervous about. It gives you confidence to know that you have controlled what you can control, and that is comforting!
We have been on the road, either domestically or internationally, on average two weeks out of every month for the last two years. In my opinion, this crazy and inconsistent lifestyle is the hardest thing about being a professional athlete. And even though it is difficult to live out of our matching suitcases, away from our loved ones, with a roommate (some of these European hotel rooms are ridiculously tight!), eating hotel food, it’s always worth it because as a team we know we are becoming prepared for our very cool yet arduous task ahead of going for gold.
- Fewer World Cup places for Europe and South America, says Blatter World Soccer
- Think Soccer Is Tough? Try Handstands On A Horse
- CHS, WHS boys set to open state soccer tourney play
- Ronaldinho expected to be left out of Olympics
- BGSU M.Soccer: #7/10 Akron strikes twice in first half to down Falcons
- After Facebook freeze, IPO market starts to thaw
- Nike selling its Umbro brand, known for its soccer jerseys, for $225 million to Iconix
- Soccer-golf makes waves in Latin America
- San Clemente stalls in So Cal Championship match
- Liverpool suffers stunning defeat to open English Premier League season
Submited by Alina - Comment RSS 2.0 - leave a comment - trackback