Sorting Through it All
By: Carmelina Moscato
I sat down to write this blog over 10 times and it's been incredibly hard to find the right words, or the "right" things to focus on. What happened against France was out of the realm of our possibility as a group. I don't mean the 4-0 result, because on any given day a team can win, lose or draw. That's what makes our sport so beautiful; it was the way we lost which was of the utmost disappointment because we are better than what we displayed that night both individually and collectively. Truth of the matter is, nobody in Canada saw our games leading up to the World Cup. Canadian fans weren't able to see our growth and how we won all but two games of 13 leading up to the tournament. How we fought game in and game out for our country and were accomplishing things on the field that were once goals for us in the past. The Canadian fans saw two games in the World Cup that were loses.
There has been a lot of media hype/attention about us, about coach Morace, player compensation, the CSA so a lot of eyes were on us. We wouldn't have wanted it any other way. We want to grow soccer in Canada and the first step is to gain attention for our sport and show people what we are attempting to do. This of course works both ways and we have gone through difficult times in the public. Our World Cup campaign, the losses are now part of our story but it does not change our goals! We have an Olympic games to qualify for and win! We are also hosting the world in 2015 and plan to make our country proud. This journey is not over yet and although this may be one of the hardest lessons we'll ever have to learn, it will ultimately make us better. It has to. That will require introspection on every member.
Tonight''s game vs Nigeria will be a test of character and personality. That's it.
14 days: No regrets
By: Carmelina Moscato
Fourteen days until the World Cup. All of us, whether we've been in the program for 10 years or 6 months have been dreaming of participating in this tournament since we knew it existed. For most of the team this is at least their second shot at the Cup, for others, their third, even fourth. This time, however, feels different than the others. We are well trained, we are confident, fit and have been preparing for the tournament with all that we have in us, both as a player group and a staff. I know we will leave this World Cup, regardless of the outcome, saying we have no regrets from this long but productive journey towards our personal bests.
This journey has not only been about us training, preparing physically, mentally, and emotionally on the field it has also has been about our battles off the field. We have put in a lot of energy into fighting for things that we believe in and know are right. I am proud to write that not only has our head coach Carolina Morace decided to stay on board until the 2012 Olympic Games, but we have also come to an agreement with the CSA regarding player compensation. These two very exciting events couldn't have been resolved at a better time. Having these issues off our plate allows us to focus on the task at hand, performing for a our country at the World Cup.
Carolina has been a blessing to the program and has demanded greatness from all of us since day 1. She's set the bar high, and even though there are a mix of productive and challenging days, at the end of the day we are all better off for having her push us. We are more technical, read the game better and are motivated to play the beautiful game the way it's supposed to be played. Having said all that, it comes as no surprise that we are thrilled to have her and her staff stay on board until the end of this cycle because our story as a team is not yet complete. Our potential is through the roof and together we can challenge any team in the world.
Lots of thoughts, emotions, confidence, doubts, fears, anxiousness going through all of our minds two weeks out from the biggest tournament of our lives, but I will say one thing…we couldn't be more ready….
Road to the World Cup - Germany 2011
Teammate highlight: Robyn Gayle, Undeniably herself by Carmelina Moscato
There are so many things and teammates that I could write about leading up to the World Cup but I wanted to take a second to talk about one of my teammates who I think is someone special. You would think that I am writing about her because she's from Mississauga, like me, however this actually has very little to do with it. It is for that reason however that Robyn Gayle and I have been teammates since I was 10 years old. We've played together at every level possible and just as I've seen her grow up, she has seen me do the same…although I'm sure she would beg to differ that I have indeed "matured."
Out of a group of 24 plus extraordinary women on the NT, some people may be thinking, why Robyn, what is it about her? Robyn has been part of the National Team program, both youth and senior for the past 10 years. She completed her collegiate career at the prestigious University of North Carolina, representing the most celebrated collegiate Division I women's soccer program ever. She has competed in two youth World Cup's, one senior World Cups and an Olympics games, teetering on that fine line between being a starter and a reserve for Canada. After suffering a broken foot in 2007, Robyn has fully recovered to not only to make her way back on to the squad, but contend for a starting position in this upcoming 2011 World Cup in Germany.
Athletically Robyn has continued to push her limits and reach new personal bests. When I think of someone who does everything she is supposed to, who is disciplined and who is mentally strong, Robyn is the first person who comes to mind. She shows up to the field everyday and leaves her blood, sweat and tears on the field. I admire her for this and look to her when times get tough. She is the type of teammate that never complains and keeps everything is perspective for you. I want to work hard for her, because I know she is working hard for me.
