Story Time: Drunk Golfing is the Best Golfing

Sometimes you just need a drink at 8am.  Sometimes that drink is at a golf course club house with your work acquaintances and a hot bartender who is going to feed you vodka like water all day.  Sometimes you’re a hot mess.

I’ve learned a lot of morals in my 25 years.  Things like; don’t swim after a fin in the ocean because you think it’s a dolphin that you want to name Cornelius and become friends with.  Or don’t go out on a rooftop in NY in January when you’re drunk and its covered in ice.  Or most importantly; don’t talk to someone dressed as a nun with no legs playing electronic ‘Wheel of Fortune’ games in a New York City hotel lobby.  I suppose those are stories for other times.  In this story the moral was…..um…..well how about I just tell the story and then we can figure out the moral together.  It will be like a team building exercise.

The company I was working for had a golfing event in Rochester, NY which was about an hour or so from Syracuse where I was living.  I will use code names as to protect everyone’s identity.  I drove out with my co workers, Dom and Queen Beatrice.  Dom was the Dirty Old Man of the group, hence my name for him.  You know this guy, we all know this guy; the old guy who is the most helpful person you know, but also has the most dirty jokes.  We all love this guy.  And I don’t feel the need to explain Queen Beatrice, mainly because I’m not 100% sure where I got it from.  We were playing in foursomes and our fourth was already there.  We’ll call him Babaloo.

We were early for our 9am tee time and walked into the club.  The bartender was just walking in and Dom was the first to break the ice.  “Welp, it’s almost 9.  Get me a scotch.”  Once he had ordered I knew I had to represent for the non AARP card holding members of the group so I ordered myself a vodka tonic.  The bartender was young, hot and serving me vodka.  The only thing that can be assumed from this point on is that I was going to be in intoxicatingly intoxicated trouble.  Say that 5 times fast…while intoxicated.

We had a phenomenal time golfing.  I hit things, I drank, I tanned, I flirted with my boss; it was a superb day.  After the first 9 holes we were all getting loose.  And by loose, I mean me and Babaloo were pulling 360’s down hills in our golf cart.  Throughout the day we indulged from the lovely little man driving around the course with adult beverages and stopping back to the club house to see my shot serving boyfriend.  Then it happened.  The tipping point came.  If I drink all day at a steady pace; I’m an all star, no worries.  But all of that went out the window when I met my match: The Travel Mug.  Queen Beatrice had brought vodka and cranberry juice to make our own cocktails on the course because we’re classy bitches like that.  She had decided to call it a day, knowing she had to drive us home that night.  So she offered me what was left, saying it wasn’t much.  She handed me the travel mug.  I assumed it was the pre-mixed cocktail and figured I’d just slam what was left.  I was parched and didn’t want it to get warm, ok?  What happened next was a series of Darth Vader breaths mixed with squeaking and severe eye watering.  I had just gulped down roughly 3 shots of straight vodka.  Oops.

After Queen Beatrice picked her jaw off the fairway she told me that was straight vodka. I thanked her for warning me by tipping over and falling directly on my ass.  After the game wrapped up we headed to the club house for a complimentary buffet dinner where they had give aways and speeches…I think.  The dinner portion of the evening is a little foggy.  I do remember heading to the bar to see boy toy bartender and do shots with Dom.  As cute bartender poured more lemon drops for me and shots of Jameson for Dom, I could feel my balance, speech and chance of keeping my job after this weekend all slipping away.  But I hung in there.  I’m Princess Champion, damn it.  (By the way, I did end up keeping my job.  I think it’s my lovable charm that saved me once again.) With Dom being the oldest on the team in the state and me being the youngest; it only made sense that we were the group’s alcoholics.  Once they stopped eating “dinner” and I stopped eating ice cubes and limes at the bottom of my cocktails we had to head home.  My sexy drink retriever gave me his number and I left with Dom and Queen Beatrice.  It took me a solid 20 minutes to remember we were in Rochester and had a drive home ahead of us.  Then it also hit me that I live an hour away from bar boy.  Yelping, “What city are we in?!” was my subtle way of figuring this out.  Needless to say; bartender’s napkin phone number went out the window.  The drive home would prove to be my kryptonite.  There was far too much vodka swishing around in my tum tum with far too much nothing else.  Every time we hit a speed bump it sounded like a water jug when it bubbles after pouring yourself a cup.  I believe I made Queen Beatrice stop at one point for something…or something.  Then I also believe that I got rid of the only thing in my system; vodka.  I did this by throwing up in case you couldn’t figure that out.  It was basically like someone spitting up water after they’ve drowned.  I bet Queen Beatrice was pretty happy I opted for a liquid dinner at this point.  I’m not typically a ‘sicky’ when I drink.  So this came as a surprise to me.  So now when I drink on a golf course for 10 hours I tend to avoid long car rides immediately following.  I’m not stupid.

When we got to my apartment I had one last task I would be faced with.  I had to get my golf clubs up the stairs to my 2nd level apartment.  I convinced Queen Beatrice I’d be fine on my own.  I can be very persuasive, although also very wrong.  I got on the first step and immediately was dragged backwards by the clubs and fell, once again, directly on my ass.  Attempt two looked painfully similar.  This wasn’t going to work.  But I’m a thinker; an idea woman.  So, I took out each and every club and carried them upstairs separately and the bag also.  It took roughly 6 trips and 30 minutes but, ahoy!  I made it!  It was so exciting that I’m using the word ahoy!  It was still only about 10pm at this point and I was supposed to attend a surprise party.  I decided to take a quick power nap on the couch and then make someone come get my drunk ass and take me to the party.  This power nap of course turned in to me sleeping until around 2:30am and being woken up by my roommate when she got home from work.  I was confused, I was thirsty and I had 16 missed calls / texts, give or take, asking where I was.  I had to respond before drifting back off to dreamland and wasn’t really sure what to say.  But decided honesty was the best policy.  “Sorry I missed your party.  I was drunk golfing in Rochester for the past 10 hours and then passed out.  I understand if you want to find better friends.  Love, Amy.”

So I guess there are a few morals I could take away. I’ll tell you what my biggest moral take away was. I’ll also let you in on the real “kicker” of the night. Remember my struggle to get the golf clubs upstairs? My moral of the story is to always, always make sure you walk around the corner…………..

to the elevator.

I think I failed life.

WSN247 Blog – Sydney Leroux Chose USWNT

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

WSN247 Blog: Sydney Leroux Chose USWNT. Can We Leave The “Birther” Drama to Politics Please?

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August 25, 2012

USWNT blogger, Amy Maestri, shares her thoughts on all the drama and complaining related to Sydney Leroux being a Canadian born player on the U.S Women’s National Soccer Team.

