Editors Note: UNC Asheville head women's soccer coach Michelle Demko is assisting the U-23 National team in Spain for the next few weeks. She will be blogging about her experience as an assistant coach with the team. This is her first blog.
We have now settled in to La Manga, Spain, as we just completed our second full day here. Our first game is Thursday, against Norway, so we got right into high intensity training to prepare for the international level.
We are staying in villas at the La Manga Resort and Spa. Each villa is set up like an apartment with a kitchen, living room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The resort is owned by the Norwegian soccer federation and is well known throughout Europe as a soccer-specific training ground. Some highly ranked teams come here this time of year to train in nice weather. Currently there are several teams from Norway, Sweden and Denmark as well as the U-23 teams we will play.
The U-20 women's national team will arrive later in the week, as they are playing in the same Four Nations Tournament in that age group. This team is enormously talented. It will be difficult to only put 11 players on the field because they are all excellent players.
A typical day for us is as follows:
9 a.m. Breakfast
10:15 a.m. Depart for first training
10:30 a.m.-Noon Team training
12:30 p.m. Lunch
4:15 p.m. Depart for second training session
4:30-6 p.m. Team Training
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:15 p.m. Team meeting
8:15 p.m. Treatment for injured players/free time
The days are full of soccer, eating and meetings, but we are here to win three games, so there is a business side to this trip and everyone is aware of the goal...TO WIN.
Between sessions players are doing homework or emailing school assignments to their professors to maintain their academics. In order to attend team camps and come on trips like this one, most of these players have to miss classes, so they have to be just as committed in the classroom as they are on the field.
It's 9:30 p.m. in LaManga so I think I will watch a soccer game on TV and call it a night. Just in the first two days, I have already seen some great sessions that I am excited to bring back to our soccer program. This is such a great opportunity for me. I want to thank Janet Cone, as well as the men's soccer staff, for helping train our team so I could take this opportunity here in Spain. On that note...I miss being at work, but know that I am enjoying my time and making the most of this experience. More in a few days. "GO USA."