Editor’s Note: Junior goalkeeper Suzie Zigante has been selected to play for the Croatian National Team when they participate in the Balaton Cup Women's International Tournament in Hungary in early August. She will send a blog periodically to tell of her experience playing for her national team. Today's blog is about her first day of training. There is also a photo gallery.




Today I was lucky enough to train with the NK Zagreb goalkeeper coach. NK Zagreb is a beautiful facility with a sauna, pool, gym, turf fields, grass fields, and a sand pit. The locker rooms were beautiful they had people to clean the equipment for all the boys in the club. From 12 years of age to the full senior team, not kidding! Club is a big deal here.


But how was the training? How did I do? That’s the important thing right? It was absolutely different than training in America.

I show up to the facility and find out that I have a training partner for the day. His name is Luka, he is 14. Ok that is fine, he is young and I don't think he ever trained with a girl before in his life. He was very shy but a good kid and a good goalkeeper. The coach emphasized technique with everything.


In fact, so much so, he was making fun of me. I guess in between sets here they take a good one-to-two minute break. I am used to doing a lot more reps and with a lot less rest. So I was ready to go! He told me I did not need so many reps, just good quality with the ones I was doing. We did a long warm-up with lots of stretching and then we did sets of different types of diving. After that, we did crosses, then center shots, then kicks. It was basics I think so he could see what I needed to work on and what I was good at. He asked if I ran or lifted in the states, I said we did both and he laughed at me. He said I should never lift barbell weights, or run, he says I should get all the fitness I need by playing and practice.


It is so interesting to see such a different perspective. I think there is good and bad in both, I love the idea of not running or lifting, but I know why it is important as well.


On an exciting note, the coach was so excited by how I did. He said my technique was great and he was very happy with me. He told me I was a very good goalkeeper and that I will do well in Hungary. So that was very nice to hear. I kept up with the 14-year old so that was good. It was a very good training and different than what I am used to, but it was so much fun.


I am so lucky by the opportunities I am getting and I cannot wait to get to Hungary tomorrow


On a side note, my grandma took me to eat these mini-sausages with cheese called chilapchi (I have no idea how to even begin to spell it). It was served with bread and potatoes and a salad. One of the best things I have ever eaten. Definitely not the healthiest meal I bet, but it tasted good.