The NWSL season was great, but nothing beats coming home
It feels so good to be home. I got back last week and have been settling in, unpacking and re-organizing everything in my house and looking forward to the next 6 months at home. After a long season and living in Buffalo there is no better feeling than returning home to familiar surroundings and being around the people that are special to me, dining at my favorite restaurants and chilling out with my boyfriend Brian!
It was special competing in the inaugural National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season. My team, the Western New York Flash, made it all the way to the final. We unfortunately lost, going down to a star-studded Portland Thorns team. Over the course of the season we played consistently well and finished first in the standings. We won the semi-final but just couldn't find our rhythm in the final. There were a lot of lessons learned that will improve us next season.
Personally I had a solid season notching up 10 goals in 16 games and improving my overall game. I had the opportunity to play attacking mid for the entire season, which gave me freedom to get into the box often and attack as much as possible. I really enjoyed my team. We created a special bond and were super close off the field. It is always special to be a part of a team that is close off the field and successful on it. My plan is to return to the Western New York Flash next season in March for preseason.
The months ahead are precious for me. I'm taking some time off but then will be spending most of my remaining time at Universal Soccer Academy where I will be rebuilding my game. I need to start preparing for the upcoming US National team games. We are scheduled to have a 3-week camp in October with 3 games. These games will be important to us as we are preparing to qualify for the 2015 Women's World Cup, which will be held in Canada. Our coach, Tom Sermani, is doing a great job blending in young players with experienced players and we are really beginning to feel more and more confident under his leadership. Our goal is to win the World Cup and we all need to be ready. My eyes are already set on becoming a world champion and the training I put in today will help me come World Cup time.
This week was special for all us soccer junkies. The US Men's National Team qualified for the World Cup. I'm so happy for them! They have worked tirelessly over the 3 years and after a tough campaign they finally clinched a spot for Brazil 2014. Having them there will help our game grow, as I'm sure people that have never watched a World Cup will be caught up in the hype. I know a lot of the players on the team and to be able to watch them next June will be a spectacle. I know what it feels like to represent your country, but competing at the men's World Cup is the pinnacle of all sporting events. I am truly happy for our men and for the game of soccer here in the USA!
As I stated in my last blog, one of the things I was looking forward to when coming home was watching the Philly pro teams. Of course I watched the Eagles play on Monday. Although I was away I stayed up to date on the coaching changes and player changes and was wondering how they would fair once the real games started. WOW! They got off to a flying start and I'm really looking forward to watching them play this season. I will be headed to watch the Phillies in the next few weeks and I am looking forward to that!
Thanks to those who have followed my blog throughout the season and thanks to those that have taken the time to reach out to me through my website carlilloyd.com. I am looking forward to keeping this blog going throughout the off-season!