My last blog post, which I honest to God thought would get less than 10 views, got over 3000 views in the last few days. I wouldn’t have started it with a random curse word if I knew people would be reading it! I’d like to say that this blog is better when I’m actually trying, but it’s probably not. I guess that’s up to you to decide!
But back to business. Today we played Haka in a friendly match and won 3-0. I played the second half as a right winger and played ok. I had 2-3 pretty good moments but just as many poor moments. From a professional point of view the game was simply a good workout and time to get to know my new teammates a bit. From a personal point of view though it was much more meaningful. That’s because Haka is my former club (for those who didn’t know). This game was the first time in my entire life that I played a former team of mine. It was strange in the buildup to the game seeing people I fought so hard with and shared a lot of memories, good and bad, now on the other side of the field. I can’t think of another profession where this happens. Most companies don’t compete in such a face-to-face way as soccer teams do. If I switched accounting firms, I’d never have to sit in a room with my former co-workers doing whatever it is accountants do (And don’t say they do accounting!).
During the game though life was much simpler, as is often the case. We made pretty wholesale changes at the half, and it showed in the first 10-15 minutes of the second half. Haka had us on the back foot and I spent the early parts of my preseason debut cutting out passes and chasing a fullback. Once us subs got our legs underneath us we started to do well and create chances. I had a few moments where I was able to show my skills a bit, but mostly I was just working on getting my defensive work right. My performance today was very similar to my early performances with Haka, when my teammates didn’t really know me that well and vice versa. I think that after a few months here in Vaasa my teammates will figure out how to best use me and I will be a bigger asset to the club. That’s not a criticism or anything, just a fact of assimilating new players into a club. If you want to know more about the game itself, I’ll warn you that this isn’t really the blog for that. I’ve gotten some feedback and found that people by far want to know more about off the field things and my personal feelings about matches rather than a summary of VPS’s games. Match reports will be on VPS’s website, www.vepsu.fi. The only other thing I’ll say about the match is that it was the first game I’ve played in my entire life where I was happy not to score. As for Haka, they have a really good team and probably didn’t deserve to lose 3-0. I am friendly with all of those guys still. I really hope that they win their league this year and return to Veikkausliiga where the club belongs. I also hope they make the Finnish Cup final and lose to us. Then if we finish in the top 4 then Haka can have European football next season.
Up next for VPS is a Finnish Cup game against Vaasa IFK. They are a 2nd division team, but they must be quite good since they beat SJK in the previous round of the Cup. We are taking them seriously and already have started gameplanning for the match Thursday. I’m hoping to get the start for that match, but if not I’m happy to fill any role that I’m asked. What’s most important in a Cup is just getting a win and progressing. I think we have a good team so it’d be a shame if we slipped up in the first game.
That’s it for now. Sorry about the lack of pictures thus far. But if you want to see what I’ve been seeing just look outside. There’s snow everywhere so I haven’t been taking too many pictures yet. Once color comes to the trees and ground of Vaasa, pictures will come to my blog! Until then you'll have to settle for pictures of my niece, Amani.