Extra minutes with Erica: June 10
June 10, 2009
I hope everyone's summer is going well and you're getting to enjoy being out of school! As for me, I am living in New York this summer playing for a W-League team. We are the Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues and we are associated with professional team Sky Blue from New Jersey. So far we have trained just about every single day since I've been out here (even at 5:00 a.m. in the rain) and we've played 4 games (all of which we've won)!! It has been an exciting start because this is the first year Quickstrike has had a team and we have already beaten Washington Freedom, the defending champions, and Boston Renegades, another very competitive team in the league. In fact, in the morning we are actually leaving on a bus trip to Washington to play Freedom at their home for our second match against each other. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll get to see Kate while I'm out there since she lives nearby and I won't get to see any other Texas teammates this summer!
Like I said earlier, we are affiliated with Sky Blue, and that is really exciting for us as W-league players because we get to travel to New Jersey and train with the professional team and staff when we're both in town. That is always a great learning environment because the professional level is where we all aspire to be in the future, so it gives us a little taste into what it takes to make it to the next level. Not many W-league teams have a relationship with a professional team like Sky Blue and Quickstrike so we are fortunate to have this opportunity throughout the summer months. It has helped us get out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves to play in a high-pressure situation in training.
Off the field, living in New York has been awesome! I have gotten to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins since they're from the East Coast, and some of them have gotten to see me play soccer for the first time! This has helped me adjust to being so far away because I've always lived in Texas and am pretty much a homebody. Also, since this is our first season as a team, we have been working hard in the community to gain a large fan base and they have been responding in big ways. We have a bunch of sponsors that have been amazing to us and we've also had large crowds at all of our games so far. The Hudson Valley has really welcomed us into their community and has allowed us to take part in field day for a local middle school, put on clinics for high school and let us work with recreational teams to get to know the youth players in the area. Not only has the community made this experience fun, but an important part of our team's success and mentality is being a family. In just the few weeks we've known each other we've all grown really close and have made friends that we will keep in touch with forever. We are living in dorms and we play and coach soccer all day so we are constantly in each other's company and it has been amazing getting to know everyone so quickly.
Even though my New York family is incredible, it doesn't take away how much I appreciate my Longhorn teammates, fans, and my hot Texas weather. Before I know it, in just eight short weeks, preseason will begin, but until then, we'll be keeping in touch!