It has been a crazy two weeks filled with emotion, hard work, and travel for me and the other members of FC Wichita. We have climbed to number five in the entire NPSL, and with two games left could possibly clinch home field advantage for the playoffs.
I have still not found the pitch in a league game (and doubt I will, given the team’s success), but I did manage to make it on during a friendly against FC Minneapolis (an unaffiliated non-league pro team, something that I didn’t even know existed). We as a team did not have much of a problem with FC Minneapolis, beating them six to zero despite the summer heat.
Personally, I felt different than I ever had in a semi-professional game. Prior to this year, whenever I entered the field I was always nervous and had a sense in the back of my mind that I may not even belong on the field. Some of it was coming from bad coaching in the past (even though most of my coaches have been top class), and some of it was coming from my own self-doubt. This time, however, I went on the field and was not distracted by the drums, chants, and people who had paid to watch us play. Instead, I went out on the field and felt focused, unafraid, and ready to give my best.
“I felt different than I ever had in a semi-professional game.”
Without nerves, the game opened up and started to become fun again. Instead of trying to impress everyone, I began to only focus on helping my team to a victory, no matter what. I found a couple of good penetrating balls in behind the defense and probably should have had an assist on the day. I also made some good tackles and, all in all, it wasn’t the worst game I have ever played.
FC Minneapolis only had two substitutes, and the whole team was cramping by the final whistle. Although they technically are a professional team, I think they could use a lot more time to grow as a club and find their identity.
After the game, we went to a local bar here in Wichita called Jersey’s (a sponsor of the team) for post-game dinner and a usual meet-and-greet with the fans. It was good to finally be on the field and get some touches in front of a real crowd in a real game. It was the first full sided outdoor match I had played in over a year due to my ankle injuries, so it acted as a personal milestone for me. Any players that have sustained an injury or multiple injuries in a short amount of time know that recovery is a long and emotional process, and I am proud of the work I put in to get back.
The day after playing FC Minneapolis, I hopped in my car and traveled to St. Louis for the Major Arena Soccer League’s combine and International Challenge. It was an exciting trip filled with fun, soccer, and personal growth. I plan on giving you the details in my next journal! Until next time, thank you for reading.
For more information on FC Wichita, visit www.fcwichita.com.
For more information on FC Minneapolis, visit www.fcminneapolis.com.
Keep up to date with FC Wichita on Twitter @FCWichita.