March 6, 2013
First practice
Ashley Meier U-20 Blog

The next morning we woke up and went down to breakfast. As we were all at our round tables eating and socializing, Elysia came around with a sheet of paper and asked each one of us how we were feeling and how we slept that night. Many girls had issues falling asleep or sleeping in general and some others weren’t feeling their normal selves. She reported her sheet to our head coach who then takes it into consideration for training and our plan for the day.

After that, we had training at 11 a.m., where we started with technical work around cones, then divided into two groups: defenders and midfielders/forwards. Defenders worked on shape and their movement, while mids and forwards worked on pressure, cover and balance in a triangle shape in the middle. After this drill we went to a full 10v10 game. Since we only traveled with 18 girls, two of the staff had to step in and play with us, which was fun. At that exact moment (meaning this could change) they split us into who they believed were going to be the starters on Thursday against Norway. The goals were both moved up to the top of the 18-yard box and the field was nice and compacted. The starting team had a two touch limit placed on them, while the other eight players plus the two staff had unlimited touch. To end practice we got with a partner and competed against everyone else to see who could get the juggling pattern done the fastest. This was very fun and a great way to end things.

We then loaded our gear onto the bus and walked to the last U-23 game against England. It was a very good game with a score of 1-1, but we left at the half due to the cold wet weather. After that we had lunch and then had some free time. A handful of girls went to the business center in the lobby of the hotel to get the best WIFI and do homework. After that we went to go get our gear and were shocked when we heard the words “you don’t need your gear you aren’t training outside due to the weather conditions.”

We went down to the meal room for a 5:30 p.m. meeting and found out that we were doing team building instead. To our surprise it was a fun obstacle course within that room. First, we were split into three teams – six players per team. Each team was competing against each other for the best time to take first place. The first obstacle was starting at one side of the room, running across the room, and having to go through chairs that were staggered like cones. After that you came out to table that had 15 cups in one stack. After stacking them up to a pyramid and bringing them down without dropping any (cup stacking) you moved on to matching/memory. You had to find pair of matching quotes till all the pairs were matched. After that, you ran to a line on the ground where one of your teammates was standing 8 feet away from you. You had to chip a water bottle into your teammate’s hands and that allowed your next teammate to begin their turn. Each player went one time while the clock continuously ran, and the team with the lowest time won. There was a lot of cheering, screaming, sweating, and giggling going on.

At 8:30 p.m. we had stretch and a mediation session with our trainer and doctor. They had us do yoga like stretching that allowed us to get the blood flow going. After stretching they instructed us all lie on the ground with our legs up on a chair, close our eyes and breathe slow and deep. After some visualization we were all free for the night – unless you had trouble falling asleep the night before. If so she wanted you to go into the training room for some extra treatment to try and induce your sleep.

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