|DWNT Starting XI vs. Russia|
I don't a think 4-1 result versus Russia was a result anyone expected; especially after being down 1-0 early in the game. Not because the team isn't capable, but the history behind these two teams is thick and heated. Pre - Game rituals all went smoothly, but as many of you know... when there is a night game, time has a bad habit of ticking slower than necessary.
|Syd Andrews wins a head ball|
My history with this team is short, but I've heard the stories of the infamous matches and was just as curious as to how the 2 teams would match up. One of the most challenging aspects for me has been instilling in the players to embrace change as well as imperfection. The history of success; and lots of it- rides on the shoulders of everyone, gently whispering in their ear that they have not lost a match. While it's truly incredible, it screams between their ears, regardless of their lack of hearing. What they don't remember is that with all of the success... there were many missed passes, mistakes, lack of awareness and it still was all okay. Soccer is imperfect.
|Wheeler joins King and Cressy in celebration|
We bravely gave up an own goal. Part of me said, "Well, shitsticks" but a bigger part of me was hopeful that this was the emotional shake they needed. Not slightly imperfect that it's hidden so the team can pretend we are going to be okay. So imperfect that we find ourselves down 1-0. Immediately, if not sooner, the thoughts and pressure that history has laid upon this team evaporated. Now there was room for thinking in the present. We are down a goal. We need to play. Within 10 minutes, the DWNT scored 2 goals. Ahhhhh, the beautiful game.
Russia was no slouch of a team with some fast physical players up top, the the DWNT began to show signs of what they have come here to do. Two more goals were scored before the final whistle blew USA 4: Russia 1; Emily Cressy with a hat trick. I am not a part of this team's historical past, but it wasn't hard to see this victory went deeper than the last 90 minutes. I have learned that body language speak much louder than words. And this was a day I understood everyone.
The men's team played a match versus Russia the following day. I thought it was their best game with an equal amount of chances and 50/50 possession against a fantastic Russian team. The Bad News: They lost 2-0. The great news is they advance to the quarter finals with a match against Germany. The fun of Group Play.
|Men's Staff: Ken Knoll Billy Phillips have had our backs since Day 1|
After watching the men's game we attempted to get to Paestum to see the archeological ruins. We've driven by on our way to the matches a few times and asked the parents to fill the void of no transportation. Everyone excited about an actual team outing! Except... 1/2 the caravan crossed town before a marathon ensued and the other half was blocked off by barricades, police and spectators. So a mere 3 hours later, the team merged back into a group of one. So much for that team bonding.
I'm sure there were some parents that had much trepidation passing their kids off to Joy and I as we marched off to Italy. Our gift of "Life Skills" we've been forced to instill upon the players (130 Euros for team laundry) will be a small token of our appreciation for their trust in us. Now that they are well versed in doing their laundry in the sink... maybe we can teach them how to drive a stick shift! Lack of funding has it's drawbacks, but I do miss the "old school" way for moments like this. Everyone needs to put a little more "Old School" back in their life.
|Laundry Day for Maddie Taylor and Kate Ward|
Our team, with 6 points and 7 goals, sits atop the bracket for now. Great Britain is below us with 4 points and 6 goals. Normally, our 2 W's would find us out of the bracket with a chance to rest some players, add a new wrinkle, and have time to reset. The round robin format ensures that we cannot take cleat off the pedal and forge ahead.
We've shown improvement from Game 1 to Game 2 and are expecting to play more effectively today.
I think my sign language is improving and get brave and go for it. My confidence rises as I learn new words and then catch a glimpse of Amanda the interpreter in a mirror in the hotel lobby frantically cleaning up whatever I am saying into the real version. Basically, when they look at me, their facial expressions resemble total state of confusion. Respectfully, that slowly and subtly pan over to her. Facial expressions turn from squinting, scrunched up, brows furrowed to relaxed and serene; similar to the scary movie music when someone is about to get stabbed and then realize it's just the neighbor dropping off a bundt cake. Baby steps. Baby steps. I am no longer eaves dropping, but "eye dropping" as I pick up a few more words every day. (Thanks Dr. Becky Clark for that term)
|In the women's game.. this might be a universal sign for : GAME DAY|
|Becca Toler is loving the Deaf World Championship|