Luda’s Letters #1

“Bouncebackability,” a term that means being able to recover after a setback, is something I hope my team, HJK Naiset, will fully embrace and exemplify this upcoming week. Starting the season like we did this Saturday was everything but ideal. No one ever wants to walk away from the first game with a loss. However, you can learn a lot about a football club, coach and individual players by seeing how they react after a disappointing performance. When things are good, it is easy. But when things are bad, people’s true character shows.  

It was amazing to me after the game to hear people’s conversations. Keep in mind I am far from fluent in Finnish, but players’ thoughts were in the right place. We weren’t pointing fingers or blaming others. We knew we had to take responsibility for our own game. But more than that, we were searching for what we can do to fix the problem. Everyone wanted to see what others thought could help our team and what we should focus on this week in practice to recover and prepare for our next game. We wasted no time in searching for solutions and even had a team meeting on the bus ride home with our coach to talk about what happened and what to do about it.

I would much rather have problems now, in the beginning of the season, so we can work out all the kinks than to face these problems further down the road. I am excited to see the changes in our team this week. I think we are still learning about each other and how to play with one another. With every new team comes “growing pains” as one of my teammates put it and I think that is something we are dealing with now. Growing together as a team is not always an easy road and sometimes it takes losing a game to find our own strengths and weaknesses. The challenge is to find the silver lining in a loss. What can we learn from it and how can we improve as individuals and most importantly, as a team?

This week we are completely focused on fixing those problems. We know we will play how we practice so the change starts as soon as today! If we give one hundred percent and compete in practice then we will give one hundred percent and compete in our games. We know we did not show what we can accomplish as a team and we are not going to let this one game define our season. Stay tuned because HJK Naiset is going to come back stronger than before!