Tara Andrews: The little things

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We had our first away game in Round 3 and travelled up to the sunshine state to play Brisbane Roar. It’s always exciting playing away from home; you get to explore a new city and hang out with your mates before you play at an unfamiliar field in front of a not-so supportive crowd.

Game day was upon us and kick off was at 4pm this week. We had to check out of the hotel at 12pm so we had a couple of hours to kill. We all gathered in a meeting room, had some lunch, chilled out, talked tactics and watched some specific game footage from last week.

Our coach, Pete McGuinness, quickly showed us footage of when walked out onto the field, lined up and high fived each other, the smiles we had on our faces and also our huddle before kickoff when we were all laughing. We all had a bit of a laugh about the huddle because we were discussing whether to say ‘team’ or ‘Jets’ on the count of three so when we went to say, it half said ‘Jets’ and the others said ‘team’.  Kind of silly I know, but still funny.

We got to the field and checked out the pitch and heard all this cheering and chanting; naturally we thought it was all for us, but it wasn’t. We peaked over the hill to the field next to ours and realised it’s the Brisbane Roar’s men’s team launch day. This was fuel for excitement and fire in the belly to beat them at their home field.

Back into the change rooms for our pregame talk and Pete mentioned the footage of our high fiving before the Melbourne game. He reminded us of the smiles on our faces while we performed the American tradition. Being reminded of having so much fun took me back to my early days of playing soccer when I had no worries, no pressure and you could just have fun playing a great sport with your best friends.

Sometimes as an elite athlete training all the time, constantly making sacrifices to achieve higher successes, you forget the initial motivation behind why you started playing and why you are still playing.

For me, it comes back to the passion, excitement and joy soccer brings me. When I have nights off training it hits me, I get bored and realise I really couldn’t live without playing soccer or sport in general. Some people don’t understand it but it is a lifestyle for all professional sports people and I’m sure nearly all would not choose a different lifestyle.

Off on a tangent but back to the all-important game against a team of players who have all played in or are currently squad members of the Matildas. The final whistle went and it was a 3-1 loss to us.

It was a good contest and we now know the level we have to be at to really make a mark in the W-League.

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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