Friday, March 30, 2012

What the H is TMS?

Hey guys I’m back.  I wish I could say I was calm, cool and relaxed but to be honest I’m in full-fledged panic mode.  As you know, I signed a contract with Enkoping SK earlier this week.  However, the deal cannot be finalized until various forms are filed with the appropriate entities.  As far as I know, all of these forms need to be submitted by the transfer deadline, which is today (the window is open until the end of the last business day in March).  All the forms have been done, but apparently I need my old club, the Harrisburg City Islanders, to confirm something called TMS (transfer matching system).  I’m not sure of the importance of TMS, but it has been explained to me as a way for FIFA to officially track all player movement worldwide.  It seems pretty straightforward, but the Islanders have said that they are having problems with the system and won’t be able to complete their end of it until next week.  Of course, next week might as well be two months from now because if the TMS confirmation isn’t completed by the end of business today I will be ineligible until the summer.  Since my contract is only for four months, being forced to sit out the first two might be a dealbreaker.  That would also mean that I’m SOL for finding any team since no transfer window will be open.  My only hope would be to train with some club and finance my way from now until June 1 (and I'm not sure but I think the summer window might not open until even later in Sweden).  Also ESK could honor the contract and just wait until June before playing me, though that seems unlikely to me.  I don’t even think I’d be eligible to sign up with an American club, but I’m not sure of the rules.
Other than this little TMS crisis there’s not much to report.  The team here trains at 5:30pm, as most of the players are still in school.  I didn’t mention before but the team here is very, very young.  At 24, I’m the 4th oldest player in the squad.  We have a couple 17-year-olds, and probably a half dozen 18- and 19-year-olds.  The team here really reminds me a lot of the teams I played with at the University of South Florida (USF for all the non-cool kids who don’t know the lingo).  We’re young, technically very good, but naïve.  One of the guys (Dillon, a 19-year-old starting center back) has grown fond of something I supposedly say a lot in training.  I quote, “This isn’t (radio edit) Barcelona.  Cut that Barcelona (radio edit) out.”  I didn’t think I said it more than once, but if I said it more it’s because there’s truth to it.  As good as the players are here, they maybe don’t have the maturity to know that it can’t be pretty all the time.  If you have Xavi, Fabregas and Iniesta as your central midfield, then okay you can be pretty all the time.  But if you’re in the Swedish 3rd division, there are times when you must just hoof it up the field and go from there.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to pass as much as the next guy, but nothing annoys me more than a scoring chance for the opposition that could have been avoided by just clearing the ball from danger.  Especially when the danger comes from a team pressing and leaving me 1v1 with an outside back or winger.  In that situation, the best and easiest play is to put the ball into space and let me go get it.  I’m guessing that a lot of these guys are not too far removed from youth teams where they could get away with anything.  Also, the jump from division two to division one is a pretty big one so maybe the level of competition will dictate that they play simpler this year.

I’m off now to the grocery store, but since my first payday isn’t until April 30, I’m kind of living in poverty.  I’ve been lucky enough to mooch dinner off of my teammates the last couple nights but at some point I need to cook for myself.  I’ve been living this past week off of corn flakes, milk, bananas and bread with jam.  I bought chicken, but at 30SEK a pop I can’t afford it every night sadly.  I hope to one day soon look fondly back at a time when $4 chicken felt like a luxury.  I guess it’s kind of like college off the field as well as on the field.  Oh well, maybe one of you have a recipe for cooking and eating newspaper?  If so that recipe would be worth its weight in gold!  I’ll be back in touch soon.  Fingers crossed that the whole TMS thing sorts itself out.  I think it will since there’s no dispute between the clubs.  It should be pretty straightforward.
Just this second, Fabian (I don't know his official title, but in the US he would be a general manager) has come to the apartment and told me that I'm going to the Swedish FA offices in Stockholm with ESK's chairman in 30 minutes to finish up paperwork.  He doesn't think the TMS situation will be a problem, but I can figure everything out there.  Wish me luck!

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