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???? : )


  1. you are AMAZING!!!
    and I will happily make you dinner!
    (pancakes, anyone? :)

  2. If I could cook... I'd cook for you. What an amazing first-hand account, thanks for investing the time in doing it. I'm pulling for you and already it's so much further than anyone I know personally has ever gone in soccer! If you here of anyone else from the Lancaster area who would be interested in a ride down Saturday, please let me know or give them my cell number.