August is an exciting time in the football world, especially in England where I continue to be grateful to be a part of this culture! The English Premiere League is about to kick off soon after most teams just came back from international tours. It has been fun to watch some of the local teams such as Man City and Chelsea compete in the United States. Football is only continuing to grow each day, and I love seeing fans in the United States come out of the wood works for these big games!
August also brings the return to the FAWSL for the Liverpool Ladies. After a month hiatus in the league due to the Women’s European Championships, our team took to a midseason “preseason” in order to prepare for our return. The word “expectations” weighed on us heavily for the first half of the season, and the pressure only seems to continue. Expectations to be great and live up to the new direction of the club. Expectations to win the league after finishing at the bottom of the table only a year earlier. Expectations to continue winning throughout the second half of the season…Life is full of expectations and pressure, and our character has certainly begun its testing as we are now 3 games into the bottom half of the season.
In action with Liverpool Ladies (Photo courtesy of the FAWSL)
When you get knocked down, you need to get back up again; everybody knows this! (Especially Chumbawamba) We have had 3 games in the past 7 days, which has been quite a lot of stress on my body and my brain. We kicked off our return against one of the best teams in the league, and former league champions, Arsenal. We had both lost and won to them previously in the season, and there was a lot at stake for this particular game. Some times things don’t click on the pitch. This was the case for us against Arsenal this time around. We fell to them 0-3: an incredibly disappointing result for us, but in football you have to have a short memory. With a quick turnaround, the Continental Cup semi-final game against Lincoln was next for us. We were flying high after an early goal to put us up 1-0, but Lincoln was able to level the score. After 120 minutes and 5 penalty kick takers later, we continued our fall from the top and were handed our second loss of the week. Crazy to even think about it, but a road trip to Bristol only a day later was all we had to focus on now. Bristol has been battling for us for the top of the table all season, and after losing to Arsenal we couldn’t afford any more league losses. We rallied together as a team and fought our fatigue from the past 2 games, and after 90 minutes of fighting were able to finally break the pattern and record a win. A screamer of a game winner from our captain Gemma Bonner is what put us up 4-3 with less than 10 minutes of regulation; a win in dramatic fashion. We got knocked down, but we are standing at the top of the table again!
Walking onto the field (Photo courtesy of the FAWSL)
August also brings vacations! Vacations for others, means visitors for me. After a couple of childhood friends from New York passed through Liverpool on their trip through Europe, my parents followed in their footsteps to visit me for the first time. Luckily (and unluckily) for them, they were able to see me play against Liverpool in front of a large crowd, and sadly lose. But having them there supporting me either way meant a lot, and reminded me of how they were always there for me growing up. My mother even got some fans of her own, as a bunch of people were astonished by the resemblance between the two of us and I received many tweets about my “doppelganger” roaming around Liverpool.
My dad is a huge Manchester United supporter, which means that I had to take him to explore Manchester and tour Old Trafford despite me being a Red now. My dad was buzzing with excitement about the trip, and I have to say that Old Trafford was pretty unbelievable and very different from Anfield (which is also pretty awesome in a different way!)
Falling down and getting up is exhausting on many levels, but at this point of the season it is vital to press on despite how my body feels. This is the fun part of being a competitor, and I am excited to chase the league title with my teammates before I return home to the states. August has been fun, and hopefully by September we’ll be raising the League Trophy.