Our opponents were Amazons. None of them were short. All of them were rock solid. Their pre-game calisthenics had the precision of marching band formations. And, they chanted military theme songs.
Oppositely, all of us were short. Some of us were rock solid. None of us had organized exercise routines. And we couldn’t sing.
Our club soccer team had traveled from University of Hartford in Connecticut to Keane College in New Hampshire to play ball. It was a comfortable ride in the charter bus. We had no subs, so all of us could stretch out. As a result, we arrived relaxed and ready…until our skeleton of a team caught a glance at the Keane College women’s club.
We had no idea how amazing they were, but we figured it out fast. They had 3 times as many players and were obviously organized and skilled. As we approached the field, our heavy morale got heavier. It was very difficult going into a game believing we would get spanked. And oh what a spanking it was!
In the first quarter, our goalie got injured. So our coach decided to park her in the defensive zone where it was relatively inactive. Then he rotated the rest of us in goal. I developed a new respect for goalies. It’s a “special” kind of player who is willing to stand before a net on purpose and wait for full-force momentum bodies and objects keep coming and coming and coming. Hats off to goalies!
We lost this game 11-1, however in the newspaper the next day, the score read 2-1. That “typo” was actually how the score was reported. They had 2 ones, and we had 1. Thank goodness we remembered how to laugh because our shins, knees and egos were sorely bruised.
We were no match for the Keane women’s soccer club. They outsized us, outskilled us and overpowered us. It became important to adjust our game play and mindset immediately to keep the score from being 21-1. Here are our lessons that are as relevant to hockey as they are to soccer:
- When your opponents obviously outskill and outsize you, conserve your moves to prevent becoming winded quickly.
- Play to your strengths that are not relative to size and power, such as speed. In other words, get to the puck faster so your opponent doesn’t get you first.
- Well organized pre-game drills can affect the mindset of the opposing team. Make your pre-game drills visibly memorable to potentially run interference in your opponent’s state of mind.
- Ice. Heat. Repeat.