April 15, 2013
UK's Arin Gilliland has been invited to the US Women's National Team U23 camp this week in Carson, Calif. Follow along with her daily blog here!
DAY 4: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The locker room was silent as everyone was focused on their own preparation. All of us were just trying to ready ourselves for the game in our own separate ways.
Warm-ups seemed like an absolute eternity. They couldn’t have taken any longer. That jittery feeling that I had before this game was the exact feeling that I thrive off of and the exact feeling that I live for.
We split the roster up into two teams. One of the teams played the first half, and the other team played the second half. That way, everyone got equal playing time.
There is absolutely nothing like walking out on that field for competition, even if its just a scrimmage against another age group. Anytime you wear the United States Soccer crest, it means something!
We ended up winning 5-0. It was clear that all of the training in the days leading up to the match paid off.
The rest of the day was all rest, and took the rest of the day to catch up on school assignments and homework. We will be back at it tomorrow!
DAY 3: Monday, April 15, 2013
Today was a very relaxing day. We were trying to rest up for the big match tomorrow, as we are going to take on the U20s.
The first session went well. I’m starting to get a feel for playing this style of play. I like the fact that we play with high outside backs and I am starting to find my rhythm and comfort zone. It is very different than the style that I am used to playing, but at this level you HAVE to learn to be versatile. That is what I love so much about this level of play and competition.
It is very exciting to know that the full National Team coaching staff is going to be at our match tomorrow watching and observing us. It makes me nervous, but the good kind of nervous. It is the kind of nervous that lights a fire underneath you and gets you going. Today, a lot of the work we did was mental preparation for the match tomorrow.
I have been getting to know my fellow teammate and Kentuckian, Libby Stout pretty well the past couple of days. I have been getting to become friends with her, and we are hitting it off really well. We are very similar in many ways, and the bond that we have created is really cool. It also helps that we are both proud Kentuckians.
ULTIMATELY, THE GAMES ARE WHAT MATTERS!!!!
So … Here goes nothing … Time to shine!!
DAY 2: Sunday, April 14, 2013
Today was a lot harder to wake up when I saw the alarm than yesterday. It was a bit of a harder day for us; not so much physically, but technically.
I have this thought in my head a lot now - Everyday, when I walk into the USA locker room, I feel so privileged to be able to dawn the Red, White and Blue kit when I am on the field. To be able to represent my country is something so many people dream of, and I am so happy and thankful to have this opportunity.
In training, they really tested us technically and that is one of the weak points in my individual game that I have been working on. I still have some catching-up to do, but I can't feel the difference yet. The second session was a bit more relaxed, as the assistant coaches led the session.
We followed up the training sessions with ice baths. Where I would normally cringe, I didn't complain at all this time. In fact, I was actually grateful for them. I GUESS I'M GETTING OLD!!
One of my favorite parts of this trip so far has been the amazing lunches and dinners at the hotel we are staying at. They have been awesome.
I am excited about tomorrow because we are going to get back to work on possession out of the back, which is right in my wheelhouse.
Tonight, I am really excited for new episodes of Game of Thrones and Vikings. I am a total fanatic for both of those shows. It is my momentary get-away. But don't fear, my mind is right back on soccer in the morning for training.
DAY 1: Saturday, April 13, 2013
4:00 a.m. couldn't have come soon enough this morning. Where I would normally hit the snooze button numerous times, I was actually up and going today! I knew at this point it was the first day of camp. The flight to California took forever, but it's always my favorite because I get to get my mind right and focused on what I am about to do. In addition, the little baby in front of me was good company.
We didn't get into our rooms right away when we got to the hotel. We had to wait about an hour before we were allowed to get into our rooms. I think it's funny and ironic that my roommate for this venture is Vanessa from Illinois, who we played this spring. So, of course, we reminisced.
It was so nice to see everyone again. We were all back where we were and they were so awesome to let me right back into their family. It felt like I never skipped a beat.
Practice today was quick. We were just out there to get our legs loose. You could tell everyone, including me, had the jitters. It felt good playing at this dynamic level. I totally forgot how competitive this level of play was and how much it makes me love the game. There is an unbelievable amount of talent and competition here.
We had the choice of going to the Chivas game, but you all know me and how much I LOVE my sleep, so I chose to rest up for tomorrow.