How to train with WPS ... and fail
SOMERSET, N.J. -- And so it began.
When WPS officials first spoke to me in the summer about potentially training with a league team, the options were plentiful -- Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and Sky Blue FC were mentioned as candidates. All had their pros and cons and I had my pick of the litter, but in the end, there could only be one outcome:
Admittedly, one lure was Sky Blue FC's cache as the reigning WPS champion; the other was simply the desire to find out why a franchise named Sky Blue FC had a team logo that actually didn't contain the sky blue color. Or why the team typically wore orange. But I digress.
With my partner-in-crime, SI.com college basketball writer
"It is the premier league for women's soccer," said Sky Blue FC midfielder
"We're very competitive, very motivated. [We feel we're] some of the best athletes out there, male or female."
After meeting the team pregame, we could see the majority of the Sky Blue squad was clearly looking forward to trying its luck against Glockner in goal. In fact, coming off a five-game stretch in which the team had scored only three goals, one couldn't help but feel that we had been offered up as morale-boosting practice fodder, or, as one Sky Blue staffer kindly noted, "slumpbusters."
My game plan (playing at left midfield) in the 7 v 7 scrimmage had been to conserve what little stamina I had solely for offense. However, after two early raids forward by the opposition down the right side where I was ...
But then something odd happened. Something quite out of character with my game. With O'Reilly on the ball and steaming forward in midfield, I reached out my foot and apparently tackled her -- call it
"You totally tripped her," was Glockner's assessment.
"I say play on, play on," Sky Blue FC coach
Oh, and I never did find out why the Sky Blue FC logo doesn't contain Sky Blue.
"He impressed, I'll be honest. He showed well, [especially] for a couple that I thought were definite side-netting and he got some finger tips on them. He needs to work on his general conditioning and agility, though [laughs]."
"He's actually got ups for a 37-year-old man who hasn't played in a while. He's still got a little bit of athleticism. ... He does [go] backward a lot, he did dive for a few balls he didn't need to dive for, he's a little flashy sometimes and he got beat a couple of times. But, to be fair, these are the best women's players in the world. " --
"I think as soon as he understood the directions of the game, he did OK. [He was] a little slow initially on the instruction side of things. You can definitely see some glimpses of skill and cutting-back from him. ... Being in better shape would definitely help his one-on-one moves [laughs]." --