My First Kiwi Soccer Match

 I am a striker for Wellington United. I play for the Division 1 Women’s team called ‘The Originals’. It’s a great team of ladies, with a good attitude, lots of heart, and some true skill hidden here and there. We had our second game on Sunday (first for me since I missed last Saturday because of my Ultimate Frisbee tournament). We played a team from Tawa on a sweet pitch on a sweet day. We played on our home turf in Newtown where the regional team plays. A truly beautiful field, on a warm, sunny and not too windy day.

 

It had been a while since I last played a full field, 11-a-side game. And I felt it. I was easily one of the oldest on the pitch – for either team – but was sincerely impressed by my old legs getting past defenders. My feet remembered a few good moves, got some target crosses and balls off, and found some speed every now and then. It was a good battle.  We put the ball in the net early on but the other team evened it up off a defensive error 15 minutes later. Despite our offensive domination, the game remained a draw til the whistle blew. We put some high pressure on and our defense held off some speedy forwards, but I just could not find the back of the net. Even though I attempted two ‘first evers’ in a game: my first ever bicycle kick and my first diving header. Both felt good, but I managed to miss the net by a bit on both accounts. I got lots of high fives from my teammates and applause from the crowd though.

 

After the game we headed to the ‘Four Kings’ a grand sports pub in town for beer and free food. Turns out they are our sponsors. Pretty sweet. Especially when you consider that they replayed our game, a quality video-tape from the stands, on one of their large flat screen TVs while we drank, ate and heckled ourselves. Good times but made me cring on all my close-misses. I am looking forward to our next game and putting a few away. Go here to see more pictures from the match that my best fan (Todd) took (including one of my diving header – if you look hard enough): http://flickr.com/photos/23078002@N04/sets/72157604529411099/

 

Here’s our coach Tom’s take on the match and my player-by-player review (ignore the British spelling):

 

I thought we had an excellent game against Tawa, who were a tough team last year and one we can judge ourselves against in relation to how well we’ll do this season. It was positive to see us playing some more progressive balls and at times were linking up really well. Because of this approach, we were able to keep our shape much better, thereby increasing our coverage of the pitch which explains the significant balance of possession in our favour. This allowed us to play our game – attacking down the wings producing some excellent through balls that our attackers latched onto time and again. Tawa had a quality keeper and should thank her for the score not being more like 2 or 3-1. This isn’t exaggeration, which also adds a twinge of frustration to an otherwise excellent performance. In the next training sessions, we’ll work on shooting under pressure, as well as back line organisation. Individually each defender did a great job yesterday against some very confident, quick opposition which tested us to the limit, but the difference between committed individuals and an organised unit was demonstrated yesterday, and tells the story of the first and second halves.

 

As i said from the comfort of the Four Kings (and good on us for putting in such a showing), the game against Lower Hutt gave us a great result to build on, but yesterday’s game gave us a great performance to build on. In my opinion, the latter is much more important at this early stage.

 

Leigh – excellent performance, great runs, great balls. Know you wouldn’t have been happy with a POTD without a goal but extremely close to getting there. More composure on the ball and trusting placement over power will turn this around. You were the closest it’s possible to get to scoring a hat trick without scoring any! Mixture of bad luck, good goal keeping and tired shots at the end of long runs were causes in equal measure. 2 points

 

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