To all of the Canadian haters of Sydney Leroux for being Canadian born, but playing for the United States:

1-  Try educating yourself on the topic before sending tweets that are saturated in stupidity.

2- While you sit at home and try to come up with your next “witty” or “clever” comment towards her; maybe consult a dictionary or an adult who can help you with big words.  Go ahead and find your nearest grown-up.

3-  While you’re looking up some of the bigger words in the dictionary, take a look at the word “jealousy”.  I believe you’re all suffering from this in epic proportions.

Ever since forward, Sydney Leroux, has committed to playing with the United States Women’s National Soccer team she has received some harsh criticism for doing so from her Canadian “fans”, being called a traitor and much worse.  Leroux was born in Canada, but moved here when she was 14.  With her father being American and her mother being Canadian she made a decision that hundreds of other athletes have had to make who have similar situations.  She decided her best option was to play the in United States.  It was her dream to play here and she decided it was best for her and for her career.  So she moved here when she was 14 and left everything she knew behind her to pursue her dreams.

Well, when I say it like that; I totally get where you’re coming from, Canadian Haters.  She sounds like a terrible human being.  How dare she aspire to be the best at what she does and do everything legally possible to reach her dreams?  It sounds like she’s like a strong, focused athlete or something terrible like that.  I don’t know how she’s not locked up in federal prison right now.

By hating someone for being born in one country and playing for another (for whatever reason) they are also saying they hate some of the current members of their own Canadian team along with dozens and dozens of other athletes around the world.  Out of their current roster four members were not born in Canada.  Three out of those four were born in the USA.  These haters seem to be pretty strong on morals and sticking with the country you were born in.  So I’ll just take that to assume that they don’t want to accept Candace Chapman (born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago), Chelsea Stewart (born in Denver, CO), Karina LeBlanc (born in Atlanta, GA), or Lauren Sesselmann (born in Stevens Point, WI) as Canadian players any longer.  We hear you loud and clear Canada; you only think it’s wrong if someone leaves Canada to go elsewhere, not vice versa.

Now I’ll help you out with a task I gave you earlier, Haters…

jeal·ous·y

[jel-uh-see]

noun, plur

Jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.

Anyone who is suffering from this feeling; just take a moment and make sure you understand what this sensation is that has taken you over.  Now, any proud fans that love our ‘Honey Badger’; just take a moment to laugh at the jealousy and be thankful for this wonderful athlete.  And Sydney Leroux, if you’re reading this; just take a moment and put on a pair of some of your swaggerific shades to stare directly at your shiny GOLD medal.

That was fun.  Welcome back, everyone.

There have been various athletes in every sport, in every country who do exactly what Leroux has done.  She took her career into her own hands and made the best decision possible for herself.  She did nothing illegal, nothing to bring shame upon her family and she didn’t hurt anyone.  (Except the haters who are currently crying salty tears directly into their heaping plate of Canadian bacon)

I can only speak for myself, although I know thousands of fans feel the same way; WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE YOU, SYDNEY!!  She is an incredible athlete who I can guarantee is going to help the USWNT to endless victories in years to come.  On top of her athletic prowess she is a class act as well.  She has literally been called “Hitler” and has received a downpour of hateful tweets that would make a lesser person break.  She remains above it all and wishes that these people who can’t just be happy for her still have the opportunity to chase their dreams like she did.

I have already supplied the meaning of jealousy to all the haters out there, so I’ll go ahead and let them look up “class” on their own.  Class, let me give you a hint: Syd has it, you don’t.  Leroux is a smart girl with a future so bright it is giving Ali Krieger’s smile a run for its money as “Brightest Thing In The Universe Including The Sun”.  I checked…that’s totally a real thing.  I think NASA proclaimed it.  Or maybe I did.

The Honey Badger will continue to do what honey badgers do; fight and be a bad ass at life.  She plays her heart out and while doing so she makes her family, her friends, her team and her fans from every corner of the world very proud.  In fact, if you are a Sydney Leroux fan I have a task for you all as well.  If you are behind her 110%, I want you to do a victory lap right now, wherever you’re reading this and do your best ‘Leroux after her first Olympic goal face and celebration’ impression.  I don’t care if you’re home, in a library, at jury duty; no excuses.  I’ll do it with you.  Let me put my laptop down…ok, ready…GO!!!

Whew!  Didn’t that feel good?!

Now just to wrap up I have one last message to the haters.  I guess it’s more of a warning though.  I definitely wouldn’t mess with Sydney.  Her dog, Boss, will TEAR. YOU.  APART.

WSN247 Blog – ‘The Word’ on Hope Solo

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

WSN247 Blog: ‘The Word’ on Hope Solo. Inappropriate is a word!

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August 17, 2012

USWNT blogger, Amy Maestri discusses espnW’s recent episode of The Word about Hope Solo’s recently released book and how it may impact her public persona.

A certain video from espnW has been brought to my attention. I was told it was going to irritate me and provoke me to write something about the video. They were wrong because “irritate” isn’t quite a strong enough adjective. They also haven’t provoked me, as much as they have forced me into writing a response. My brain is physically incapable of viewing so much nonsense and not responding to it.

It came from a show segment by espnW called, The Word. The panel consisted of three women (aka, the peanut gallery) who seemed as if they wanted to out-do the others on attempting to prove the accuracy of bad stereotypes of female reporters. The segment began with Prim Siripipat who mentioned a comment from “U.S. Women’s National Team Coach, Pia Sundhagen” (which should be ‘Sundhage’). Everyone who was able to continue viewing after hearing her use the wrong name twice within the first 30 seconds of the show; I applaud your dedication. Sundhage was mentioned due to a statement she made about wanting Solo to wait until after the Olympics to release her (Solo’s) book. The panel proceeded to comment and agree with Sundhage’s comment, for a minute or so, and almost insinuated that Solo didn’t agree with Pia’s request. Hate to break it to you ladies, but Solo just brought this up on Piers Morgan’s show Tuesday night stating it was a mutual decision between everyone involved. Stop trying to make it sound like it was a bigger deal than it actually was. Stick to facts.

It’s bad enough having to listen to male reporters make comments which reek of double standards but now we have to listen to women do the same as well. Solo is catching flack for writing truthful statements in her book about her team, her opinions and her life. The espnW panel said Solo is a “narcissist” and “not a team player”. I personally do not find her to be a narcissist, but even if I did; why is it a major topic of discussion? If we started a discussion right now about every male athlete who is a narcissist; we would not be able to finish that conversation in my lifetime, and I’m still a young pup. Instead of talking about what this book could do for her career and her sport or about how her success story may be able to help inspire others, they decided to focus on why they just don’t like her. For a while, I wasn’t sure if I was watching a news outlet delivering a commentary show or if I was at the office standing around the water cooler listening to women gossip about the pretty new receptionist they all hate but have never engaged in conversation.

