Luda’s Letters #3

When I was looking at our game schedule a few weeks ago, I saw that this week we had a break from our Naisten Liiga games. My first thought was we would probably take it easy on our week off but HJK Naiset has used this week to gain an edge on the competition. While other teams have probably been doing their normal practice routine, we have been working and practicing hard! We have had a two-a-day, ran the Yo-Yo Fitness Test, and had a training game all in this past week. So needless to say, we have taken full advantage of our time. We have worked on individual aspects of our game and specifically focused on our ball possession as a team.

One of the highlights of the week for me was getting to play MPS again. As some of you might remember, MPS beat us a few weeks ago to knock us out of Suomen Cup. Being an athlete, there are times when you look back on a season and wish you could get some of those games back. This weekend we were able to do just that and got a second chance to play MPS. Now, we all knew going into the game that it was just a “training game.” If we won, we couldn’t somehow magically erase the previous result and get thrown back into the race for the Suomen Cup.

Despite this, our attitudes didn’t change heading into the game. We wanted to prove to everyone, and especially prove to ourselves, that we are a better team than the last MPS game showed. We were seeking revenge in the matchup on Saturday and that is just what we got! After only a few minutes, I could tell we were going to be in complete control of the game. We moved the ball around well and were able to find loads of space on the field. The final score was 5-1 to HJK Naiset and it was amazing to get that winning feeling back. Not only did we improve as a team but some individual players got to put away their first goals of the season. Overall this game was a great confidence boost and I think will help us going into this week and the rest of our season. While three of our teammates are representing Suomi in the U19 Elite Round being held here in Helsinki, we will continue to prepare for our next League game against Honka.

At the beginning of this week, we got to participate in HJK Cup which was held in Sonera Stadium. The event was a great experience and it was amazing to see all the youth players that are a part of HJK. On a side note, I think it was also my first time seeing snow in April! The little girls coming up asking all of us for our autographs was adorable and some of them even spoke English to me! I love how connected all the teams are here at HJK and I look forward to being even more involved with the youth teams in the future. I also hope to see all of them at our games this season!