Tara Andrews: The America experience

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The weekend brought a game with a tough opposition in Perth Glory. The match was played at our home field which warranted a long journey for the Glory over to the east coast.

There was a nice cool breeze as I arrived at the field for a 3pm kick off. Before we start getting ready, we all go out onto the field and check it out, you know, just to see how it is holding up from last week and making sure there aren’t any holes in the areas we run or especially where I like to shoot from.

So we chat a little, look at the grass, talk about the other team and casually visualize ourselves scoring, saving goals or making goal saving tackles.

On my way back into the sheds I saw two of our American imports fill with joy as they saw a couple of players from the Perth team enter the field. This is the opposite reaction we normally have before the game as we prepare for battle, but these girls had all played together in the American Women’s Pro-league that had recently finished.

Once I realized this, it made me reminisce about my experience in America this year in the W-League playing with the Colorado Pride. I remember when I first arrived in Colorado, I was just so excited and probably delirious from the 20-hour layover but nonetheless so happy that I had finally got there.

In the first session, I knew one girl which was Ashley Spina, who also plays for the Newcastle Jets. Lucky for us, we both got to live with the same host family, which is a strange feeling to begin with as you are put in with this family and you just make the most of these people you have never met.

The same goes for the team but with natural human interaction, it doesn’t take long to make all these people you have just met into life-long friends. The experiences we had with our team and our host family are unforgettable.

Three months of living in a different country with a family, doing something you love and meeting so many new people came to an end with lots of tears and an infinite amount of gratitude and appreciation. It really was an experience of a lifetime.

So these were some of the thoughts that came to mind as I saw these girls bond over the experience they shared.

But then the focus came back and it was game time. We went into the sheds scoreless at half time with them netting a double. The half time team talk mainly consisted of the idea of character and showing if we had it or not, so you would expect how the second half looked for us.

We came out firing, putting pressure on them and finally were rewarded for our hard work off a corner outside back post that was volleyed back in for me to just tap in. We kept working and working and got an equalizer only for it to be disallowed for offside.

So 2-1 down we went; disappointing not to get a draw but we kept fighting and showed we had character which we will take into the match against Brisbane this weekend.

Tara Andrews is a long-time striker and current vice-captain for the Newcastle Jets, despite only being 20 years old, who recently spent time with the Colorado Pride and has represented Australia internationally with the Young Matildas. She holds the record for the most goals scored in a W-League match with four against Adelaide United. Keep up with Tara’s weekly blogs throughout the 2014/15 Westfield W-League season here.

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