Shelley Smith, who was also on the espnW panel, had quite a bit to say about the whole situation and I took special interest in one specific statement she made. “It’s about what you do and how you react after that’s important in life.” This was her comment after hearing that Solo had a tough upbringing, while saying she doesn’t feel like that should be an excuse. If I’m not mistaken, Hope Solo is the prime example of a person overcoming where they came from and taking the right path. What she did and how she reacted is how she has become the best female goalkeeper in the world and a true role model (also take note that I said ‘goalkeeper’ not ‘goalie’. We’re not talking about hockey, ladies). Solo took her struggles and heartbreaks and turned them into fuel and determination to become the best at what she loves. For Shelley Smith to sit there and berate a woman who is currently inspiring millions to be themselves and chase after their dreams is asinine. At one point she also said, “I just want her to be quiet.” That statement alone should outrage any female sports fan; whether you are a fan of Solo’s or not. How dare she attempt to silence a strong minded woman in sports who has the courage to stay true to herself and also have the ability to back up anything she says in the media, with her superb play on the field. Shelley Smith, you are the one who needs to be quiet.

Smith had nothing but negative gossip to contribute in this espnW segment. Smith: “…she (Solo) was managing to sell her book to get her name out there even though it was negative comments and things most of us thought she shouldn’t have said.” Either Smith has not read the full book and is making assumptions or she is trying to make us believe this book is nothing but negative comments. To me, Smith sounds like a woman who is commenting on a book that she only read the cliff notes on. Smith’s other gem was when she mentioned Brandi Chastain’s commentary about Solo’s team and Solo’s teammates were “none of her (Solo’s) business.” When an announcer (Chastain) makes comments to millions of viewers about her (Solo’s) team…I’d say Solo has more of a right to make a comment than Smith does as it appears her knowledge is laced with gossip column material. For these women to say that Solo was just trying to make the Olympics about herself and that she’s lucky the team was able to stay focused, are some of the most wildly insane statements I have ever heard…and I watch Jersey Shore. Not even Snooki can top the insanity and stupidity of this.

Whether you agree with what Solo said about Chastain or not; it is just another example of a female getting berated for doing something a male could have done and no one would have blinked an eye. The media storm which erupted after Solo’s Tweets would have made you think she had killed someone. Ever notice how there isn’t much media scrutiny after another NFL player gets charged with a DUI?

The espnW segment is part of the long history which proves there is a double standard when it comes to women in sports; another double standard is how outside commitments affect an athlete. Sticking with the Hope Solo theme; let’s talk about her appearance on Dancing With The Stars and writing her book in 2011. Instantly the ignorant media critics began coming out of the woodwork to talk about how these extra-curricular actives meant that she would no longer be the best goalkeeper in the world. Which makes total sense, right? You expect athletes to be able to also have a life, right? Preposterous!

Female athletes get this type of “we no longer believe in your dedication” treatment after receiving the littlest of outside success. The media doesn’t seem to assume a male will no longer be a good athlete after they host Saturday Night Live, when they are seen partying with ‘young Hollywood’, or when they get their own ridiculous reality show that makes Teen Mom look like an Emmy winner. Why is it, that a female athlete can’t enjoy her success in the media without this air of doubt? Believe it or not, females can multitask. I know; your mind was just blown. After you’ve collected yourself from this earth shattering epiphany, come on back.

When male athletes are outspoken, they are praised as bold figures and leaders. When female athletes are outspoken, they are called “polarized” and “narcissistic”. In espnW’s The Word, they used those words quite often to describe Solo. Jemele Hill, the third panelist, also decided to join the party with this winner, “I think she is immensely talented but she is increasingly a difficult person to like.” With the first part of that sentence being a compliment, I of course went into cardiac arrest. After a full recovery from my heart attack (thank you, everyone, for the “get well soon” cards and stuffed teddy bears), I became confused; swearing I was listening to those office women talk about the pretty receptionist again. I watch segments from ESPN and espnW to find out information about sports and to hear analysts’ opinions on sports. I do not to watch to see the female Perez Hilton spill gossip and tell me if she thinks an athlete is a likeable person or not.

I want to congratulate ‘ESPN for WOMEN’ for giving us this group of women who appear to only read the backs of book covers before they begin gossiping and tearing down a fellow woman; a woman who is a good role model to millions; a woman who is gaining support for women’s soccer and women’s sports in general. A woman who is breaking barriers, as a female athlete, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. But if more segments pop up like this one, I’m pretty sure there won’t be many female athletes who will want to follow in her footsteps. Not only was this segment damaging to the way in which people view female athletes, it was damaging in how people view female sports journalists. They were unprepared, ill-informed and did nothing but make assumptions and rumor-filled, catty comments.

I’m not sure how to end this blog, just as I was unsure on how to begin. I was completely blown away with the amount of double standard thinking and stupidity this espnW segment was able to pack into six minutes of time. I think I go may take an IQ test now. I want to see how much dumber I got by just watching it.

The video:

http://espn.go.com/espnw/8271984/hope-solo-memoir

WSN247 Blog – USA Women’s Soccer, I. Love. This. Team!

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

WSN247 Blog: USA Women’s Soccer, I. Love. This. Team!

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August 11, 2012

WSN247 USWNT Blogger,  Amy Maestri, is just a tad bit emotional over the USA Women’s Soccer Team’s third consecutive gold medal win.

There is no way to begin this blog other than this…

THE USA WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM IS OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALISTS!!!!!!!

And also…

CARLI LLOYD AND HOPE SOLO MAKE MY HEART EXPLODE!!!!

I think that about sums it up. But I suppose if you twist my arm you could get me to share my opinions on this beautifully executed game. And thankfully this is typed, not spoken because my voice is nowhere to be found.

First, congratulations to Japan. They had a strong game and I am happy the final was against a team that plays the beautiful game beautifully. But it was our day.

Next, apologies to my neighbors. They all must either hate me or be deathly afraid of me after hearing the screams, shrieks and unidentifiable noises coming from my apartment this week.

For those of you who insist Hope Solo is “Hollywood” and no longer focuses on her game; please watch this game and feel free to insert your foot directly into your mouth. For that matter; watch her entire career progression and then reinsert foot into mouth.  Whether she is walking red carpets and doing interviews or she is going through personal struggles, there is just no stopping this woman. The word “distraction” is used a lot while commenting on her outside commitments but I am pretty sure it doesn’t exist in her vocabulary. Nothing comes in between her and her passion. Thanks to some of the best field players on the planet, she wasn’t tested often this Olympics. But when she was, and a ball was physically possible to reach; she was all over it. Then she got to some that shouldn’t be physically possible to reach. After her fingertips just barely pushed the ball into the crossbar in the 18th minute I made a noise that could only be described as a relieved, but also ailing goose that was just hit by a truck. Little did I know, she would force me to make an even more awkward noise when she saved our lives once again with a textbook save in the 83rd minute. Her positioning, her reflexes and her disgustingly long reach saved us. As she dangled the carrot in front of the horse, baiting the Japanese striker to go far post…she had a look in her eyes that burnt a hole through my flat screen. She forced the player into only having one option and then she smothered that option like an over protective mother. Hope Solo is the best female goalkeeper in the world. If you disagree, that’s fine, we all have our opinions. But I’d recommend you see a therapist and an optometrist and also that you never speak again.

