New team. New faces. New season. Same attitude. That refuse to lose attitude and mindset is what I had coming into this year for the 2015 NWSL season with the Western New York Flash. Not as prepared as I wanted to be due to an offseason surgery on my right ankle from an injury suffered last season, I was not necessarily counted out, but I wouldn’t say that I was counted on. My team was busy in this offseason making a lot of changes. In the end only three players from last year were returning for this upcoming season. Unfortunately for me, my return to 100 percent left people with doubts, but I had a point to prove!
I came in as the fittest, fastest, and most agile player according to testing. Although that is nice, it all depends on what happens when you step on the field. I came in flying there as well. All of my pushing and hard work this offseason to get back to form and earn a starting spot for this year was paying off. I wasn’t going to let anyone count me out, no matter what people thought, I was here to play and I was here to stay. I got to have a little fun in our first two weeks playing up top on the wing and scoring some goals in our preseason games. Not only was I doing well, but so was the entire team. It was a new Flash with a new identity and everyone was optimistic due to our wins and amazing preseason that we had as a club.
The Flash weren’t really on anyone else’s radar so this was a big moment for us. Our national team players were now with us, and our young team had an entire month to get on the same page and gel. It was an opportunity for us to make a statement.
The moment we were hoping for wasn’t the moment that we got and we were shocked. We had lost to Seattle 5-1. Unable to help my team on the field in that game due to another frustrating injury in our last preseason game leading up to the season opener, I now had even more motivation to get back. I want to be there to help my team, not only off the pitch, but on it as well. It was time for me to get back out there and for us as a team to regroup and learn from this game.
We did just that and in our second match against Portland it showed. I was able to get healthy and fight my way into the starting lineup. Finally! It wasn’t just a three week process for me. It was seven month and three weeks of question marks. I refused to be sat, and counted out, and looked over. As you know from my past, I am no stranger to being an underdog and not only am I one, but so are all of us as a group. We happened to lose our second game to Portland as well, but we had grown so much from our first game that we stayed focused on the positives. It was good for us to learn from our mistakes so that when we came home, to play in front of our fans live for the first time with this new team, we could make them proud. With a bye week ahead, it gave us two weeks to prepare for our home opener. To say that I was excited to get back out there on our home field would be an understatement.
With all of our preparation, we were ready to prove that point. We were ready to get over that hump. We were ready to not be looked over and already counted out. This was also our last game with our national team players before they headed off to the World Cup so we had a little more motivation than just playing at home. We wanted to send them off with a win as well. It was our time to show the league and all of our doubters that the Flash is going to cause some problems this year and that we are not to be looked over. As for me, I will do whatever it takes to help my team get there. I will try to lead by example and while still proving everyone wrong about me as an individual, we intend to do so as a club as well. It is just the beginning of the season. It’s exciting, it’s new, it’s finally here, and we are ready to make some noise.
Editor’s note: The Flash topped the Boston Breakers in their home opener, 3-1, behind goals from Becky Edwards, Sydney Leroux and Samantha Mewis. Edmonds started and played a full 90 in the win.
Kristen Edmonds is a midfielder/defender who currently plays for the NWSL’s Western New York Flash. She previously played for Rossiyanka in the Russian League. Follow her on Twitter.