Soccer aside, she is a friend who is always there for a laugh, to listen or hang out with, even a pep talk every often. The best part about her is her humour; a dry, sarcastic type that cuts bone deep at times, haha, but is undeniably funny and real. She is extremely family oriented, and we actually call her "Lona", her mom's name, because with each passing day she becomes more and more like her mom. Both Lona and Robyn will tell you like it is, and most likely not sugar coat it. It's people like this in life that make you realize honesty is always best, and your true friends shouldn't be afraid to tell you like it is.
Regardless of the final decisions by coach Morace in this upcoming World Cup, the starting line-ups, the substitutes etc. at the end of the day, for all of us, the memories will be each other, the long hours of travel, down time, meals and moments you can never replace. I'll never forget my many moments with Robyn on and off the field. She is the perfect teammate and I am honoured to call her my friend.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
"Would the little girl you were be proud of the woman you are today?"
When in Rome…
It is hard to capture a day like today. It's beautiful here in Rome and there is a serenity about the day that is almost blissful. From where I write to you, the sun is shining bright, the pool is as clear and blue, and the soccer fields (on site) are as green as ever. I am sitting with eight of my teammates who are studying, reading, playing the guitar or chit chatting. We have the morning off from training and are fully enjoying the weather, the mental break and just being in each other's company. It's crazy to think…we actually live in Rome right now. For most, this is a dream life and as you can tell we are enjoying everything that this place and lifestyle have to offer. We are extremely lucky that we enjoy each other's company as much as we do and that we have become as close as a family.
Its days like today however, that we also realize how much we miss our families, the people we love, social lives and normalcy's of everyday. It's a beautiful life and one that any of us would trade for the world, but like everything else in life it has its pros and cons. Having said all that, it brings me full circle to knowing that we are preparing for a World Cup and have the opportunity to represent our country in one of the world's biggest sporting events. It is literally a dream come true for all of us on the team and something we've been dreaming about since we were little girls. We are all giving parts of ourselves, our lives to contribute to a goal that is much greater than us, we are playing for Canadian soccer fans, players, parents, ex players of the game to show the world that we are one of the top 10 women's soccer nations out there.
Our vision is simple: Medal at the World Cup in Germany this June. Back to work this afternoon.
It's Not About "Winning"
By: Carmelina Moscato
We, the Canadian Women's National Team, have won 4 out of the last 5 tournaments we've entered, losing the Four Nations tournament (Jan 2011) in Chongqing, China on a single goal differential to the USA. We are 6-1 in 2011 and we are not done yet. This year's Cyprus Cup marked the last organized tournament we will play heading into World Cup preparations. Participating in a tournament format not only helps us in preparing to play various teams that pose different technical and tactical challenges, it also serves as a physical and mental test for us players. Being able to take lessons from the last game, and implement them (or sometimes even forgetting things that didn't work) moving forward is extremely important. It's almost as if you have to have a short-term memory and capitalize on the game at hand. A clear lesson not only in soccer, but also in life.
The last game of the Cyprus Cup was on for the memory bank as it proved to be a particular game played around extreme weather conditions. The air was cold, and if I had to guess degrees based on how it felt I would say it was -10. It was windy, as often times goal kicks would come to face a wall of wind propelling the ball backwards. At half time the team said they still didn't feel warmed up. It was one of those games that is not enjoyable to play in and the ball tends to have a mind of its own.
Our game plan was good in the first place, however, coupled with these weather conditions, proved to be even better as our goal in regular time came from it. We played a high-pressure match, often beginning our defensive pressure in our attacking third. This was a challenge for Holland as they begin their play with the ball at their center back's feet. Jonelle Filigno (who had a phenomenal tournament) picked off a ball from one of the Dutch center backs and scored a composed goal that showed her maturity and poise. Holland was able to equalize with a goal from the goal line and basically no angle that caught everyone, including the player who scored, by surprise. This equalizer led us into overtime, where our priority was to score early and defend our lead. We were able to do just that and walked away champs.
It feels good to win, that goes without saying. It rewards you for all your hard work and dedication and gives you an indication that what you are doing is correct. At this point, the best part about winning is that we genuinely feel prepared when we match up against any system and our game plan execution becomes more and more flawless. Heading into a World Cup I am confident that we will have faced every system that a team will throw at us. Does this account for individual brilliance that we will surely see from a Germany or France for example? Absolutely not, however a solid plan will always be the one of the most critical parts of our success moving forward. We are very lucky to have the soccer intelligence and guidance that we do with Carolina Morace and our entire staff who not only bringing us to another level as a team, but individually. It is my job, as well as my teammate's job to make sure we are in the best shape of our lives.
