April 19, 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 7: Friday, April 19, 2013
I woke up today with the unsure feeling of whether to be happy or sad! Yes, it was gameday – but it was also the last day of the camp.
This isn’t your average camp. This isn’t a came where you can’t wait to be over with dreading every minute. This is national camp. This camp is one that you are always wanting more of, and one that always keeps you excited about the next training session. I really am going to miss this.
We played the U20s again and I was in the starting lineup as a tight outside back. I played all of the first half and then the first half of the second half. We won 3-0. I scored the first goal. Although it may not have been the prettiest of goals, it was a goal nonetheless. A goal is still a goal!!
After, we sadly had to sad goodbye to our locker room at the Home Depot Center. I always hate leaving. I am starting to think one of those reasons is because I have to leave LA!!!
Me and some of the girls took a quick shuttle ride to ‘In n’ Out’ burger for our last meal. It’s sad seeing everyone go their separate ways. But, hopefully I will be able to see them all again very soon at the next camp.
Over and out, Cali. It’s been real.
Day 6: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Today consisted of just one training session. It was a lot of technical work at the beginning and then it built up from the back line to the front. Then we just had some fun and played.
We also had individual meetings to really critique what we need to work on and what they liked about what we were doing so far in the camp.
The best part of today was the full U.S. Women's National Team coaches came to watch our practice, for the entire duration of training. It was no doubt extra motivation to play harder and give it that extra effort.
After that, we had the full team's goalie coach come talk to us about what the full team is looking for and what they expect out of us. The whole thing felt so unreal to me to actually be sitting in the same room as the full team coaches.
It really set in with me that right now is our time in the women's game. Everything is changing, and this is our chance to make the leap to that team if we are willing to put in the extra effort, work, and push ourselves to that level.
Coming out of that meeting, I was on one of the biggest high's that I have had from soccer in a long, long time. It gave me the motivation and push that I have been seeking.
Tomorrow is the last game and event for this camp. All the coaches including the full team coaches, including the head coach will be in attendance. It's the last chance to make myself standout!!! This is the most excited I have been for a game since the NCAA Tournament game last November in San Diego against UCLA.
Let's do this!!!
Day 5: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Today was a regeneration day after our match with the U20s yesterday. He had a really nice breakfast and then a short regeneration session in the pool after that. I was able to get caught up on all of my homework and then we had practice later in the afternoon at 3:30.
We watched some film before practice. The game really helped me to be able to see my positioning on the field and all that goes into playing a high and wide back. Being the visual person that I am, it really helped me to be able to see it in person.
Practice was all offense today. We worked on getting some combinations going forward and getting forwards to goal. We got a nice surprise for tonight's dinner ... PF CHANGS!!!!!!!!!!! I'm pretty sure I killed a whole bowl of fried green beans by myself. Typical.
After dinner, we went to Yogurt Land (Which is like Orange Leaf). I was in heaven. They had a flavor called P.O.G., which is Hawaiian. We all know how much I am obsessed with Hawaii.
To say the absolute least, it was a great day. Another great day with the girls.
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.