Friday, February 3, 2012

First Training and the Valkeakoski Social Scene

February 3:

Today I had my first training with Haka.  The session went well, and it was nice to see some familiar faces.  I should mention that the reason I was able to get a contract here was that I trialed with the club last October.  Technically, I’m still a trialist since there is a termination clause in my contract between now and February 11th, the day after the team’s second League Cup match.  The League Cup sounds prestigous, but here it's really just a glorified preseason tournament.  There is a trophy though, so it’s important.  That said, teams are allowed to play trialists and the winner of the Cup does not get a berth into any European competitions.

I’ll try to stay away from going too deep in detail into trainings since that’s not really what this blog is going to be about.  However, I will say that the training started with some passing drills, then went immediately into 7v7+1 neutral player matches.  We played 4 games of 5 minutes each, and then since we were tied we played a sudden death game that my team won after 30 seconds.  I scored a goal and did well, especially considering that I felt like it was the middle of the night. 
The jet lag is still a big problem, as is the cold weather, but I was able to get out to the grocery store.  In a small town like Valkeakoski, the grocery store is like the mall.  People go in there and just walk around.  There will be 100 people in there, but absolutely no one at the registers.  I honestly think people go just to be seen.  I, on the other hand, was on a mission.  Unfortunately, knowing what you want in a finnish grocery store is almost useless if you don’t understand finnish.  Most of the products have no pictures on the jars/boxes, so instead of getting some mystery foods, I just bought a bunch of cookies and potato chips.  Laugh if you want, but I’ve got to know what I’m getting if I’m going to spend my money.

Tomorrow we have one training in the morning, then I plan to explore the town a little bit.  Til then I’ll pray for the temperature to rise!

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