Sunday, March 29, 2009

Women's Professional Soccer plays Inaugural Match today!!!!

I am so beyond excited for the return of professional women's soccer in the USA!! Today's inaugural game will feature the two biggest stars in the game today as the Washington Freedom travel to LA SOL. Marta v. Abby. Women's Pro Soccer v. the world. History in the making!!!

Of course, I keep saying, "we" are going out to play the LA SOL, but that's just cuz I know my girls : ) It's going to be so surreal watching them play, knowing that I trained right along side of them, pushing them, encouraging them, and making them better. Wow! I'll definitely be wearing my Freedom shirt today as I'm watching the game at a friend's house!!

GO FREEDOM!!!!! and GO WPS!!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Making History at Page Co High School!!!

Wow! What a rush of emotions today!

Today... March 17, 2009... history was made at Page Co High School. We played our very first soccer game!!! The girls hosted non-district foe Mt. Carmel and played sooooo well!!! There are not enough words to describe how I feel about how we played today, and what this big step means for Page Co Public Schools!

Coming in, we had lost our two scrimmages to Luray (don't worry, we'll get 'em twice this season!) and Madison. And the latter game was not so pretty, but there were bright spots. So, with a week to prepare for Mt. Carmel, we went on the defensive, learned how to keep our opponent in front of us, and how to protect the ball. Our goalkeepers also got some great training (by your's truly!) which was the first step in the right direction!

Let me just put it this way... compared to how we played last Tuesday, we were 100x better tonight! Though we didn't get to score a goal or win the game, I really hope the girls were pleased with their effort (only 12 players available today), excited about the future, and that they had fun!! I AM SOOOO PROUD OF MY GIRLS!!!

The rest of the week holds practices and hopefully catching the boys' game at Broadway tomorrow night. Then, Saturday is some needed "girl" time with some of the greatest gals (and guy) I teach with, before heading to VA Beach Saturday night in preparation for Sunday's 10am tryout with the Hampton Roads Piranhas of the W-League (semi-pro). Before you know it, Monday comes, bringing on a new week filled with endless possibilities!!!

PS. (for my girls) Dream Big. Persist. Trust. Do it Right!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Hello all!

After Saturday's scrimmage (first half--potential starters vs. non-starters/tryout participants), Head Coach Jim Gabarra met with each of us individually to let us know whether to pack up and go home, or to stay another week, or to offer a contract. I was let go...

He told me that he'd love to be able to offer me a contract, but with 2 GK's already signed (Scurry, McLeod) and with me not beating out the other GK, there was simply no way they could keep me--which for the record, I suspected on Monday already, after only 3 sessions!!

He told me that he and Nicci (GK coach) were happy with my training and impressed with my talent. Unfortunately, their W-League team is set with GK's, so he'll try to hook me up with their affiliate teams--Hampton Roads Piranhas ( and the Northern Virginia Majestics ( So I will seek those out.

He commended me on coming from obscurity to the final round of tryouts, and hoped that they could call on me this summer if (hypothetically) one or more of the GK's were injured or had to leave the team. And I said, "Heck yes, call me!!" : )

So, I'm back at Page County High School, teaching and coaching the girls soccer team! It was actually great to be back and to see my students! Our second scrimmage is tomorrow, away!

I'll be looking for a W-League team to play on this summer (semi-pro league, more competitive than the WPSL, which I played in last year), and if for some reason that doesn't pan out, then I'll be looking at playing with the Lancaster Inferno or one of the Philly/Delaware/Atlantic City teams (owned by Matt Driver, owner of the newly-forming Philly professional (WPS) team next summer).

Thanks again for everyone's support, encouragement, and prayers! They were deeply appreciated and felt throughout the past 2 weeks especially! It was a very unique and unreal experience that I'll never forget, but hope to encounter again next year!!! (Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures).

Love, Joyful

Friday, March 6, 2009

here's a press release just put out tonight from the Washington Freedom. hopefully i'll know more tomorrow about cuts or whatnot. tomorrow is our intersquad scrimmage and my mom is coming down to see me play!! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I LOVE being outside!!!

We finally got outside today!! The weather was only calling for about 50 degrees, but it ended up being 50-ish for our morning session, and near 60-ish for our afternoon session! : ) But seriously, it felt sooooo good to get outside, on the big field, in the fresh air, under the blue sky, in the warmer weather. I could enjoy being paid to play all spring/summer :) :) :)

Today was one of the girl's birthday--Sarah Huffman! One of the girls decorated our locker room with some birthday things. We got her a card and everyone signed it. Someone got her a chocolate chip cookie "cake" (to share). Our equipment manager got her a bunch of chocolate chip cookies (to share), and we had candy and brownies (to share)! Who says we can't eat junk food?! We're training! ; )

The weather is going to be so nice the rest of the week. Tomorrow, we only have one training session (10:30a-12p), and then Saturday will be our intersquad scrimmage! I'm so excited!

Again, thanks for all the little ways that you're showing me you care!! I love you all!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

snow, snow go away/come again.... in December!!!!!!

We've been practicing and training indoors because of the freak snowstorm we got Saturday night and Sunday night that dropped 5-6 inches on our fields.

