Joy's Journal Week 9
Week Nine -- Pushing harder
Now that the Spirit's season is complete, I've spent a lot of time watching the playoffs and preparing mentally and physically to rejoin the United States National Team which will convene this week to prepare for our 2001-2002 season. Although I feel like I'm back in shape since my pregnancy, I know that I can expect a lot of intense training. Luckily, being part of the Spirit and finishing our season strong helped me achieve an advanced level of fitness more quickly than most expected, including myself. However, I am determined to maintain this level as I meet up with my old National Team teammates.
As a defender with the Spirit, I was matched up against some of the top forwards in each WUSA market, but now, with the National Team, I will have to out run, out dribble and out play the best forwards from each country. This means that, once again, I will need to step up and challenge myself to pick up my intensity of play even more.
So, needless to say, I've been a little busy in what some people thought would be my week of rest and relaxation. In fact, I've spent this past week motivating myself to take my career to another level. Granted, I've played with the National Team before, but it is still a new experience each time. There are always new players, new plays, new strategies and new challenges.
I am really looking forward to teaming up with my Spirit teammates again. Julie (Foudy), Shannon (MacMillan) and Jamie (Pagliarulo) have tremendous talent and it's always a pleasure to have them on your team. Unfortunately, competing countries, such as China, need their top players as well, which leaves us playing against Fan Yunjie and Wen Lirong, two very strong and admired players.
Knowing that some of my former teammates will now be my opponents poses a challenge very familiar to me. When the US National Team faces the China National Team on Saturday, Sept. 15 it will be great to see Fan and Wen, but I will have to save those emotions for post game and focus on beating them on the field. I like to think that it will be similar to playing against Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm in the WUSA season.
Competing against the top players in the world and representing our country is a great honor for me. This time around, I've remained focused on my personal strengths and challenges. I know I have a lot of experience to offer the team, but I also know that there are some younger women out there who may have an advantage in terms of age. I still feel I am in great shape, but I obviously had more stamina and endurance 10 years ago. Nonetheless, I think the combination of seasoned veterans and newcomers will make us a successful national team.
See Joy's workout for this week here.