It’s Friday the 13th! I Hope your luck is good today! Yesterday was the kickoff party for ESK. Pretty much every club has a day like this, where you go to some place before the season and spend some time with the people who most make the club successful. I should be clear that these are fans and sponsors, not people actually employed by the club. Of course the employees have more to do with the club being successful than fans, though the fans and sponsors do provide most of the money that the club uses on my and my teammates’ salaries. This event was a dinner for ESK, but with Harrisburg and CPB we had lunches for the same type of event.
I know I’ve made this clear, but it’s worth mentioning again: I don’t speak a word of Swedish. I’m trying to learn but right now when a Swedish person speaks to other Swedish people I have no idea what they’re saying. That said, the kickoff party was about two hours of Swedish people talking to other Swedish people. Obviously that’s normal and I don’t expect them to all speak English because one person doesn’t understand Swedish. However, when this situation occurs (It also happened at a team bonding event in Turkey), I’m left feeling like Charlie Brown listening to his teacher. I pretty much heard two hours of “womp womp womp, womp wompwompwomp.” The saving grace was that the season ticket holders sitting at the table with me spoke fluent English so we were able to talk to each other and enjoy the dinner. We introduced the team for the year and played some guessing games with songs before calling it a night.
In training before the kickoff party, we began to work on tactics. This was a bit strange for two reasons: first, it was a bit strange that now was the time we decided to talk about tactics, four days before our opening match and, second, the tactics themselves are more or less the opposite of how we’ve played every other game. We’ve been working on attacking as quickly as possible. We want to get the ball from our defenders to the goal in as few passes as possible. It’s not necessarily a counterattack because we plan on having more of the ball than our opponents, but it is a counterattack mentality. I don’t want to give away too much of our tactics on the off chance an opponent might read this, but it’s definitely something different and it’s rubbing some of the team the wrong way. We played a full field scrimmage for the first time since I’ve been at the club and by the end seemingly every player was frustrated or upset for one reason or another. I guess it’s just that time of year when people are eager to get on the field and play. Speaking of which….
I was on the 2nd team today in the scrimmage. I’m not sure what changed between Tuesday and Thursday but I am no longer in the starting lineup. Maybe I can get the spot back by the time we play on Monday but I’m not counting on it. I’m just hoping I get in the game, because I don’t see Siggi putting me in if we’re winning. He has one or two other guys who are more defensive-minded that can play as a winger. I would think that my performances in the preseason will warrant some playing time, but I thought the same thing in Harrisburg and was frozen out of the team after the first game. If not for the curse (maybe I’ll elaborate someday), I would not have played more than five games for the City Islanders despite the fact that I clearly brought value to the team. I fear that history could repeat itself here and that’s very frustrating. Since I’ve been here, ESK has scored 19 goals in 7 matches and I’ve scored or assisted 9 of them. You would think that contribution would be on the field. I don’t pick the team though so I’ll do whatever I’m told whether that’s starting or coming off the bench or sitting in the stands.
Speaking of sitting in the stands: regardless of what Siggi has planned for me I might have to miss out on the first match because of paperwork issues. You might remember that I had some anxious moments on transfer deadline day getting everything sorted with the Swedish FA to play this year. Thankfully all of that came through no problem, but now the Swedish Immigration Office has lost my papers and cannot/will not grant me work permission at the moment. Without it, I can’t play any games for ESK. Since presumably the office won’t open again until Monday morning, it is unlikely I will have time to resubmit the forms and have them cleared before kickoff at 7pm. That means that I will almost surely not take part in the season opener. What a bummer. Fabian’s doing everything he can but he’s only human. If he could do immigration’s job for them he probably would have, but instead their incompetence (we sent the forms in weeks ago) is costing me and the club. I guess US government offices aren’t the only ones that are terrible at their jobs!
We’ll see how it goes. This post is too long to put another player profile up so I'll do it next time. Until then enjoy your weekend and I’ll let you know how it turns out!