Tonight I got a taste of the skill, stamina, and soccer IQ required to play in the OPSL (Oregon Premier Soccer League). My roommate and I were invited to play with members of FC Swoosh in a training game against a talented U-18 club team from Oswego Southside Soccer Academy. These boys were young, but they won the state championship last year and technically are very good. I had a decent game and I didn't make many mistakes. My tackling was on point and I had some good moments moving the ball around the field. However, there are a few areas that I need to work on in the coming weeks if I want to see playing time in this league.
- First Touch: I often make the mistake of keeping my eye on the ball as it's played to my feet without having a look over my shoulder. As soon as the ball is played I should be having a look at my surroundings and playing my first touch into space. The pace of the game is so much quicker in this league and you can't afford to take 3 or 4 touches before passing the ball. In this training game I played my first touch into trouble sometimes, and if I was playing stronger/quicker opponents I could have cost my team.
- Defensive Shape: I need to be available at a better position when we swing the ball across the back. I often found myself pushed to high and my fellow CB was left to send the ball himself. I need to be confident playing the ball up from the back and be ready to switch the field when necessary.
- Quickness: Not much needs to be said here. I'm not the fastest player out there, but I work hard and run for every ball. I need to be ready for a foot race when a ball is played over the top and it's up to me to get in front of my man and shield the ball to safety.
- Fitness: Playing 90 minutes at a brisk pace is no easy task. Equally difficult is coming into a game knowing your only going to get maybe 20-30 minutes and leaving everything you have on the pitch. This would likely be my role if I ever get to play in this league, and I will have to make an impact in some way.