Carli Lloyd had not only the game of her life, but I think the tournament of her life. All tournament she was defending, connecting plays, attacking with ferocity and…well…BEASTING IT UP. Her goals today were nothing short of magnificently, stupendously gosh darn ridiculously amazing. On her first, I’m not even sure where she came from. Who is down to begin a campaign for Lloyd to star in a new super hero movie? Because she appeared out of thin air for that header and then also put her face directly into the path of Abby Wambach’s boot. She obviously has super powers and is also immortal. No mortal would put their face that close to an attacking Abby boot on purpose. Her second goal was one of the reasons I first fell in love with watching her play years ago. She has a quick trigger release that would make Wild Bill Hickok jealous. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfectly placed shot after a perfect run with the ball that began by midfield. As I saw her charge up field, not giving the ball up I knew Lloyd was ready to make a statement. But instead of making a statement, I think she just said one word: GOLD.

Let’s talk about Alex Morgan quickly, who had 3 goals and finished as the tournament leader with 5 assists. The assist she had on Lloyd’s first goal was a beautiful example of why I admire her play so much. She turns a play that seems like it could be dead into something brilliant. We have Lloyd, the super hero and Morgan, the surgeon bringing things back to life. She started by making a beautiful run, took one touch with her back to the goal, pounced on the touch and with her back still to the goal and the ball inches from going out of bounds spun and placed a cross directly onto Lloyd’s super hero head with taking only the slightest of glances. I won’t say another word about Alex Morgan here other than this: Every team that is not USA Women’s Soccer needs to be warned that for the next 10-15 years they are going to have TROUBLE

Now, I’d like to publicly announce here and now that I love Christie Rampone. With two goal line clearances in the final and a full tournament of leading, organizing and encouraging this team; I. Love. Her. Captain America was exactly that. Her fight, her skill, her composure and her knowledge all contributed greatly to achieving this gold medal. I hope Reece and Riley know that their mom is Super Woman.

Before I wrap this up I also want to take a second to mention Heather Mitts. This was her last competitive match and I could not be sadder that she is leaving or happier that she is going out on an amazing note. This team seems to cause confusing emotions with everything they do. Why must you always make me cry-laugh?!  Whether she is making a hard tackle, running up the flank to send in a cross, or making everyone laugh with her severely contagious smile and pranks; she will be missed by teammates and fans alike I am sure. Thank you for a long and impressive career, Heather Mitts.

Wait, I just thought about something. Heather, are you pulling the ultimate prank?? Will you be back?? I’m on to you, Mittsy. I’m on to you.

There is really nothing more I could say that hasn’t already been said. All of the fancy metaphors have been made and all of the adjectives have been pulled from the thesaurus and put to good use. There is no way to describe what a brilliant team this is. They are a family and they raised each other up to victory. They left it all on the field and now all that’s left for me is to thank them for a wildly entertaining ride and for making each and every American fan exceedingly proud. You earned your golden hardware and you earned to continue on as being the number one team in the world.

I do have a challenge for you though, which I am sure you will accomplish. You are the number one team in the world, undoubtedly, but while you have been in London, we’ve been on Mars. I wholeheartedly think you can beat the aliens, don’t you?

Next task: Become the number one team in the UNIVERSE.

Game on.

WSN247 Blog – USA vs Canada Fans Continue To Battle

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

WSN247 Blog: USA Soccer vs Canada, Fans Continue The Battle While USWNT Focuses On Japan

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August 8, 2012

WSN247 USWNT Blogger,  Amy Maestri, weighs in with her thoughts on the twitter war launched after the controversial USA Soccer vs Canada Olympic Semifinal match

I am a person of many words.  These words don’t always make sense or come out in the right order, necessarily.  But nonetheless, I am a person of many words.  The seemingly never ending war of words on Twitter about the controversial USA vs. Canada semifinal game has sparked a lot of opinions.  I have been getting asked lots of questions and have had a lot of things brought to my attention that I’d like to comment on with more than 140 characters.

Let’s start with the Canadian comments after the match.  They basically said the ref was on USA’s side and may as well have been playing for them.  My first question goes out to everyone saying they are right in making those statements, “Did you happen to watch the game?”  And my follow up, “Do you have proper 20/20 vision or had you forgotten your corrective lenses or contacts that day?”  This ref was bad.  In my opinion we can do much better for the semifinal match in the Olympics.  She missed calls, she got calls wrong and she made calls that should not have been made.  But they were not all going one way.  If they were, then the US would have had an additional two penalty kicks for take downs in the box and Melissa Tancredi would have been ejected from the match and been booked for assault.  For a portion of the game, I wasn’t sure if I was still watching soccer or the channel had changed to a gangster film about a female hit woman named “Mel the Tanc” who was hired by the Canadian government.

Both teams got physical, both teams had calls missed.  USA got away with some, Canada got away with some.  More on each side than you would like to see in a game of this magnitude, but it is what it is.  As for the delay of game call; I was a little confused on that one just as everyone was.  But it is stated in the rule book and was called properly as the rules are stated.  If we are going to start crying foul just because a call is not frequently used, but is in fact a rule; we are in trouble.  The fact that Abby Wambach was counting out loud to make a point that time was being wasted is nothing but smart play.  Last I checked, counting wasn’t illegal unless you’re playing blackjack.  That only proves that this woman plays the game on every level and has intelligence and mindfulness.  If we didn’t get the PK from that play, we should have had two clear cut other ones on Alex Morgan being taken down in the box.  I’m not going to get into each and every call because, well, I’d like to be done with this blog before the final on Thursday.  My point being, neither team had a walk in the park.  They each battled with enormous heart.  Why else do you think we went goal-for-goal for 90 minutes and then had to toss on another 30 to sort it out?  No matter who won; this game was handed to no one.

Now onto the people who think that players should be punished for their statement post game.  My question to you is, “When was the last Olympic semifinal you played in and lost?”  And my follow up, “After that game (that you never played in), how was your articulation and mind frame in such an emotional state?”  Listen, I don’t agree with the statements they made and I think it was tasteless and classless.  But I also didn’t just lose my chance at an Olympic gold medal.  Their emotions are high, they are physically and emotionally exhausted and they said exactly what was on their minds at the time.  They didn’t say they were going to go attack the US players and storm our boarder when they return home demanding we hand over all of our bacon and maple syrup.  They complained about a ref.  Calm down.  I do think they could have gone out with more class and just avoided comments of that nature, and instead focus on how well they played, but I don’t think a suspension should be in the cards for them.

