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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sunderland Diary Part III

August 18, 2005

So today was a long hot drawn out day. I've finally gotten into my normal sleeping habits, which are just as bad as having jet lag. I lay in bed until about 2 am watching tv until I finally go to sleep, fortunately we didn't train today until 2 pm. So this morning I watched about 2 hours of analysis for the England v Denmark game. The embarrassing score of 4-1 brought back haunting nightmares of the Rochester game and even though this was at the highest of levels I realized that on any given day a team can have a nightmare, and that this can be the cruelest of games.

It's funny but in my hotel room, out of the 11 or so channels 3 of them were showing the main friendlies this weekend between Wales/Slovenia, Italy/Ireland, and England/Denmark and once they were finished they were all replayed. The funny part is that all the news networks also replayed the highlights on a continual basis. Football is just a way of life, and when you're here, not as a tourist, it's so easy to become completely immersed in it. It's understandable how people feel so connected to all the players because they see their faces every night in their living rooms.

When driving to training, I always see at least 10 or so kids running around with Sunderland jerseys on, and everyday someone is waiting to have a jersey signed outside the front gates. Today's training was somewhat strange as many players spent most of the time standing around and watching. We started with some technical work and then went into possession. Afterward we played half field offense vs defense but emphasis on what certain players need to for the game on Saturday. I was playing right back and it was at this point in training that I felt like I played my best today.

Off of the first attack I closed down the outside winger, poked the ball away from him to the left back, and like a mad pitbull closed him down and forced the turnover. It was good, and everyone noticed, but afterward I was spent. The mad pitbull turned into whipped lapdog. The rest of the time I played ok, I made some good stops and cut out a couple of passes to break up the play, but their winger was fast as hell and quick.

During training I really questioned how this team lost to Vancouver 3-0. After training with the squad for three days, I've realized that the majority of players that played against us were reserves or u18. Don't get me wrong, they are top notch players, but it was their preseason and new playing with each other. I have no doubt in my mind that a full fit first team would have a much better result if they were to come over again. By the way, it's hotter than Africa today. You come over expecting the nasty, wet, cold weather and so far its been nothing but southern California. OK maybe not so cal, but equally as nice as Portland in the summer.

I'm going to have to start wearing sun block soon if this keeps up.

yea I'm worried about getting skin cancer in northern England...hahahaha.


posted by the timberlog at 12:15 PM

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