Thursday, October 28, 2010


When I came over to the Netherlands, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know any of players that soon would become my teammates. I didn't know anything about the area I was going to live in. I knew little about the family I was going to live with. In a sense, I just trusted and hoped that everything would work out somehow.

Fortunately it has. In fact, I have been told many times how lucky I am to have joined the team at HGC. Although HGC finished as one of the lower seeds in the league last season, the team this year has quite a few new players and whole new outlook for this season. There is still a lot of potential that has yet to be obtained and although we haven't had the best start to the season, there are many games left to be played and we are headed in the right direction.

What has been most surprising to me though is just how close everyone is on the team. With players living all over Holland and commuting to and from the club, as well as a variety of age ranges and new players, I only assumed that the team would naturally be a bit divided outside of hockey. This is not the case. Personally, I have spent time with almost all of my teammates outside of hockey. Whether it be to grab a bite to eat, go to a movie, go see some other hockey games, or just hang out, I can always find something to do with someone. It has definitely made my transition to a new lifestyle and a new team much easier. Plus, it has been a lot of fun! :)

Another reason I was fortunate to join HGC as opposed to many other clubs was their openness and welcoming of foreign players. It will be the 3rd year that players from New Zealand have been on the team, so all the girls are used to speaking a lot of English. This made it much easier when I came in, plus there are other girls (the Kiwis and a girl from Northern Ireland) on the team who always speak English! There are other clubs that aren't as inviting to foreigners and others that just aren't used to having them, so they forget to speak English. (Good thing for me everyone here knows English pretty well so I don't have to worry too much about communicating with anyone!) So in that respect, communicating with the team is pretty easy. Although, sometimes I like when they speak Dutch so I can try to figure out what they are saying! Occasionally they ask me simple things in Dutch just to make me figure them out! But it's all in good fun so I can learn! :)

All in all, I feel very fortunate to have to opportunity to play in Holland, live with a great family, and be a part of an awesome team. Don't worry, I can't wait to come back and play for the red, white, and blue every chance I get! And I still miss all my teammates from back home!

Just have to give a little shout out to all my US teammates... ik mis jullie! ... or I miss you!!!

A Day with the Kids

After all the excitement of the weekend and meeting up with all of the Americans, I needed a few days to relax and recover. Fortunately, that is just what I got! The family that I live with was actually at EuroDisney in Paris for a few days because the kids had a week off from school for a fall break. Without any responsibilities at the house, I was free to sleep in and come and go as I pleased. Ultimately, I decided to just take the time to relax since most days I am constantly on the go. I also took the time to catch up on some TV shows online that I have missed the past couple months! Mostly Dexter!!

The family returned Wednesday night and although I normally have Thursday off (since the kids are at school and the youngest that I normally watch, Quinn is at daycare), the kids still had off from school so they were home. It was actually a really nice change of pace though because I'm used to chasing around Quinn, who is only a year old, and instead I could actually play and interact with the older two (ages 5 and 8) which I don't get to do as often. The morning was spent drawing. At first we were just doodling, but once the kids found out I'm pretty decent at sketching cartoon pictures, I was then asked to draw everything from Scooby Doo to Minnie Mouse, a monkey, a cat, a dog... and just about everything in between! Finally I convinced them to try for themselves, and I was quite impressed at how well they turned out! My favorite was Declan's Daffy Duck! (say that 5 times fast!) After some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, we needed to something a bit more active, but of course it was cold and rainy outside! Lilysky then asked if we could go to the pool. I was pretty confused why anyone would want to swim in that weather, but quickly learned that there is an indoor pool right down the street from the house! So we hoped on our bikes and headed to the pool! I was impressed with the brand new facility, complete with a slide, lazy river, hot tub, diving boards, kiddie pool, and separate lap pool. The pool was heated as well! As the kids proceeded to go up and down the slide what seemed like a hundred times, I got a nice little recovery workout in, kicking and shaking my legs out. Just what I needed! I never really thought to go to the pool on a cold, rainy day (especially living in Southern California!), but as it starts to get colder here, the pool just might be where I head on those days!

Although I always seem to find myself around kids, being around them day in and day out gives you a new perspective on a lot of things. They see things very simply, but have a lot of energy and are eager to learn. Ironically, this is the same way I have approached hockey here. Often when things go wrong on the pitch, or in my case I'm playing in a completely new team, if you just keep things simple- doing the simple play or simple pass- the game begins to open itself up and everything becomes more clear. Along with that, I always have to bring a lot of energy and an eagerness to learn. Part of the reason I came here was to become a better hockey player. To do that, I have to put in the work and the effort every time I am on the field. I also have to keep an open mind and learn from the new style of play, different tactics, and players around me. If I can mimic the mind of child, by not over thinking things, there is no limit to what I can continue to do on the field.

So as much as I can teach these kids, every day they teach me and remind me that sometimes it is best just to keep things simple!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


There are quite a few American's playing over in Europe this year, and I have gotten a chance to see most of those that are in Holland. A few of the men's players are in Belgium (Jon Ginolfi, Kevin Barber, and Will Holt) and as you already know (by following the other blogs!!) Katie Evans is in England. This weekend we decided to all meet up in Amsterdam!