If we are talking about suspension the only person we should be referring to (on either team) is the Canadian gangster herself, Mel the Tanc.  She had her first foul in the 4th second of the game (no, I did not have a typo or mean to say 4th minute) and she continued a style of play that any respectable player or viewer would be ashamed of and any playground bully would aspire to replicate.  She received a yellow card, talked back to the ref constantly, committed over 7 fouls and didn’t stop baiting the US to react; but never received the second yellow to be ejected.  Then there was the head stomp.  Tancredi stopped her natural stride forward and kicked her foot back in order to step on Carli Lloyd’s head.  When I watch the replay I become livid over this unsportsmanlike and classless act.  If I had another laundry basket to throw across the room, I would.  But I already broke mine during the game as it became my stress reliever.  So if we are going to talk suspension for anyone, it would seem that the player who stepped on someone’s head should be up for a nomination.  “Now presenting the award for best intentional head stomp in a soccer game.  The nominees are- oh, excuse me.  The nominee is…Mel the Tanc!”

I’ve always been a fan of Canada and still say Christine Sinclair is one of the best in the world.  Kaylyn Kyle is my favorite midfielder outside the US, Desiree Scott is pure class and Lauren Sesselman and Carmelina Moscato are both phenomenal defenders.   Canada played a great game and I will continue to enjoy watching them.  I can’t say I have ever enjoyed watching Tancredi play, but this incident has made it permanently impossible.

Opinions are just that; opinions.  Not everyone will share mine.  For those of you who don’t agree, well, you just wasted your time reading something that you don’t agree with and you probably don’t like me.  Fair enough.  For those of you who do agree, we could be friends.  Let’s set up a play date.

I am thrilled for the USA Soccer win. I believe they earned it in every sense of the word and I think this team did everything humanly possible within the rules to win. Canada put up one hell of a fight and should be extremely proud of their success.  I’m ready for the redemption game in the final against Japan and I’m fully ready and expecting to lose my voice and what is left of my mind after that semifinal.

WSN247 Blog – USA Soccer, Gold or Bust!

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

WSN247 Blog: USA Soccer, GOLD OR BUST!!

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August 6, 2012

The day: August 6, 2012.

The event: Olympic women’s soccer semi final USA vs Canada.

The moment: Alex Morgan scoring the winning header with 30 seconds left of stoppage time in overtime.

The reaction: The ugliest hysterical cry laughing you can imagine.  (At least from me, anyways)

 

USA Soccer 4, Canada 3

A game of this magnitude and of these epic proportions reminds us why we live for this sport.  I have quite a daunting task ahead of me now.  I know with certainty that there is nothing a writer can say after a game like this that hasn’t already been said by the players on the pitch.  But now that I have collected myself and have gone back to being able to speak intelligible words in complete sentences, I will do my best.

The US played Canada for the semifinal match of the Olympics where the winner would advance to play Japan for gold.  USA won 4-3.  No fan, no analyst, no player and no coach could have predicted how epic it turned out to be.  Let me start by saying that Christine Sinclair is one of the best players in the entire world.  That woman was a creature from another planet today.  She carried her team and she should be proud of her hat trick and her leadership. She should also be proud of her intimidation face after scoring her third goal which almost made me cower behind my ottoman.  Every time I thought we had the breakthrough goal where we would continue on and score another, she was the one scoring.  It was a ping pong game of scoring back and forth between the USA and Christine Sinclair.  She gave us more than a run for our money and if I wore hats, my hat would be off to her right now.

Now, onto the good stuff!  My girls sporting the red white and blue are beyond a team.  They are a collective unit of fight and determination.  They are a family packed full of talent and grit and a winning spirit within them that will never die.

Megan Rapinoe, Megan Rapinoe, Megan Rapinoe.  Scoring our first goal off of her own swirling corner kick and our second goal with an amazing strike to the far post that bounced in, she was in the zone.  She has been nothing short of astounding this tournament and if I wrote 5 pages about her I still wouldn’t find it to be superfluous.  Next was Abby Wambach on a penalty kick that some are calling controversial.   The replay shows the ball hitting not one, but two different Canadian hands in the penalty box.  And let’s be honest; if it wasn’t given for that it should have been given for the Wambach sandwich that Canada’s defense made on a corner kick or for one of the two times Alex Morgan was plowed down in the PK area while attacking net.  Whether people agree or not, the call was made and Abby did what Abby does. (She scores.  That’s what she does.  And that’s what she did.  Just in case anyone missed that) That’s where the score stayed until the 123rd minute.  With 30 seconds left in overtime and in stoppage time, with penalty kicks looming; Heather O’Reilly had the ball on her beloved right flank.  After a few touches and a look to the box she sent a pinpoint cross directly to the 6 yard line and directly onto the leaping head of Alex Morgan who would not be denied this goal.  Baby Horse can run and Baby Horse CAN JUMP.  With a perfectly placed header just over the keeper’s reach, she pushed the USA to the finals and pushed me to my emotional edge; where all I was able to do was let out a yelp and fall to my knees before crying like I just watched the end of Remember The Titans.

The USA soccer team is incapable of giving up and you could feel the American fighting spirit coming through stronger and stronger while you saw Canada’s legs get weaker and weaker.  Although the commentators decided to focus on talking about penalty kicks as if they were inevitable for the last 10 minutes of the game, the USA had a different ending in mind.  I remember the first time I saw Alex Morgan.  It was almost 4 years ago and I knew I was watching our next big star.  Little did I know 4 years later, she would be scoring a game winner at the Olympics and be slowly proving her case that she could very likely become the best player in the women’s game.  Her goal came from strong legs to lift her after 120 minutes, calmness to compose herself in a moment of intolerable pressure, skill to place the ball perfectly and also let’s not forget; from a gorgeous cross from Heather O’Reilly.  I wanted to see O’Reilly all day and this is one of many reasons why.  She knows how to find players and how to get them the ball.  Plain and simple.

Now I’d quickly like to address Canada’s coach John Herdman.  Remember when he mentioned all of the “illegal tactics” we use?  I wonder if he was watching within the first 5 seconds (Yes, 5 seconds) when Lauren Cheney had already been taken down by Melissa Tancredi on a tackle where Tancredi didn’t even seem to care where the ball was.  Each team had their cracks at one another and it was a highly, highly physical game.  But I found it interesting that Canada was the one crying foul before the match even began, and then in the opening minute had already decided they were going to play American football and act as linebackers.