I LOVE indoor soccer... but after training 4x the past two days, with GK training each session, the concrete floor is taking its toll on us. The Maryland SoccerPlex indoor arena is fitted with concrete floors, with 8 full-size basketball courts in it. For soccer, they simply roll out a VERY, VERY, VERY thin layer of turf right on top of the concrete. It's not nice and soft-ish like the turf fields with the rubber pellets (or, what I like to call, turf turds)... it's just the mat with the grass sticking out of it. And the grass is what sticks to us : )

But, like I was saying, we have GK-specific training each and every session. I LOVE IT!!!! I'm so used to 1-2 times a week of GK-specific training. Now, it's more consistent, and I absolutely LOVE it!! And, in each session, we do diving--and a lot of it. Therefore, the concrete floor is not forgiving.

Sunday was nothing. Never even thought about it. Monday, we did more diving, and the players did 1v1's (striker v defender, to GK in goal), so we did a lot of diving. Today, our GK coach, Nicci, told us we wouldn't do much diving because we were doing more 1v1's, 2v1's, and 3v2's to goal, so we'd get enough later. However, we still did a good amount, and by the time our training was over today, Kati Jo and I looked at each other and said that tomorrow, we're going out and diving in the snow before we dive on this floor anymore. It's not that we can't get to a ball in a drill... it's now to the point that we don't WANT to dive for it because we know how much it will hurt.

The girls have also been complaining about their feet hurting and their lower backs being sore from the floor as well.

So, please pray for us as we'll have to be inside for our ONE session tomorrow (Wed) and mostly likely inside for Thursday's sessions as well. We're iching to get outside, and the weather's looking promising for the end of the week as temps get up to 65-ish :)

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement! I had a rough day today, and it was so re-energizing to hear from many of you today! I love you all!!!

Love, Joyful : )

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm giving Cat Whitehill instructions!!!

I drove back to the Maryland SoccerPlex Sunday morning and arrived with about 30 mins to spare. Once I parked, I walked in and after awhile, the girls were showing up. The locker room (not the locker room they'll use during the season) was opened, and as I walked in, there were chairs around the perimeter with our names and numbers on the chair-backs. It was crazy seeing Abby Wambach #20, Cat Whitehill #4, and Briana Scurry #1... and then my name, Joy Shaiebly #31. Wow!

We had our gear sitting on our chairs--jersey top, shorts, socks, GK shirt, warm-ups, and a training top. Puma is the brand sponsoring all 7 of the WPS teams, so we had Puma everything! However, I can't say I'm sold on Puma yet... Some of our stuff was women's fit. Some was men's fit. And all of them fit a little differently because of it. (but, when we came in for Monday's training, after our gear was washed for us, everything shrunk--jerseys (some are flirting with belly shirts), shorts (yikes!), and socks (tight)). The only thing I absolutely LOVE so far is the long-sleeve training top! The warm-ups are great too, except that they're men's. Whatever. It's free : )

At each training session so far (there have been 3), we've gotten a good 45 mins with the GK coach. The drills are new and require very quick bursts of speed, then setting my feet and then saving shots. A LOT faster and better quality than I've EVER received before--I mean, it is the pros!

But the biggest difference is the faster speed of play. I mean, high school is a step up from middle school. College is a few (depending on where you go) steps up from high school. And the WPSL (Lancaster Inferno) was a few steps up from college (again, depending where you went and the quality of the players on the team). However, from WPSL to the PROS?!?!!? It feels like 100 steps up there. The quick passing, the organization, the vision of the women at this level. Having women out there who actually know what they're doing is so nice!

And now, having gone through 3 training sessions... and knowing that there are only 18 roster spots, plus 4 developmental spots... and knowing that there are some drafted girls who aren't here yet... I've been enjoying my time here, but I've also gotta think about reality. While it would be so great to play on this team this summer, I know, and can tell, that I'm not ready for this level. I need to play near this level for awhile--season, year--before I'd be able to play professionally. And one way to do that would be to play in the W-League (a step above the WPSL, which I played in last summer) or to be one of the developmental players--to learn under Briana Scurry. And to improve my technique, my quickness, my footwork, and my communication.

Don't get me wrong, I'm working hard, trying to do my best. But in reality, I'm not at that level yet. But I'll keep going and let things pan out. I have no idea if the third GK is coming or is on the team or not (Canada's WNT GK, Erin McLeod). She wasn't listed in the latest press release of the current preseason roster (), but maybe that's because she's with Canada in the Algarve Cup (where the USA is also). Who knows. I have no idea how things work at this level.

Well, it's about time to get to bed. We have two sessions tomorrow again, and fitness testing on Wed... YIKES! We're playing inside due to the unexpected freak amount of snow we got (6 inches!!). The floor is concrete, with a VERY THIN piece of turf on top (turf is rolled up when they have basketball games). So, it's starting to hurt and be painful while diving... and we did a LOT of hitting the ground today.

In all, this has been such a phenomenal experience and one I will NEVER forget. I'm going to continue to work as hard as I can, improve with each drill, give it my best, and continue to give my inadequacies and uncertainties to God to handle for me.

Oh, and I'm totally sick of eating out. I want a homecooked meal. Who's gonna come cook for me???? : )