Cavalier forward Lauren Alwine will blog during her time at the U-20 National Team camp. Check back for her latest entries on her time with the national team.
We finished Friday afternoon with a normal training session and then headed back to the hotel for the night. Saturday morning we had an inter-squad scrimmage to end the training camp. Playing each other is always tough and we would much rather play other teams, but finishing the camp off with an inter-squad was nice. It ended 1-1 and play was pretty even. After that we headed back to the hotel for a quick lunch and shower before returning to the Home Depot Center to watch the LA Sol play St. Louis Athletica. It was the first WPS game that I have been to and Marta played! She’s so tiny but manages to dominate all the defenders. At one point she took on three players by herself. The LA Sol won the game 2-0 and unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the LA Galaxy game. Then we all headed to In-N-Out Burger. In my mind no trip to California is complete without In-N-Out. It is amazing! I advise getting a chocolate milk shake. We then returned to the hotel for the night to pack our bags and say our goodbyes because we all had to catch early flight in the morning. Except for me. I don’t leave until noon and get to enjoy a full day of flying and get home at 10:30. Other than the fact that we did not get to play China because they didn’t come due to the Swine Flu, this was a great camp.
Wednesday evening we had a game against the Pali Blues, which is a women’s summer team that consists of some college players and some reserves. The game was surprisingly high scoring, finishing 4-4. I had a goal in the game. Thursday morning we scrimmaged the LA Sol for about 45 minutes. Luckily Marta did not show up, but that didn’t stop them from winning the game. The play was not entirely uneven, they just made their chance count. In the afternoon we had a pool workout to help with our sore muscles and the rest of the afternoon off. Some of us went to the mall because we are beginning to get sick of the hotel. In the evening we had a team dinner at P.F. Changs, where we all probably doubled our body weight with the amount of food we ate. After dinner we went to a frozen yogurt place called Lotus at Manhattan Beach. Then we returned to the hotel completely full and passed out immediately. Today is a traditional training day along with starting individual meetings with our coaches. We had a training session this morning and hopefully the misting rain will hold off for our training session tonight.
Monday evening we scrimmaged the Ajax team. We ended up winning the game 1-0 after scoring in the second half. It was a pretty close game. Ajax is made up of the LA Sol’s reserves. On Tuesday we had the regular two training sessions. In those sessions we worked on passing patterns and crossing and finishing, since those were things that should have been better during the game. This morning (Wednesday) we had off and watched the UEFA Championship game between Manchester United and Barcelona. Our team was split in half and we each had to analyze one team’s play. Unfortunately, I had to watch Barcelona even though I was cheering for Man U. It was a tough game to watch and I am extremely upset that Man U lost 2-0. However, they are still my favorite team, and I am still in love with Cristiano Ronaldo! Tonight we have a game against the Pali Blues, which is a W-league team. Tomorrow we scrimmage the LA Sol. That game should be interesting since Marta, a Brazilian National Team member, will most likely school our entire team. We were joking about making shirts that say “I got burned by Marta” and then put tally marks on it each time it happens. That was an exaggeration, but this game will definitely be a great experience for all of us.
Sunday was our travel day, so waking up at 5:15 to catch my flight was awesome. The camp is in Carson, Calif., right outside of LA and the flight across the country is never enjoyable. Luckily we only had a light training once everyone got there at the Home Depot Center, which is the USSF training facility. It’s always great to see the other girls on the team. Playing with the national team over the last few years, a lot of us have become very close. Now playing against them in college is really fun but we are all so competitive. I am really close with two girls from FSU, and they picked me up in the van from the airport and started talking trash on the ACC Baseball Championship Game. Anyways, training was light and we had a meeting afterwards to talk about the week and how this is all part of the process for preparing for the U20 World Cup in Germany next summer. Then all of the east-coast girls got much needed rest to help with the jet lag.
This morning (Monday), we had fitness testing which consisted of 20 and 40 yard timed sprints and the always dreaded beep test. Coming into National Camp and being fit is always a must, so since spring season has ended I’ve continued to keep my fitness up. Getting the fitness testing over early in the week is definitely a good feeling, not having to worry about it. Tonight we play the LA women’s team Ajax, which should be a good game and we should all get to play a half. Later in the training camp we will play another women’s team and also play the WPS team, the LA Sol. Other than the soccer part, LA is a bit colder than I expected, but the hotel and food are great. We are staying at a DoubleTree and have already hit them up for free cookies at the front desk numerous times. But, most of all its great to play with some of my other friends again.