I could probably write for 10 pages about this game.  This game had more highs and lows than a Spanish soap opera.  Every time I became elated I quickly became heartbroken.  Every time I felt like laughing I also felt like crying.  Every time I threw my laundry basket across the room, I broke it; which of course brought me more heartbreak.  The sheer determination and fierce play of the USWNT silenced me, overwhelmed me and overtook my speaking and thinking capabilities.  If I could type what I sounded like after the game I believe this is the closest interpretation: “I- Cause- If- When- She- *laughter* The- I- From- *crying* And- They … YEAAAHOOEYYYYY!!!”

Thank you, to each and every player on that field today.  Well, maybe not Tancredi.  If I had a pink pre wrap roll for every time she flattened a player and missed the ball, I could be Alex Morgan’s pre wrap supplier for the next 2 years.  Ok, ok…she did have some great set ups to Sincy that I can appreciate.  But each team fought with all they had and Canada should be proud.  The USA just had more fight in them and more goals.

To the ladies of the US team: You have left this writer wanting to write forever about one game while also leaving me with not a clue of what to say.  I am eagerly awaiting the Japan final with excitement that exceeds what a normal human should be capable of.  Go rest those legs, rest those minds and sit in absolute satisfaction that you all played your hearts out today.  Thank you for an amazing game and for leaving me rolling around on my floor laughing hysterically like a crazy person.  Only you can do this to me.  GOLD OR BUST!! GO USA!!

WSN247 Blog – The Authorities Are Looking For USWNT

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

WSN247 Blog: The “Authorities” Are Looking For USA Women’s Soccer, While The U.S. Just Looks For Gold

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August 5, 2012

USA Women’s Soccer vs Canada; Monday, Aug. 6, 2:45 PM ET

WARNING:  The self appointed Celebration Police and also self appointed, Illegal Tactic Police, are on the prowl and looking for suspects for recent infringements.  Please be on the lookout for the following persons as they are suspects in these very serious matters.  It appears they are a team of 18 women; all strong, talented and fiercely competitive.  They are led by a coach, a Swedish woman, who is described in the police report as “a superior fist pumper”.  Each department of fake law enforcement is on their tails for separate offences.  Let me explain while also giving my 2 cents on the subject.  Maybe 3 cents, because it kind of bugs me.

After the USA Women’s Soccer Team won against New Zealand in the quarter final round at the Olympics New Zealand’s coach, Tony Readings, had something to say about the Americans’ celebrations.  He stated, “I guess it’s something they work on in training.  We try to work on scoring goals and stopping Wambach and Morgan.  We haven’t got time to work on celebrations in training.”  If you missed their celebration, it was just a few cartwheels and striking a pose in tribute to Gabby Douglas and the Team USA gymnasts, the ‘Fab Five’ who are having an amazing Olympics.  Wow, you’re right Mr. Readings…it sounds like they spent hours of training time putting together this finely tuned and choreographed number which deserves an Olympic medal in itself.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought in a professional choreographer for this elaborate and arrogant routine.  OR, it was a group of proud American athletes (who took no longer than any other goal celebration takes) to celebrate their goal and also pay respect to their fellow athletes with a bunch of terrible, but fun attempts at proper cartwheels.  And I hate to break it to you, but maybe you should have spent some time on fun celebration techniques, because the whole, “stopping Wambach and Morgan” thing didn’t seem to work out so well for you.  Coach comments aside, New Zealand played a great game and made the USA work for those goals.  The Football Ferns have a lot to be proud of and they played a strong, clean 90 minutes.  Too bad the coach is still in junior high school and needs to take late unnecessary digs after the fact.  Good game, New Zealand!

If you didn’t see that cartwheel celebration I definitely recommend checking it out (it’s at the bottom of this post).  But furthermore; I am here by DEMANDING you watch Sydney Leroux’s goal celebration for the 2nd goal of that game.  Everything from her face to her body language to the truthful look of pure and honest joy in her eyes is enough to fuel you for the next month, running off of happy fumes.  Congratulations on your first of many Olympic and major tournament goals, Syd!

Next we have the Illegal Tactics police.  Canada’s head coach John Herdman is apparently trying to play some sort of mind games with the USA before their huge semi final match up tomorrow, August 6th.  He is stating that he wants to “raise awareness” of the USA’s “highly illegal” tactics.  Are you going to start a Twitter campaign for it and give it a catchy slogan too?  I got one for you: “We demand justice, eh?”  (I know you’re not Canadian, Herdman…but I can never pass on a good “eh” Canadian crack.  Sorry, Canadian readers.  I do love your syrup.)  In my opinion the Americans play a clean but highly physical game.  That is their style as it has always been.  Does anyone know if Herdman has ever watched his team play, or is he more of a “hands off” coach?  Canada is undoubtedly one of the most physical teams out there.  I won’t go as far as saying they play dirty, because they don’t for the most part.  They, just like any team (including the US), have their moments of late tackles or retaliation out of frustration that they wish they could take back, but Canada plays a very physical game and is not afraid to mix it up by any means.

Herdman called out the USA on set pieces, saying that is where they partake in their underground illegal dirty work.  I got news for you, buddy: when there are a dozen bodies in an area that small, battling for a ball; no one is going to be saying please or thank you or pardon me.  There will always be contact and there will always be physical battles in those scenarios.  The USA will battle for the ball like their life depended on it and they will fight with a fierce determination that would probably make most people want to head for the hills.  But they do not do anything illegal on a normal basis as if it is part of their game plan.  Good luck raising awareness and staging a sit in or handcuffing yourself to a tree or whatever you plan on doing, but the USA will be busy playing the beautiful game in a beautiful way and taking it to your Canadian squad.  I enjoy watching Canada play very much and I can say they have some of my favorite players outside of the USWNT.  But tomorrow is game day and I will have red, white and blue blood pulsing through my veins, waiting to see a huge win for our girls while Herdman makes protest signs to “raise awareness” using an assortment of Sharpies and glitter, I’m sure.

I wish Canada good luck tomorrow, in the sense that they have a good clean, injury free game.  But I wish the USA that and so much more.  I am ready to see the American fighting spirit at its best.  I’m ready to see Morgan and Wambach continue to prove that they are in fact, the world’s most dangerous weapon.  I’m ready to see Hope Solo smirk and walk away from a huge save with swag.  I’m ready to see USA dominate as a team and win this game as a collective unit who know what the Olympic spirit is all about and exemplify it to the utmost extent.

So if there are any other coaches out there who wish to become fake officers of fake law and join the peanut gallery; step right up.  Say what you’d like.  We’ll all be busy watching the USA play the only way they know how; beautifully.

