BARCELONA, Spain — Here’s the breakdown of some of what has occurred since I left John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to fly to Moscow:
45 Hours we spent in Russia before flying to Spain, in which time the subsequent (rough) stats were recorded. …
15 Hours in a van (which, thank goodness, had Wi-fi).
12 Doctors we saw, including having three magnetic resonance imaging scans each, two times getting blood drawn, two times being exposed from the waist up, 15 minutes on a treadmill for a VO2 max test, one X-ray and one gynecological (no, you did not read that incorrectly) checkup.
1.5 Liters of water we each had to drink during this time, including after the treadmill run.
4 Meals we ate.
10 Hours of sleep each of us got in three nights.
Nonquantifiable The experience of traveling to Moscow to play professional soccer for Rossiyanka.
Whether it was the thermometer that Kia raised to her lips, only to be told it goes under her armpit for seven minutes, or the massage therapist wearing full scrubs to flush the lactic acid from our tired leg muscles, or Leigh Ann ordering root beer and the waiter bringing nonalcoholic beer, we have been exposed to many new experiences during our brief time in Europe. After the rigorous process of obtaining a Russian work permit and being cleared to play, we couldn’t have been happier to finally meet our teammates and lace up our boots. We are now in Barcelona, training with the team.
The team is coached by the former Olympique Lyon women’s coach, Farid Benstiti. Meetings and training sessions are held in English and then French, which is translated to Russian, while sometimes also being translated to Portuguese by one of the Brazilian players. We have only been here for a few days, but are already enjoying playing with our new teammates and working to prepare to face Potsdam in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal. We will be in Barcelona for 10 days, France for a week and then head to Germany for the game.
Immeasurable The excitement I feel to play games and see what European fútbol is like.