So I’m midway through my third season of professional soccer and obviously haven't crossed paths with that many players (I’d be interested to know the number of players I have if anyone has too much spare time on their hands and wants to figure it out) but I’m pretty positive 99.9% of soccer players hate traveling. Hate is a little extreme, but also appropriate. I wrote in a previous post briefly about what goes into preparing for a game and the focus that goes into keeping our legs fresh. You want to be fresh, you want to be 100%. No knocks, no injuries, no sorenesses, nothing. We put a lot of focus into our legs to say the least and traveling is one of the worst things for them. So it’s easy to see why we hate it. There are also a few other things that make traveling easy to hate. For instance, not being able to sleep in our own beds, get dressed in our locker room, play in front of our fans, on our pitch.
The struggle is finding the time to appreciate the traveling while you’re actually traveling; if that makes sense. From the players perspective and in the sports world, away games are business trips. You're traveling to get the job done; you’re traveling to go beat your opponent - that’s it. There will inevitably be a day when I don't get to travel around playing the sport I love. And I know that when that day comes, I’ll beat myself up for not taking full advantage of the opportunities that were right in front of me. I try to take that approach every time I go on the road, but being honest, there’ve been road games where I've been, for lack of better words, unappreciative. Because like I said, at the end of the day it’s a business trip.
I said earlier that the main reason why we hate traveling is because of the toll traveling takes on our legs. Another reason is having to wake up at the crack of dawn. And traveling to Toronto meant being at the airport Thursday morning before 5 a.m. And for me, travel days can be essentially be broken down into 4 parts.
Part 1, the morning and flight 1. The morning is pretty boring to start unfortunately. There's just little excitement in waking up, driving to the airport, checking in, walking thru security, and then boarding the flight. To put things into perspective, the highlight of the morning was getting onto the plane and going back to sleep...
Part 2, breakfast and flight 2. Things usually start to pick up during the second part of the morning, but for this Toronto trip, things had to be tweaked as a few things were out of our control. A delay in our first flight meant that once we landed in Philadelphia, we would have to immediately head to our next gate to board. Meaning breakfast would have to be postponed. A bummer for sure, but not the end of the world. And just like the first flight, the second flight was also nap time… for me at least.
Part 3, lunch and training. Once we arrived in Toronto and went thru customs/security, the rookies would do what they do best, assist with carrying the gear.. or just carry the gear themselves. We’d load up into rental cars and head to Panera for lunch before heading to the hotel to check into our rooms. Once everyone was checked in, we would head to Toronto’s training facility for a light training session. After the session we’d head back to the hotel to relax before heading to dinner.
And lastly, part 4, dinner/chill time. This part of the day is pretty simple. There’s really only one thing to do and that’s eating a good meal. Pregame dinner is on your own. You can eat wherever you like, whenever you like, with whoever you like. Some players meet up with their family/friends if we are in their hometown, some players order in, but most players group up and eat out together. As a foodie, I get pumped up for any meal. Especially when we are in a different city or in this case, a different country. I won’y say where or what I had, but here’s a picture just to give you an idea of what I was messing with. I don't think I necessarily need to elaborate on what chill time is but to avoid any confusion, chill time is….chill. For me, after dinner my first and only priority is getting horizontal, staying off my legs and hydrating. Then finally, lights out.
If you made it this far, I appreciate it. I also want y’all to know if there is anything in particular you want me to write about, let me know! Comment on this, connect with me above, tweet at me, do whatever you got to do and I’ll try to make it happen. Til’ next time.