WSN247 Blog – Three Down, Three To Go

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com.  Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information!  You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

 

Three Down, Three To Go. USWNT Eyes Quarterfinals vs New Zealand

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August 1, 2012

WSN Guest Blogger, Amy Maestri’s reactions after the USWNT vs Korea DPR women’s soccer match

Within the first three minutes of the USWNT vs North Korea match up on Wednesday I knew a win was in the cards for the red white and blue.  Not because of my confidence in our skill and determination, or our explosive weapons in battle such as Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach.  No, I knew we were going to win because I saw…**Jaws theme music**…The Heather O’Reilly Game Face.  For those of you who have not seen this face, I would recommend watching the next game and waiting for the magic to happen.  The Face came out and so did the USA, with a winning score of 1-0.

I have been waiting to see this very recognizable side of Heather O’Reilly since the games began.  With no minutes in the match against France and not her best performance against Colombia, I have been anxiously awaiting this moment.  This is the side of O’Reilly that has made her my favorite player for the past 5 years.  She was strong on tackles, speedy up the sidelines, getting back to defend, sending in crosses and putting every last ounce of her being on the field for a loose ball.  She had no goals or assists today, but definitely made her mark.

Our midfield shined in the first half.  O’Reilly with her beast-ness, Carli Lloyd with her attacking prowls, Lauren Cheney with her calmness and ability over the ball and Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez all making appearances as well showing what they can do on the pitch.  Cheney had another solid game, even with North Korean players basically hanging off of her like a group of monkeys swinging from a tree.  She had a physical battle raging against her all game and came out on top with a sparkling midfield display.

Alex Morgan had another playmaking game.  No goal but had the assist to Abby Wambach for our only goal of the match.  I can guarantee Morgan will be one hungry Baby Horse in the next match.  She’s going to come out like a starving animal attacking prey.  The opposing team’s defense better not show blood for their own sake.  Because Morgan is going to be a SHARK.  The goal from Abby was nothing short of clinical from start to finish.  Morgan’s back to goal work and decision making skills in the box while under pressure do not show us your typical 23 year old forward.  Her ability to stay calm, observe her choices quickly and make the wise play shows us what Hope Solo mentioned in the conference call last week.  Solo stated we shouldn’t go by years but by experience and how they play.  Morgan plays with knowledge and instinct that seems to far surpass her years.  Then we have Wambach’s ability to do what she was born to do; SCORE LIKE A CHAMPION.  After receiving the composed pass from Morgan in the box she slotted it home past the keeper with a textbook finish.  With Wambach nearing Mia Hamm’s record for career goals it gets more and more exciting.  You can feel that Abby won’t let any opportunities pass for her to get closer to the legend, Hamm.  She wants a gold medal for herself and for her team more than anything right now and the closer she gets to Hamm’s record; the closer she is to helping achieve that.

After all of the over-blown media ridiculousness surrounding Hope Solo’s comments about commentator, Brandi Chastain, I was hoping to see a patented Hope Solo gravity and logic defying save today to shut every one up.  But our defense did their job and protected our girl, Hope, from incoming fire.  If the media want to harp on the comments that’s fine with me.  But I, along with other fans, will continue to just enjoy our favorite team dominate and play with the USA spirit that we love.  And personally, I love that Solo speaks her mind.  She has every right to and further more; it’s funny!  It’s refreshing to see it and I love that she comes out blazing on all cylinders.  She works it on the field and doesn’t hold back off the field either.  Get it, girl!

With this win the USA wins first place in their group and move into the quarterfinals with some good notes to work on and some good confidence from where they’ve excelled.  I would say my takeaways are that Abby’s shiner has not impaired her goal scoring vision.  Christie Rampone is going to be a show stopper until she is 107 years old.  Becky Sauerbrunn and her fully loaded guns, which she kept hidden under her sleeves today, deserve more minutes.  Lloyd, Cheney and O’Reilly are all going BEAST on anyone who crosses their paths.  And Hope Solo remains the most swaggerific goalkeeper on the planet.

Let’s take it to the semi’s ladies!  Keep making us proud back home!  Go USA!

WSN247 Blog – USA Defeats Colombia 3-0

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

USA Defeats Colombia 3-0 and Could Megan Rapinoe Be ANY Cooler?

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July 28, 2012

WSN Guest Blogger, Amy Maestri’s reactions after the USA vs Colombia women’s soccer match

After watching the USWNT beat Colombia 3-0 today, my immediate reaction was to cheer wildly, clap vigorously and try to emulate an Ali Krieger million dollar smile.  I admit, I didn’t even come close to a Krieger smile, but let’s be honest; who can??

I’m sure Krieger has a big smile after watching this game as well.  Between the birthday message from Megan Rapinoe and a big USA win, it was a winning day for our beloved defender who is still out from her ACL tear in January.  And it was a winning day for the whole USA team as they charged over Colombia 3-0, with black eyes and all.

Megan Rapinoe started the scoring off with a beautiful strike, chipping the keeper like a boss.  After her rock star goal was a rock star celebration, with the birthday message to Krieger.  Normally after a goal Rapinoe is the first to leap into the scorer’s arms like a maniac.  But this time it was our girl Pinoe with a super strike.  Pinoe had an all around spectacular game creating chances everywhere.  Next was Wambach’s goal, which spelled determination; taking on a physical battle to smash one into the back of the net just a few plays after taking a right hook from a Colombian boxer…I mean…soccer player.  Sorry, Colombia, it is going to take far more to silence Abby Wambach.  Next time try bringing an entire army.  It still probably won’t work, but might do a little more than a measly smack in the face.  Canadian striker, Christine Sinclair, would probably also like it if they sent an army against Wambach, as they are still in their neck to neck competition for career goals.  Goal number 3 was all Carli Lloyd.  After a disgustingly beautiful strike for a goal in theFrancegame, Lloyd came back with another picturesque goal.  Getting a beautiful feed from Megan Rapinoe, she timed her run perfect, took a sweet little touch and then buried the ball saying, “Bye Colombia!  Thanks for stopping by!”

After the scoring spree that Alex Morgan has been on, I was almost confused when not seeing her name on the goal tally.  I thought maybe I had forgotten how to read or that the TV was malfunctioning.  But one thing that didn’t surprise me was her playmaking abilities through the game.  She may not have had her best game or scored a hat trick, or even one goal.  But she was a play maker for us showing her skill over the ball, her ability to set up others and her ever impressing speed beating others to the ball and sending crosses in.  Our other playmaking super star of the day (and every day) was Lauren Cheney, in my opinion. Colombia, while you’re at it, sending that army to try and silence Abby, you might want to have them make a stop by Lauren Cheney as well.  I saw her dribble her way out of a tight area with defenders swarming around her just as often as I saw her give a Philly stare down toColombiaafter each questionable tackle.  She may not have been as involved in the attack as Carli Lloyd was, but she showed us all why that central midfield position suits her so well.  Watching her skill and composure was enough to make me happy for the rest of the week.  (But seeing the stare down was an added bonus)  I’d say the other bonus of the game was watching Kelley O’Hara dance and frolic over Colombian players like the stupendous little soccer leprechaun that she is.  Both in this game and againstFrance, she was a stud.  A happy little leprechaun stud.

