‘It’s O.K. to Throw Up’

U.S. Coach Pia Sundhage this week named her roster for the Algarve Cup in Portugal. MONTCLAIR, N.J. — “We’re going to push you hard. It’s O.K to throw up.”

Those are words you never want to hear before beginning any type of physical training, but that is what Coach Pia Sundhage told us before to the start of our recent training camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. While no one vomited, the camp was intense and physically taxing, as she had promised. On my trip home Wednesday night, I felt like I was getting a migraine (for me, a telltale sign that I am worn down to my last reserves), and that was when it really hit me how hard we had worked.

The first four days of the six-day camp we had two sessions a day, including two fitness tests (a VO2 max test and the beep test) and a 90-minute scrimmage — all in the span of 48 hours.

http://youtu.be/weEe4V0Ot2Y

Lying in bed the night I flew home, unable to sleep because of the painful pulsing in my forehead, I started to think to try to distract myself from the agony.

I thought of when I began this blog almost exactly one year ago.

At the end of the camp in Florida, Pia announced the Algarve Cup roster. I am one of the 24 players traveling to Portugal on Feb. 20. My first blog post was written last year, right after I was selected for my first Algarve Cup roster. In 2010 I wrote, “I remember being in preseason with Sky Blue F.C. one year ago when the national team players came back from the Algarve Cup. Since I was 9 it has been my dream to play for the national team, but last March it didn’t seem to be close on my horizon. …”

Between then and now, my expectations have changed.

About 700 days ago, I had no anticipation of being invited to be with the national team in the near future. I’ve always believed that if I continue to work hard, I will eventually get the opportunity to have a shot at my childhood dream. At that time, though, those players were part of a different world — a different level of fútbol.

My biggest adjustment has been mental. I’ve gained the confidence and experience to know (rather than just dream) that I can play at the highest level.

Of course, I still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go, but that knowledge has allowed me to have full belief in myself and my training.

Now I am competing for one of the spots on the roster for the World Cup this summer. It’s fun to look back and evaluate my perspective not too long ago. Hopefully two years from now I can read this and feel that I’ve come equally as far. Maybe what is just a dream today, will have become my reality over the next two years.