Next Stop: Wales

After my stint in Serbia I traveled to Wales. Some of my best memories to date are the days that I spent in Wales.

The people, the people, the people what beautiful, caring souls. And how did I get here? They say the world is small after this experience I really believe it. Thanks to 2 of my good friends who I met during my time in Auckland, they organised this move for me sweetly. Their kindness I will never forget. Everyone knows someone and all it takes is a message from one and you could be bang smack into the UK. Either way I got there.

The Training: I think I was the fittest I had ever been in my career to date being in Wales. Being a part of the Cardiff University set-up and High Performance systems; I was able to become strong, focus on my sprinting technique, use explosion and strength as a massive part of my game. The programmes and build up to Champions League was done brilliantly, the team was supported by excellent coaches, staff and the University. It was so nice to be back into a Western Culture. Just with more of what I knew. Thank you to all the girls who took me out, made me feel welcome and gave me a home when they did not need to. Playing football and fighting for positions can make these relationships difficult but I really appreciate this effort and fr looking past this.

Champions League…To be continued. If you want to know more details about certain aspects of my adventures, just let me know. I am sure we will get back to it eventually.

Until my Career (whatever I am doing) is over let us talk Serbia

Hi lovely people, I have 3 posts to blast out on a Wednesday, end of the season kind of thang. Anyway, I am in an interesting part of the season, the part where I TRY to let everything be but also take a direction and suss out my options. Football wise, career wise and life wise. Although, you may think that this is easy but for someone who travels from place to place this can be the hardest part ; being in limbo. You learn to ride the uncertainty. You learn to be at peace with whatever you can and try to breathe. The dream of course to earn the mega bucks playing at a high level, sadly the reality for semi/professional women’s players we often play for the game and in some cases the game can control us. One day, I really hope that this will change and is starting to right now thank goodness. So for many players, like me,we are filled with uncertainty not knowing what is just a CV away; I kind of find that so beautiful now and what first world problems my dear.

Options. Thank you God for a world of options. You have blessed me with an education that has given me multiple opportunities and led to experiences that have forced me to grow. On my adventures, I have been lucky to take on some interesting jobs. Never thought I would have experience in the Early Learning areas of learning. Never thought that I would be teaching Business English in Germany, scouting in Auckland and being a live in carer for a couple of years. There are so many jobs that I have had to pick up just for that extra cash, for that experience and to fill in the now. What I will NEVER forget are the people that have always made me a home in their home. Their love and support gave me the strength to get me through the season.

For the now, I will be ENJOYING this moment and when my contract is over very shortly this season start to knock on a few more doors. A lot of new doors are opening. Sydney has a beauty of opportunity.

Keep smiling, even when it is hard. Find what makes you happy and CELEBRATE IT. Celebrate it every single day. For we are impermanent.

The Training in Serbia

It is hard for me to remember exactly the details of every single part of my journeys. However, I will try my best.

The training in Serbia started with bands. I will never forget these bands, we spent 6 months told the same thing: “butt down, lower, knees apart, you are not doing it right”,daily. Crab walk, forwards, backwards, you name it. Reflecting on using these resistance bands I will have to say that I will continue to use them and THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT for your strength and general glute pre-activation.

The other aspect of Serbian training that was very important was our foam rolling. I never realized that foam rolling was such a sport and I will never forget the daily pre-activation workouts because the foreign players were always critiqued in every single way. For example, make sure that you are rolling on your side now, instead of your back. It was so stressful, I cannot paint a picture for you to understand but really looking back at it now. I am glad it happened and I can’t help but laugh at myself because the whole situation was comical.

Lastly, one aspect of Serbian training that I really admired during my time in Europe was the ability of Serbian players technically. In my team, all players were able to chip a precise ball with both their left and right foot to a player. An area that I have struggled with in the past and am not as precise with. I absolutely enjoyed playing with players who could cross a ball or loft a ball over the back-line and create space and time for you when you felt like there was none. I felt really challenged during this period of time, it hurt but I needed it to improve.

Overall, training with this team really improved my skill technically, not physically because we hardly did any running but technically I was introduced to another ball game. This was a general brief of training. The next blog will be about some funny memories. Please, control yourself for the next blog, you may be shocked.

