Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hat Trick Hero!

Hey guys.  Just noting that yesterday would have been my 2nd payday at Haka.  $2300 ($4600 total) down the drain.  Awesome.  Today we played a match against a club called Silkejbo or something like that.  They are in division 2, which is one league below ESK.  We won the game 7-0 and I scored three goals.

That's me being excited about my hat trick by the way.  It's not some random naked homeless person.  I have pants on so everyone just calm down.  It's 11:50pm and I don't wear shirts at those kinds of hours.  Back to the post.
That’s right, everyone’s favorite Swedish lower-divison player scored a hat trick!  It was a left-foot, right-foot, header hat trick as well.  I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever done that before.

Anyway, as good as the match turned out for me, it didn’t start well.  I wasn’t in the first XI and only came on when the right back got injured.  We put me in as a winger and moved one of the wingers already on the field to right back.  That was right around the 35 minute mark.  At the time the score was 0-0 and ESK hadn’t had any chances.  The first thing I did was carry the ball past the outside back and cut back a pass that was cleared for a deep throw-in.  We scored immediately from the throw-in to lead 1-0.  I scored the second goal from a header a few minutes later and we went into halftime 2-0 up.  The picture is from another game but you get the idea.

The second half was a slaughter.  I won’t go through the goals, but long story short I scored two more and assisted another in rout to the big win.  I hope that I have given the coach a lot to think about as to who will start in two weeks in the season opener.  Today was our last training match so there’s no more time other than training to prove that you’re worth a starting spot.

After the match everyone was very supportive.  All the players and coaches knew that not scoring was weighing on me a bit.  My terrible miss in Turkey had kept me up at night wondering if all the players on the team were talking amongst themselves about how much I suck when I’m not around.  It was really nice to see the reception I received when I scored my first goal.  It was a team genuinely happy for me to score.  The celebration wasn’t like it would be in a league or cup game, but definitely more than the other “celebrations” from the match.  Every player made the effort to come personally congratulate me for the goal and that was a big deal to me.  Not that I absolutely needed the pat on the back, but to show that the team was pulling for me to score.  To me, that means that they see value in me and believe that I may just be the thing they need to be the best team possible.  Back to the point though after the match Siggy (the head coach) personally congratulated me for the hat trick.  That felt good because he’s the decision maker and his opinion of my play is more important than anyone at the moment.

After the match I stayed at the stadium for about 80 minutes to wash and dry my clothes.  I hadn’t properly done my laundry since I arrived in Europe.  I had been able to throw things like underwear and socks in the wash with training gear at various clubs, but the shirts and shorts were being washed for the first time in two months.  Everything is super fresh now!  Once that was done, I made my way over to the townhouse rented by Robert, Daniel and Fabian, something that has become a bit of a daily occurrence over the past week.  To my surprise, when I opened the door the only person I saw was Siggy!  He was just lounging in their living room watching an Allsvenskan match.  This wasn’t just any match though, it was Elfsborg vs. Djugarden.  Siggy coached Djugarden in 2007 and 2008 and some of the squad are still his players, so he took a special interest in the match.  Djugarden lost, but Siggy’s mood was still good because of the resounding win earlier in the day.  In fact, Siggy was in such a good mood that he made me a deal.  He told me he would buy me dinner.  In fact his quote was (and this isn’t kid-friendly) “Every hat trick gets you a dinner.  Two goals gets you lunch, and one goal gets you fuck-all!”  Siggy gets his English curse words from England.  He played there for many years.  In fact he spent three seasons at Arsenal (yeah, that Arsenal) and they paid 400-something thousand pounds for him.  That was in the late 80’s so he must have been a big time player.

Anyway we went to a thai food place which was very good.  Then an hour later we went to another restaurant for a few drinks.  Only Fabian had a beer though so it was kind of pointless to go there.  I’ve noticed that Swedes love to linger places.  In Turkey, all the guys would stay in the cafeteria for an hour for each meal.  I typically was in there for 15 minutes.  The same was true at the restaurants tonight.  Between the thai place and the second restaurant we were out for three hours.  It was good though, I got to know Siggy a bit more and I enjoy the company of Fabian and Daniel.

I’m home now and I’ll be going to bed soon.  Today was a good day, but I need to do some work to be a starter.  There’s better places than Enkoping where I could sit on a bench.  I’m here for the opportunity, but it will only come if I’m playing so I need to get firmly in the XI.  Siggy suggested today to me that I should work a bit on my fitness and told me to go for a 10km run tomorrow.  They call that a mile, so it was funny when Siggy said, “go on a long run tomorrow, like maybe a mile.”  I had to clarify that he didn’t mean 1600m but 10,000m.  Big difference.  So tomorrow I will do that then head over to Daniel and Fabian’s place to watch AIK vs. Mjalby.  AIK is one of the favorites to win the league and play some of the best soccer in Sweden so I look forward to watching the match.  It should be fun!  Til next time guys!

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