Next up is North Korea and I am confident in another victory.  There is of course work to be done, as there always is, and there were plenty of chances we probably should have finished but I am proud of our girls after two wins with some fantastic goals.  And I know they will be ready and waiting for North Korea.  So Abby, ice your gangster black eye.  Cheney, don’t ever change.  Rapinoe, you’re a boss.  Lloyd, keep the goals coming, girl.  Solo, oh, that’s right.  I forgot you were out there!  Good job touching that ball that one time!  And way to pull of that new jersey, it looked great!

Congrats, USA!

WSN247 Blog – Talking To the US Women’s National Soccer Team

This blog is one I wrote and is shown by my friends at www.wsn247.com. Be sure to check out their site for more women’s soccer and women’s sports information! You can also follow them on Twitter @WSN247 and make sure to ‘like’ their Facebook page!

A Gold Moment: Talking To the US Women’s National Soccer Team

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July 24, 2012

WSN Guest Blogger, Amy Maestri, writes about participating in a teleconference with the USWNT

The US Women’s National Soccer Team will kick off their Olympic run on Wednesday, July 25, against France.  If you could measure the weight of my excitement, you would need one of those animal scales they use at the zoo.

After the heart breaking loss in the 2011 Women’s World Cup to the team which will not be named (well I guess I have to name them just in case you have been living under a rock; we lost to Japan.  Japan is the team which I will not name.  Japan, damn it!)  we have a team filled with passion, fire and determination.  They have been conditioning, mentally preparing and practicing their pageantry wave for when they stand atop the podium.  I was recently on a media conference call with head coach, Pia Sundhage and players Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone and Hope Solo.  I was lucky enough to participate in this call thanks to WSN247.  The task, I decided, was to listen, ask questions and do my best to not embarrass myself.  I realized I would be tempted to drift into my favorite old timey newspaper reporter character which in return also made me realize the ‘not embarrassing myself’ task would not be so simple.

Sundhage was up first and in her answers made it very clear that they intend to take these matches one game at a time.  France is their first test on Wednesday and it will be a good one.  As she stated, France has a very dangerous attack.  The US defense and midfield will have a battle raging against them all game.  Sundhage also made it clear that she is excited to have an impossible number of options for a starting lineup against a technically sound France.  With their infinite options and their conductor of the back line, Christie Rampone, I am confident we will see a shining victory.

Abby Wambach, in her ever calm demeanor and laid back style approached questions with an intelligent response each time, while also tossing in a few, “What up’s” to the media.  Wambach answered some questions about the pairing of her and Alex Morgan and why they are such a fantastic team.  She explains it’s the balance they provide in an attack.  While Abby soars 1.7 miles in the air higher than any human on earth to stuff a header into the back of the net, Morgan is usually right behind her with a goal of her own from winning a ball through speed, strength and skill before calmly placing a shot into that same, tired out net.  The combining of opposite players like Morgan and Wambach has obviously been epic.  But Wambach also brought up the strategy Sundhage has brought to this team.  She talked about where the US has always been strong and where they are learning from Sundhage.  It’s two opposing styles coming together on one field, making said field a sitting duck waiting for an explosion of versatility from the USA.  They still have the typical US strength, speed and an almost sickening ambition to never, ever quit on anything.  But now they also are more possession oriented and implementing different tactics.

When getting to ask captain, Christie Rampone, a question I hesitated for a moment.  I knew I had a good question, but I also knew there was a better one I should have asked.  I asked how she is handling the changes in the back four (organizationally) and also how she sees Becky Sauerbrunn’s role changing and developing.  But I know my question should have been, “When can we expect to see another ‘Reece Race’?” Come on Amy, think!  But I went with the first question and she came back with a response reeking of an excellent captain.  She knows the back line has had many changes and they are still learning and growing.  She also said that the best way to learn is to make mistakes and move forward as a collective unit.  They have been spending a lot of time working on spacing, timing and angles and watching videos (game tapes, not old Full House episodes on original VHS; much to my dismay).  She also had immensely good things to say about Sauerbrunn who she calls a very technical, calm player with a great presence who Rampone is sure will have an amazing career.  She was also asked about Kelley O’Hara; complimenting her one on one defense and how she quickly learned to connect with the back line.  And of course the question came about her post Olympics career.  Although her decision is not yet made, and probably won’t be for a few months; I still insist she is going to be playing and still owning people well into her 90’s.  Ok, realistically maybe only 87.

Hope Solo answered questions with a genuine tone and well thought out answers backed by knowledge.  When asked what her reaction is after letting a goal in she painted a picture of a prideful goalkeeper who can always see the good in things and be proud of her team but will never be satisfied if a ball has passed her goal line.  But as she stated with a win, “…my happiness trumps everything.”  Good, because we love seeing that smile after a game.  If you’re interested in learning from and being inspired by someone who is able to cut out distractions from her life and dive into her passion head first; then learn more about Hope Solo.  Also, check out her full response to a question pertaining to that subject on the quote sheet at www.ussoccer.com (along with the rest of the call).  Then they wrapped up the call with my question because obviously they save the best for last.  Or they were hoping they would run out of time before getting back to me.  Either way…my question was about the balance on the team of newer players and veterans and how effective it is.  She mentioned Lauren Cheney who although by age is younger, has a lot of minutes under her belt and was crucial for them in last year’s WWC.  So by looking more at experience than age you see what a young player can really bring to the table.  While she also stated that any championship team needs that balance.

Now onto my in depth analysis and opinion of what the Olympics will look like for the USA.  It will look like a heavy circular object connected to a pretty ribbon and will be a distinctive color; not like a bronze or a like a silver…more like a gold.  (…to put it briefly)  The competition is stiffer than it has ever been and the gap is closing drastically in skill sets between teams in the women’s game.  Lots of teams will be fighting until the end and putting up a battle.  France will be a challenge as our first opponent with their speed, technical skill and attacking force but I am beyond confident in this USA squad.  That other team that will not be mentioned will be racing towards the finish line as well looking to come out with back to back summer gold medals.  They have been growing by the day in skill it seems, but I am sure our girls will shut down the team which will not be named and send them back to their country which will not be named without a gold medal around their anonymous necks.

The USA sound ready, they sound hungry, they sound fit, they sound excited and they sound a little bit crackly.  I guess that was probably just from the speaker phone though.  Best wishes to the team and staff! Go USA!

Side note: In case you were wondering, I did manage to stifle my old timey newspaper character.  I can’t make any promises for next time, though.  See ya in the funny papers!! – Amy