International goalkeeping: Keeping up with Abby Smith in Japan
Blog #3--Aug. 29
Now that we're out of our group, the margin to advance is extremely small. Even though we had a tough group with challenging opponents, we're all still going strong and staying positive. We learned a lot from our group games, so we're taking those experiences and moving forward.
Traveling all over Japan to get to the different venues is an amazing experience. We get to see the different parts of the country while using all kinds of transportation. From Hiroshima to Miyagi, we flew in a charter plane but from Miyagi to Saitama, where our Friday match is, we took a bullet train. Who knew those trains could go up to 185 mph!
Following the Texas team from Japan is hard because I miss all of them so much. I believe that our season is going to go well if we keep working hard. That 3-0 win against Toledo definitely helps out. I can't wait to see what the rest of our season holds for us!
Blog #2--August 19
I can finally count the days until our first game on one hand. As I write this, that number is two! Everyone is extremely excited that the opening of the World Cup is finally here after we've trained so long and hard leading up to this tournament.
We always count down the days to each other ("only two more days ladies!"), which only adds to the hype and excitement and makes everything even more real. All this energy is put into our training, even though our coaches are starting to taper off the difficulty in our sessions as the games draw closer. Still, the intensity is high and we are putting the final details into place. We're looking forward to finally get the opportunity to show the world all the hard work we've been doing behind closed doors for so many months.
While we are training hard on the field, we're still able to go to see some of the sites as well. In the last couple days, we went to Shukkeien, a beautiful Japanese garden. This garden was so peaceful that it felt like being in a movie scene! Talk about picture perfect. We also went shopping a little bit on our day off! The stores in Japan are very similar to the stores back in the States, including the cute clothes. We all got some souvenirs for our friends and family back home.
Following my Texas teammates from Japan is hard, but exciting at the same time. Hearing about our win on Friday couldn't have made me happier! It shows that we're putting in the work to get the job done. I've Skyped Kelsey Shimmick and Lindsey Meyer since we've arrived in Japan, which makes me miss everyone on the team even more. I couldn't be happier to be part of the Longhorn Soccer team and to represent them here in Japan.
Go USA! Hook'em Horns!
Blog #1--August 15
We finally took off for Japan on Friday, Aug. 10. It was an early morning as usual as I headed to the airport in Austin. I'm excited to see the girls on the U.S. team again, but I'm also sad to leave my Texas teammates. I have all the confidence in my Longhorns to get the job done while I'm gone. That makes it even more exciting to be able to come back and join them!
As I arrived in LA to meet up with all the U.S. girls, reality sunk in that the World Cup is actually here. We've been training extremely hard for this moment in the past year. All the hard work that we've been doing is finally about to pay off! However, we still had a long day of traveling ahead of us. A 12-hour plane ride is the first obstacle, so many of us watched movies that were provided by the airline or slept. Surprisingly, watching movies and sleeping helped pass the time without being too bored. I'm pretty sure I watched three or four movies that kept me entertained for a solid amount of time.
By the time we arrived at the team hotel, it was about 11 p.m. on Aug. 11. A whole two days of traveling wiped all of us out of any kind of energy.
The following morning we had a scheduled visit to the memorial of the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This was a very touching experience. Seeing pictures of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing was heart-wrenching. It was sad to see the effect of the atomic bomb, but then again, it's amazing how the people of Hiroshima turned a sad part of history into the incredible city it is today. We all greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit the memorial site.
In terms of training, we are staying sharp in our sessions. After the long trip to Japan, we're still focusing on the necessities and getting better every day. We are training just enough to get our legs back from the jet lag and a little more in order to be prepared for our first match on Aug. 20.