When I mean there is no Diet Coke I am not kidding. There are no Diet foods and/or sodas with saccharin like products. It is illegal to have it in the country. Come to think of it, we have known that saccharin is a cancer producing agent for some time...
Want to hear something else crazy? There are no public garbage cans. This came about in 1995 after a gas subway attack occurred in Tokyo in which a gas bomb was tossed in a trash can. What began is an antiterrorism measure has stuck around because it saves the government money. I am just now getting used to the fact we must hold onto the gum wrapper, to-go cup, receipt until I return to my hotel room. Again, I need to remind you how many hundreds of thousands of people live here and the place is spotless; airports, malls, city streets, parks.
That is also why I have bags under my eyes, gray hairs and can't sleep at night. Whether I am deemed good at my job or not is simply as the ball bounces. Fun and frightening.
Okay, the second half we came out more diligent on defense and a bit more sharp with our passes. That seemed to help but the catalyst was Penn State forward, Maya Hayes who's shooting streak was as hot as the stadium that day scoring 3 of the USA's 4 goals.
With so much down time for the players we try to make sure they don't get too stir crazy. Coaching is fun, but I have always thought it is much more fun to be a player. However, these players will do anything you ask (tee hee her) and they are competitive. So... when you ask they to try to roll an oreo from their forehead into their mouth it is game on; no questions asked. This might be one of the rare occasions it is more fun to be a coach. My favorite quote was from Sam Mewis who shouted to her teammate, "Use your instincts!" Not sure which instinct snaps into action when asked to perform this feat but many were born without it.
I must say that the players aren't the only ones that get stir crazy. It seems our trainers, Carrie and Elysia (goes by E-Money around these parts) are already showing signs of losing it. Here is what I caught at a training session. It is my hope that by the end of our journey you will know more about Japan, the U20 USA soccer team as well as our the cast of character on our road show. It might be due to the fact they test the players' urine, deal with their blisters, rub out their muscles, put suction cups on their aches and pains and listen to their stories about 18 hours a day. It's enough to make anyone nuts.
China is our next opponent. A team with size and skill that needs a victory since they lost to Germany in their opening game. If we win, we will for sure advance into the quarter final rounds regardless of our 3rd round robin game so it is important.
After our match against China, we board a charter flight with Germany and head to Miyagi for our 3rd match. We all will miss Hiroshima. The people, scenery, accommodations, food have all been excellent. What a great place to begin our journey. The place where the paper crane originated.
Happy Birthday to Jack (greatest husband a traveling soccer mom could ask for) and Dad (the guy who said "good game" when I did okay... and not a word when I sucked.) Love you both very much.
|Morgan Brian Heads toward Goal|
|Maya Hayes in Flight|
|"And if you spin like this... you get really dizzy..."|
|No Caption Necessary :)|