Tara Andrews: Time difference challenges

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Perth Glory hosted us for our round nine clash. Playing the league leaders with a long journey was always going to be a challenge; we travelled to Perth on Friday the day before our game and had a light session that afternoon to get our muscles moving after the flight.

We were quite tired from the trip and the three-hour time difference didn’t help. We all got a Snapchat that night off one of the girls showing a picture of her roommate who was already asleep at 8pm, and we all gave it to her in the morning. The bad thing about us going to bed earlier than normal is waking up at a ridiculous hour.

It’s like when I went to America, the time difference there is massive and you get very jet lagged. I would be up at 2am not being able to sleep but at 11am I would get super tired and just want to sleep.

Luckily, you eventually get used to it and America is fairly similar to Australia as a western country. When I travelled to Asia for the Youth National teams, the time difference wasn’t as much although we had a lot of other things to deal with.

Obviously you’re in a foreign country where not many people speak English, the culture, the food and the whole place is much different to Australia. It’s completely different and you just have to go with the flow otherwise you won’t enjoy yourself and your performance could be affected.

For me, the food and the heat were my biggest issues. Nearly everyone has been to Bali or Thailand for a holiday where they can have fun in the sun and get a nice tan because of how hot it is but imagine playing soccer in that humidity.

The first few sessions you have, you really struggle to acclimatise; you sweat like crazy and you just want to jump into an ice bath. You can eventually bare the heat but it is still quite uncomfortable.

Then there’s the aspect of weird food I’ve never had before or just eating rice every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It gets unsatisfying and boring or it looks too weird and tastes too weird so I won’t eat it. This happened to me when I first started travelling to Asia with the Youth teams; I found it hard to maintain my weight which would have affected my performance as I wouldn’t have enough energy and with the heat, I had no chance.

As I got older with more experience, food wasn’t an issue – the heat was still annoying though. I’ve travelled quite a lot for soccer and experienced many different cultures, countries, foods and cities which have all helped me to become better when I travel now for soccer so I can quickly adapt to the wherever I am.

And I’m not complaining that I get to travel to cool places to play soccer, even though site seeing isn’t high on the list of priorities while you are away for a game or tournament.

Anyway, our game on the weekend ended in a 4-2 defeat. What can I say, they have some great players in their team and what I would give to have some of the pace of Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord. They are lethal in attack and they will capitalize on any oppourtunity and that’s exactly what they did in transition and good old hard work to get that ball.

I ended up scoring a goal but we will need to improve for our first game against Canberra United for the season on the 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 previously held 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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