...but first I had a game on Sunday against Rotterdam! Our team had been building a lot for this game and with the Kiwis back, we had new motivation and firepower and wanted to leave it all on our home pitch. I was particularly excited to play Rotterdam because Chilean National Team player Paula Infante plays there and I couldn't wait to take her on again! (She played at the University of Maryland while I was at Wake Forest so I've played against her a lot in the past). It was nice also to see another familiar face!

We came out firing and played one of our best halves of hockey in the first half of the game. We took the lead late in the first half off a counter attack goal, but unfortunately gave up a goal with no time left on the clock on a corner. Although we were tied at the half, we knew we had the game within our grasp. We came out even harder in the second half, but Rotterdam quickly capitalized on a chance early forcing us to fight from behind. Shortly thereafter we found the back of the boards on a corner of our own. With the momentum in our favor, we continued to create chances and put pressure on their defense. With minutes left in the game, we scored, but the officials called it back saying it hit a foot (which of course we didn't agree with!!). A bit of an unlucky break! Although we fought hard and put some good passages of hockey together, we ran out of time before we could add another to the scoreline. Even though a draw is not what we had hoped for, we did get our first point moving us up a few spots in the standings, and it was a big step in the right direction. The season is long and we just need to keep moving forward!

Most of our team decided we should celebrate our first point because it was hard to come by! We went over to a neighboring club (KZ) for a bit because they had a DJ and were hosting a party for the evening. I didn't stay too long though because I had to meet up with the Americans!!! When I got to Amsterdam, Katie, Jon, Kevin, Will, Pat (Harris), Colin (Scally), Lauren (Powley) and Maureen (Daniel) were already there! It was so amazing to see all of us in one place! Pretty cool to all meet up together overseas and catch up on all of our experiences so far! I definitely enjoyed having all English speaking people around for one night as well!! I had to head back early Monday morning, but the others got to spend Monday in Amsterdam! What fun!! :)
... Katie will have a great video coming soon of the weekend!


Sunday, October 17, 2010


This weekend is the opening weekend for the EHL (European Hockey League) and the first round is being hosted at Oranje-Zwart in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. For those of you unfamiliar with the EHL, it consists of the top teams from different European countries. This year's league has 3 teams from Holland, including the men's side from my club, HGC! HGC is also fortunate enough to have their first round games at OZ, so they have somewhat of a home field/home crowd advantage.

Although all the games can be viewed online as well as on television here, I jumped at the opportunity to go see the games live, and of course support HGC! Yesterday I took the 2 hour trip down to Eindhoven with a teammate and our coach and watched HGC blow out a team from the Ukraine, Olimpia Kolos Sekvoia, 9-2. Although not the best game since it was so lopsided, it was still fun to watch our guys score lots of goals! I would love to watch them play again today, but we have our own game at home against Rotterdam!

Hup HGC!

Corner for HGC:

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Kiwis are Back!!

After much anticipation, I walked into the lockerroom tonight to see the two legendary Kiwis, Krystal Forgesson and Emily Naylor, fresh off their Silver Medal performance at the Commonwealth Games. First, I must say congrats to both of them!! Well done girls! I was excited to finally meet the girls I have heard much about over the past few weeks. Only their first day back and I could already see their impact as my teammates began to trickle into the lockerroom. Everyone was excited to see them and I could tell they play a big role in the team. This made me excited as well, knowing that we finally have our full team together for the season!

Although I'm sure they were jetlagged and exhausted from a hard fought tournament down in Delhi, India, of course they still wanted to practice! Emily is a defender/midfielder and Krystal is a striker. Both are very skilled, smart players. I could already see the positive impact they brought even to just one practice.

I hope this is the extra spark that will ignite our team to finally get in the win column this weekend. Another home game with the crowd behind us and our team at full strength, Rotterdam better be ready for all HGC has to throw at them on Sunday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sometimes we just need a little down time to relax. "You call it being lazy, I call it recovery." Funny, but it is so very true for athletes! Last week was a bit uneventful for me and a more relaxed week. After a busy weekend, I decided to take the remainder of the week to rest and fully recover for our next game against Oranje-Zwart. I got a lot of reading done, including finishing one James Patterson book, and starting another! I also made a trip to the beach which was refreshing and very relaxing as well.

Sunday was game day though. I was ready to go. It was time for HGC to get it's first win in our home opener for the season! With the club crowded around the field, we entered through the tunnel of excited young HGC hockey girls. Surrounded by a sea of black and blue, we wanted to leave OZ remembering those colors (on and off the pitch).

Despite the support, we found ourselves struggling to connect throughout the first half. Tina Bachmann, a German National team player, scored off a nice drag flick to leave us chasing a 1-0 deficit at half time. We came out firing in the second half, but still couldn't seem to connect in our attacking third. OZ held on to the lead, leaving us without a win on the season. Although only our second game and a lot of season left to play, it is frustrating not to get the wins we are capable of. You could see the disappointment on our faces post-game and I know personally I don't want to feel that way again. I think it was a little bit of an eye-opener and added motivation for our team.

