Women in Cali

Life on the road - Erica Campanelli

Hey Whitecaps Fans,

Since I wrote to you last, we’ve had quite the eventful trip in California.

On Thursday, we moved onto our second hotel of the week, this time in Pasadena, California. After having dinner, we walked back to the hotel for a quick team meeting with a little tactical talk about our game against LA Strikers FC.

Before long, it was game day again!  Our day began with our usual team breakfast before Tanya – our Athletic Therapist – took us on our team walk and stretch to loosen us up for the evening. In just a few minutes of walking, we arrived at a really peaceful park, where we were able to spread out under the trees and go through a series of stretches. It was the perfect start to a great game day. 

As usual on our road trips, coaches allowed us some free time once we got back to the hotel to do whatever we need to do in order to best prepare our own bodies to be ready to go by game time.  Usually, that consists of some players taking a short nap, while a few girls had to work on school work for their summer classes, and others took a short walk to grab a little snack before our afternoon pre-game meeting.

These meetings are typically more specific than the night before. It’s the coaches’ time to make sure each player fully understands their role for the game since tactics are constantly changing from match-to-match. Similar to our last game, it is also our chance as players to really start focusing on the match and what we will be able to do to contribute to our team’s success.

We started off our game against LA Strikers particularly slow, as it took us a little while to get used to the narrow field, but midway through the first half, Jen Stoltenberg was able to get free on a breakaway before getting fouled in the penalty box to earn a penalty kick. Jen then scored on the ensuing penalty kick to get us on the scoreboard. It wasn’t long after that we were able to put in our second goal of the half on a crafty finish by Tiffany Weimer, as she was able to pop the ball over the goalkeeper who was coming out to try to pick off a through ball. Despite not playing as well as we would have liked, we went into halftime up 2-0. Starting the second half, we gave up an early goal, but shortly after, we were able to take control of the game, set the tempo, and raise our team energy. Sydney Leroux was able to put in two more goals for us after entering the game at halftime.  Unfortunately, we did give up a late goal, however we were able to close out the evening with a 4-2 victory on the road to earn another three points in the standings. Overall, we know we have room to improve on our performance, but it was promising to see four quality goals be scored by three different players.

On Saturday evening, we went to BJ’s for dinner, where luckily we were in a room with plenty of televisions so that we could watch the Canucks take their second victory of the Stanley Cup finals.  Unfortunately, our bill came just before the end of the game and we had to take the gamble to get back to the hotel before we missed anything too exciting. Luckily, our team manager, Diane Voice, was able to safely yet quickly rush us back to the hotel lobby, where we were able to catch the last minutes of the game and overtime.

Finally, Sunday came and it was time for our third game in six days against a quality opponent, Santa Clarita Blue Heat. Momentum bounced back and forth, as both teams were able to find the back of the net multiple times in the first half. We went into the locker room down 4-2, but with some tactical changes, we knew we had to stick together as a family and there were high hopes we could make the comeback. Not long into the second half, we gave up the last goal of the game and, although it would have been difficult to come back at that point, the team kept fighting for the remainder of the 90 minutes despite our first loss of the season. Although this wasn’t the result we were looking for, you have to take every moment as a learning experience and we were certainly humbled by the defeat.  One setback along the way will only provide more motivation for us, as we head into training this week and get prepared for our next match this Friday at 8 p.m. PT at Surrey’s Newton Athletic Park. 

After a long day, we were informed by the pilot on our flight home that due to a mechanical problem, we would be performing a “plane swap.” After waiting in the terminal for several hours, our flight was cancelled, and we arrived back at our hotel at 2 a.m. PT. With the help of our superstar team manager, Diane, we were accommodated nicely for one more day until our rescheduled flight back home to Vancouver on Monday. 

After a long week in California, we can’t wait to be home. We’ve missed all of our amazing fans and are excited to see you all in Surrey on Friday!

Erica Campanelli - #2