Like I said earlier, there are a few problems, one significant the other minor. The minor one is a paperwork issue, but we have ten days before the next game I’d reasonably be available for so that’s not a huge issue. It will get done, it’s just taking an unnecessary amount of time. The significant problem is my ankle; it’s still 100% now three weeks after the initial injury. The club knew about my ankle before I got here and it didn’t discourage them from making an offer, but now having seen me in two trainings they are worried that the injury may be more than a rolled ankle like I believe it is. For this reason they want to structure any contract with a clause that allows them to terminate it at essentially any time. This seems reasonable enough, but I don’t like it one bit. It opens up Pandora’s Box. If six weeks from now I pull my hamstring and have to miss four games, will they just release me? It would be a dick move, but financially prudent for the club and perfectly legal under a contract with the clauses they’re asking me to put into the contract. I don’t want that obviously. Even worse, there could be a situation where I’m essentially here on trial waiting for my ankle to heal. After two weeks, for any reason, the team could decide not to take me and then I’m in the awful situation of being out on my ass with two weeks to find a team and sign. The only realistic way for me to do that would be to go to the lowest level possible where I could immediately wow the staff and get a quick offer. Obviously that’s not the ideal situation. I could very well end up stranded in Europe without a club in the autumn.
With all that said, I’ve spoken with the coach and he’s made it clear he wants me here and wants me playing. He respects my ability and will give me every chance to prove my fitness. He stressed that as long as I can play 100% that the contract is firm and I have no need to worry about anything other than getting completely healthy. I mean, he could technically be lying but I just don’t think he would do that. I don’t feel like anyone would do that, to be honest. The staff has decided to only put me through very light training for 3-4 days to see if the ankle makes a big improvement. If not, then I’ll have to get a scan to make sure there isn’t something significantly wrong with the ankle. If that comes back positive (the wrong result) then there will be no contract for me anymore.
Anyway, I left Enkoping on August 1 so I’ve been at my new club for three days now, more or less. I’m staying at a hotel at the moment, but the first night I was in a very different setting. I stayed at what was effectively a B&B quite a ways away from the club’s city. There was no internet there, which is why I didn’t post anything the past few days even though a lot happened. There were farm animals and all that, but it was actually really comfortable for a city boy like me. I won’t talk about it, I’ll just put the photos and videos I took.
I’ve had a couple of trainings with my new team. They were actually both on Thursday. In the morning it was just a handful of guys + the ‘keepers + some junior teamers. We did some passing work and then some finishing. It was pretty basic, but I was really happy to be able to test the ankle in that environment rather than with the whole group. It felt the best it has since I hurt it. I scored some good goals and was happy with my mobility. Even at 80-90%, I’m a bit quicker and a lot faster than the majority of players. I could easily play and contribute in a match right now.
The afternoon session was for the whole group and was light. There was a big difference for me though. My ankle was significantly more restricted and it showed. My lateral movement was effectively zero and even movements that didn’t cause pain still looked awkward because I was overcompensating for the ankle in everything I did. I did alright in the early possession drill, but by the end of training when we played 6v6 to goal I was unable to do anything. I couldn’t run past players because of the small space and beating a player was out of the question because of the ankle. I probably looked a bit like some kid who won a contest and got to train with his heroes for a day. I’m not worried about it though because I know I can be an important player for this team as soon as I’m 100%. The ankle is not a problem unless I get tackled there. But every athlete is one wrong step or a bad tackle away from being injured so in that way I’m not in a much different situation than anyone else. With ice packs and rehab I've improved more in the last two days than the previous two weeks.
Hopefully I can sort everything out and sign officially. Then I can tell you all where I am now! All I can confirm at the moment is that this team is in a higher league than ESK and that I’m no longer one of the old guard. There are plenty of guys in this team who make me seem like a spring chicken at age 25! I also don’t think I’m giving too much away to say that I’m still in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland). I’ll give some hints as the days go by if I haven’t made things official.