Tonight we have a game against HDM, who is considered our rival since their club is about a mile from ours. I think we are ready to turn our season in the right direction. I think a night game against our rival is just the game to do it!!

More updates to come!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Season Opener and More....

Saturday: Leidens Ontzet

On Saturday, I went with Kim into Leiden to check out the festival called Leidens Ontzet that I had heard so much about! To give a little background, it is a celebration of the liberation of the city from the Spanish in 1574. The festival lasts for a few days, but always ends on October 3rd. Since we had our first game on Sunday, we obviously couldn’t go then, so on Saturday we ventured on the train from Den Haag some ten minutes to Leiden Centraal. Never having been to Leiden, we were a bit unsure of where to go exactly, but as we walked out of the train station, carnival rides and fair attractions were right there to greet us! It actually looked like a fair or carnival that you would find in the US. They had all sorts of rides, a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, rides that go upside down, mini roller coasters, bumper cars, and more. There were carnival games such as basketball and the water gun shooting, but they had a few new unique ones too. Kim and I liked the one where you had to throw a ball to break the moving plates! Also, they had one with a real bow and arrow you had to shoot to pop balloons. Very interesting! Of course there were lots of food vendors which had a variety of Dutch treats and we had to try a few of those as well! Very delicious… super lekker! There were some clothing, jewelry, etc. vendors as well. You could find almost anything you wanted at the festival! It was really fun until it started to rain, which was bound to happen here in Holland! So Kim and I ducked into a cafĂ©, met up with Lizzie (a teammate from HGC who goes to University in Leiden) and Maureen Daniel (who played for the US Developmental Team) and had a few drinks before we headed home. All in all, it was a fun-filled, adventurous day in Leiden!

Sunday: GAME DAY!

Game days are my favorite days…. especially when it is the start of a new season! After graduating from college, you don’t really have a season while playing for the US team. We go on tour or go to tournaments, but we also play games in groups. I’ve missed having a game every week! Our season opener was against Laren, one of the top teams in the league. They have 4 Dutch Internationals along with a few from other countries, including the German captain. Naomi van As, who played with Rachel Dawson at KZ (Klein Zwitzerland) last year now plays for Laren as well. The game started out at a very high intensity which never really dropped the whole game. The first half we came out strong, but Laren was a bit more focused. They took the 1-0 lead into half time off a stroke which was called when a corner strike hit our post player’s foot. Still in the game, we came out fired up for the second half, ready to give Laren a run for their money. We picked up our intensity, energy, and pressure in the second half and looked really good for periods. After Laren finished on a beautifully executed corner midway through the half, we found ourselves down 2-0 with a bit of work to do. We created a few chances including a 2v1 on the goalkeeper and a corner, but we couldn’t convert. Laren then took advantage of a mistake in our backfield and put the game out of reach at 3-0. It was a frustrating loss and start to our season, but to a very good team. Indeed, we did some things well that we hadn’t yet done in our practice matches, and although the score line is not what we had wished, I still think it is a good starting point and motivator for the season.

After the game, I got to see Pat Harris (US Men’s National Team player) play for a bit because he plays for the men’s side at Laren. Although I only stayed for the first half, I did get to see him score a goal!! Very exciting and I let everyone know he is an American! 

Sunday night was just what I needed after a hard day’s work on the field. Pizza and Sunday night football!! And when I say football, I mean American Football! There is a sportsbar (which are rare here) in Den Haag only a couple miles from where I live. I went with Kim, Moei, and one of my Dutch teammates Sophie. Even though my team (the Panthers) wasn’t playing, it was so nice to sit and watch ESPN and some football- American style! I will definitely find myself there many more Sunday nights to come!

Monday: Delft

I had some free time Monday morning and decided to do some more adventuring! Delft is a little town just south of Den Haag. It only takes 10 minutes by train. Kim and I decided to go see what this quaint canal town had to offer. Colin Scally (another US Men’s player) and his sister Jackie who is visiting also came along. The cute little town of Delft has a bit of history in the Churches, along with delftware which is the famous blue and white pottery. There are delftware shops on every corner too! The most notable buildings, the new and old church, can be seen from a distance. Town hall also stands across the square from the new church. The best and worst part of the trip was the new Church because it has a tower that you can climb with gorgeous views. The only downside to this was the actual climb. A small spiral staircase of what seemed like over 500 steps takes you to this magnificent panoramic view. It was clear today so we could see both Den Haag and Rotterdam from the top. It was pretty amazing! And in the end…. worth the burn of the climb!

It’s been another busy week/weekend and I am exhausted. I’m off to bed early tonight and going to take it easy the rest of the week in my down time. Have to be ready for next week’s game because it is a must win for us! More to come from over here in the Netherlands… hup HGC!

Canal in Leiden:

Fresh food at the festival in Leiden:

Carnival rides in Leiden:

Canal and Old Church in Delft:


View from the top of the Tower:

Me at the top of the Tower:

Delftware store: