It’s Coach Jared. I can finally say, after almost 3 full weeks in Germany, I am just about fully acclimated to the country and time difference! Although the food still is taking some getting used to for me. To all of my Edge kids reading this, please thank your mom’s and dad’s for always having breakfast, lunch and dinner ready for you whenever you are hungry because there will come a time in the future when that luxury will be gone and you will not realize how much you miss it until you’re trying to find as many different ways to make plain chicken taste different from the 3 previous meals you’ve just had!
Our first game was away against SV Dersim Russelsheim, a team in good form in 3rd place looking forward to fighting for promotion into the next division. Sitting in 12th place, we were up for a battle from the very beginning. We are a fairly new team, with many new players not having played together for more than a week. There are 4 other Americans on the team luckily, and the biggest problem is the language barrier between us and the rest of our teammates. Little things like trying to tell someone to press in a certain direction or cover for a teammate when someone steps into a certain space becomes very difficult to do for players who don’t speak the same language. So for the first 45 minutes of our game, organizing and keeping a shutout was our main priority. I can honestly say we felt very fortunate going into halftime 0-0, hoping to make small adjustments to help address problems from the first half.
My favorite thing to do is play away games. There is something about the hostility of the crowd cheering so hard for their players and even harder against you, that just gives me that extra little push to make that last hard run, or tackle that little bit harder even when everything you do is being booed by the fans! There was no shortage of booing in this game, with about 200 fans doing everything they could to will their beloved SV Dersim on. But when we took a very unexpected lead midway through the second half, things began to get very interesting and hostile in the little stadium. Every call the ref made in our favor was met with shouting and booing and every call made for the home team was cheered as if the team had just scored. This kind of atmosphere is so fun to play in, every single moment in the game drawing a reaction from both the fans and players. The momentum had been with them for most of the game and an equalizer always seemed to be on the cards. Sure enough, they finally found a goal as their number 10 scored a free kick with about 12 minutes left in the game. A point away from home at that point seemed like a decent result for us, but as we tried to hold onto that 1-1 scoreline, a penalty was called against us with about 6 minutes remaining. Lucky enough for us, our keeper, who had played unbelievably well throughout made a great save ensuring the points were shared on a hard fought Sunday afternoon.
Being back out on the pitch getting to play the beautiful game felt a bit surreal. Don’t get me wrong, I love being Coach Jared, and that won’t ever change. But putting on a jersey and lacing up my boots felt so good again. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be back doing what I’ve loved doing since I was 4 years old!
More to come soon!