Love Aimee, and p.s. thanks for following all my posts an stories on Instagram lately. I love your input.

How to Deal with People that are Hard to Deal With – Football – Wise

Hi everyone, we are going to have a small break from my adventures in Serbia and get back to those stories next week. This blog is about dealing with those hard personalities on and definitely off the pitch and yes I am one of them.

In football there are huge personalities and in life, but in this blog I am only going to cover some of the personalities that I have had to deal with on the pitch. Some people may be able to relate, others not, and that is perfectly ok but if you are one of those players or people that can relate then this blog is for you.

When you are playing in a team, there are huge and forever-changing dynamics and personalities. If someone does not like you, they have the power to destroy your season and either turn the team against you or make you the champion or “popular player”. I am a very positive individual, who can be very kind. In football, this has been mistaken by many players. Who have made fun of how I am as a person and as a player on the field. I have a unique personality that can easily be targeted. Why? This is because I am different and I guess football teams can either embrace that or ridicule you for it.

I do not know about you but I can accept criticism, but what I do not like and absolutely hate is the constant yelling and being talked to like a dog from individuals at times, it comes with the territory. Why do these players do this? Good question, please ask them for me. Obviously, everyone has different belief systems and deal with situations differently. This will happen anywhere you are but I truly believe that there is no space for toxicity in any organisation.

. Personally, I do not believe that someone telling me how to play the game every move of the game is effective because I have my own brain, but what is helpful is my teammates having high expectations of me, like in Germany. My advice on this, put them in their place, otherwise they will get worse and worse. Or just laugh and feel sorry for them and play BOSS anyway. When you play BOSS, there is nothing more to say.

Look, the main thing to say is: I feel you. Over the years, I have had so many messages from players explaining to me the racism, abuse, isolation they found whilst playing in their teams. I really hope that this does not happen to you, but there will be times where you face adversity, I can guarantee you on that. We have all gone through it, we go through it and yes, these players are in our team, and we are a team so we have to work with what we have got. You can influence how they react and deal with you but I don’t think its worth the energy worrying about or thinking that there is something wrong with you; there isn’t.

No one should be talked to with disrespect or a tone that is not respectable. Do not ever let them dim your light.

Until next time. Aimee

Europe, here I am

There are many stories to share and a lot of details that I have to leave out for professional reasons. Maybe one day in a book, I will share these details with you, but the time isn’t now. Let us return to our adventures to Serbia.

So there I was with my brother, mother, father and one of my best friends drinking coffee in Christchurch at the airport feeling like a million dollars. Yay, my first “professional contract” signed and I am going to play football in Europe and get paid for it. It was definitely on paper living the dream. The hype was great, the congratulations made me feel like I was prepared and there I went; to the other side of the world.

In Serbia, I was picked up straight away at the airport. I went in the wrong door and attempted to drive the car. I was introduced and professionally spoken to. We drove for an hour to get to my new home Subotica (one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived). When we got there I had a meeting with the president of the club (he did not speak English and his sons were the coaches of the team. I met the coach and they talked about how impressive their club team was and the history behind what they did which was beautiful. They hyped me up and kept giving me kudos for representing my national team. They were 8 years in the running being a competitor in the Champions League. I ordered an egg, I had no idea what I was ordering but I had an egg just for your information.

A few hours in silence passed and I had the best introduction. We drove to our apartment and got my keys. When I got inside, I was not fussed whatsoever because I had a home and for me, travelling the world and being in another city, having a roof over your head meant more than any material or home that you were given. For people that have higher expectations of their living conditions, you would have been mortified and got back onto the plane. There were 2 beds, one in the lounge, one with a double room, because of the nice person I am, I gave this room away another massive mistake of not putting yourself first which you have to if you are going to survive the months to come. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time overseas, but also I was incredibly traumatized from what we experienced in our season.

The room was full of Catholic saints on the wall, figurines and old, traditional cloths on the table. We had a old school tv, washing machine, everything that you needed. We had bed sheets on the bed which were an array of colours, pink and yellow and a variety of sizes. Our agent talked to me and I was ready. Let us just get into the training, I thought to myself. I am rearing to go.

So let us get into training – European style.