Yours in soccer,
Carmelina Moscato from Starbucks in Cyprus!
I write to you from Starbucks in Larnaca, Cyprus relaxing after our intense, and well executed game versus a strong English side last night. The game was set up perfectly for a battle, as England rested some of their starters in their previous game against Scotland. Also, we had beat them last year and we are two teams that are only one spot different in the FIFA rankings. Lots to fight for, and we sure did.
We had a smart and effective game plan (as usual) per coach Morace so we entered the game prepared and determined to win. Something was special about tonight as I truly felt every single player in the starting 11 and the substitutes played for each other. England presented an attack and a series of organized runs that were very difficult to account for . In fact the first 25 minutes we were a bit out of sorts as they were fast. dynamic and difficult to track. We communicated well, covered for each other and worked our butts off to make sure things were in order and the game continually got better for us.
A late first half goal by Sinclair courtesy of Matheson allowed us to enter the second half with a bit of security. Brittany Timko began the second half for us up top and instantly made her mark on the game with a beautifully executed volley that really sealed the game off for us. We battled and played a strong defensive match for the rest of the 45, and were able to pull of a 2-0 victory against a talented English side. Kelly Smith played 90 minutes as well and it is always great to play against some of the world's best.
We are not in the Cyprus Cup final for the third year in a row and face Holland for the title. They have preformed quite well this tournament scoring 10 goals, and earning 9 points. We actually played them in the recent past in December during our friendly tournament in Brazil. Although we won that game, I can only imagine that things will be different this time around as they clearly have momentum going into the final....
Thanks for reading,
On The Road to the Women's World Cup with Carmelina Moscato
First of all I just wanted to introduce myself to all the JMT METROSPORT followers, supporters and friends of the beautiful game. My name is Carmelina Moscato and I play for the Canadian women's national team. Funny enough I can also introduce myself as Carmelina, ex-JMT Metrosport employee as I spent my high school days working for Norm at the Mississauga location. When John and Norm asked me to write a blog for the newsletter I was immediately on board as they've always been there for me and treated me with the utmost respect. I am proud to call them my friends. I plan to write a blog as often as possible, and keep everyone in the loop about this talented, yet crazy group of young women that I couldn't be more proud to call my teammates and friends. We have become a family really, so I will let you in on things that happen both on and off the field...should be interesting! haha
So let's get this started...
This year, 2011, marks an incredibly exciting year for women's soccer in Canada and in the world. Germany is set to host the 2011 Women's World Cup, only the 6th tournament ever for international women's soccer. If you don't already know we were drawn into group A, dubbed the group of death (which is always fun) and it includes Germany, Nigeria and France. All exciting matches to look forward to against top nations who will surely bring their A game, and desire to bring home the Cup. In my opinion its an honor to play the best teams in the world, to not only experience soccer at the highest level, but to see how your game fairs against them. We train the way we do for those moments.
This all leads me to where I sit and write to you from...Larnaca, Cyprus. This is the third annual time attending this tournament for the CWNT and personally my second time playing in the event. This tournament serves as an important set of international games that will allow up to play games against a wide variety of teams. Its great to be matched up against different systems, styles of play and abilities of players. The hope is, after all is said is and done, that we will tactically know how to manage teams come World Cup time, so it becomes automatic in a sense. As Carolina (our head coach) always says, "There is no such thing as friendly matches" and we agree, making this tournament just as important as any other set of games we will play this year.
We played Scotland on March 2nd to open up the tourney and were able to pull off a 1-0 win off of a goal from a corner by center back Emily Zurrer. Her header goal came of a corner taken by Diana Matheson who served a perfect ball to the far edge of the six yard box. This goal was meaningful to our group in many ways as usually our forwards are the ones who bring home the victory for us. It's nice to diversify the score sheet and really be able to rely on each other to get the win. This also gives hope to all us defenders out there, we can be goal scorers too! ;)
The next game is quite interesting as we, for the first time since we've acquired our Italian staff, will be playing Italy. We have alot of pride on our coaching staff and know that this game will be an emotionally driven one for them, whether they say so or not. We are ready for the challenge and will be kicking off at 5pm local time (10am EST). For those of you who have Twitter you can follows tweets from the game live @CanadasoccerEN.
Thanks for reading and looking forward to writing to you again soon!!