Hidey Ho!

My apologies for the long time no talk! Internet has been less than desirable as of late, but I’m back in business at least for tonight!

Well we played a very tough Lyon team last weekend and took our first loss. I landed badly on my ankle around the 70th minute, and, despite my best efforts to tough it out, had to be substituted shortly after. So this week I have been focused on getting my ankle back into good enough health to play in our Sunday match against Vendenheim. I tested out the ankle tonight at training and everything went pretty great, so I’m confident I will be rip roarin’ and ready to go for the game!

The match will be our first away contest of the season and I’m looking forward to it! We’re leaving tomorrow around noon to begin our 7 hour journey up into the northeast of France, and staying in a hotel tomorrow night. I’m most interested to see how the traveling experience compares/contrasts to what I have been used to the last four years at WKU. Should be a blast nonetheless..

Today was an extremely exciting day because ladies and gents, I bought myself a geetar! I bought my first guitar, thanks to my Aunt Lisa, about 8 years ago, and it became a fantastic dust collector for the better part of 5 years. Then, my brother began wanting to learn, so the thought of him being better than me at something was enough motivation to get me to finally relent to dusting off the old ax. So four years ago we taught ourselves how to play. He, I swallow my pride to admit, is much better than I, but I’m fully content with my particular repertoire of simple 90’s hits, cowboy chord, camp fire, tunes.. I have really missed not being able to pick up a guitar, since playing for me has always relieved the stresses of the day and comforted my soul. It’s nice to feel the music again! Now to find a nice little street and a tin can to make some extra Euro change.. Ha!
Looking forward to a fun and productive weekend! Thanks for reading and I hope all is well.

Libby

Happy Dimanche!

Sitting here munchin’ on a baguette thinking about how proud I am to be an alum of Western Kentucky University! Soccer, volleyball, and football all got big wins yesterday. Us Tops can be tricky!! 😉

This week in European football we trained every day in preparation for our big game against Lyon on the 23rd (this coming Sunday). Lyon will be a tough opponent for us as the team contains about 9 French national team players. I’m excited and up for the challenge!! Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve been learning new techniques that are improving my game. It’s really cool to be at this level and still be learning and improving my skills as a goalkeeper… There’s always room for improvement!!

We had this weekend off, so on Saturday I went with a few teammates and checked out some museums and historic sites. Today, I’ve just been relaxing and cleaning a bit… This week I felt a little homesick for the first time, but my day out with friends yesterday was a good spirit booster. I really am enjoying my time here in France and look forward to a good week of training!

Thanks for readin’

Lib

Football Season Begins Tomorrow

Of course I realize American football season started last week (Congrats to the Tops and the Cards by the way!).. However, Day One of the Division 1 Football Feminine League is tomorrow!! We play at home, Stade de Bellevue, at 15h00 (3pm here) against Toulouse FC. Basically, the way the league works is that there are 12 teams. You play each team twice, once at home and once away. The season runs from September to the end of May (with a break for Christmas) so we play 2 or 3 matches per month. This schedule bodes well for the old bodies.. Lots of recovery time.

The men’s club, AS Yzeure, is only amateur, so we are the city’s big professional team. In the last few weeks, we’ve had several articles in the newspaper, as well as online and news broadcasts. There is a buzz about the town and the excitement level is on the rise!

I’m pumped to begin the season and just play the game of soccer. I feel strong, healthy, and prepared. Nothing beats the feeling of Game Day!

Thanks for reading!

Libby

This lengthy link will take you directly to our schedule: http://www.fff.fr/competitions/php/championnat/championnat_calendrier_resultat.php?cp_no=283603&ph_no=1&gp_no=&sa_no=2012&typ_rech=equipe&cl_no=33057&eq_no=1&type_match=deux&lieu_match=deux

A Little Ditty About Jack and Diane.. But Mostly Just Jack

I took a jog through the city the other day. When I finished outside of my apartment I was just stretching and taking my time. Beside me was this little five year old boy riding on his oversized bike. He took a quick glance over at me to make sure I was watching, gained a good amount of speed, and attempted to ramp up over the high curb.. Well, he didn’t quite make it, but he flew through the air with style (future goalkeeper maybe). I couldn’t help giving a laugh, but he quickly looked over (now hoping I wasn’t actually watching). I stopped laughing in case he might cry, but as he lay crumbled on the ground he flashed me an embarrassed little grin, brought himself to his feet, and reluctantly went to face the wrath of his angry older sister.

I just wanted to share this little story because it reminded me of the simple moments of childhood. That feeling when things don’t go quite the way you have them pictured, but no matter how badly you might fail, you’re still going to get up, face the music, and, ultimately, get back on the bike.

I saw him a few days later successfully master the curb. I was proud of the little French fry.

Back to the football tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Libs

Language & Landscape Y’all

The Language:

French is one of the five main Romance languages in the world, including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. It is a beautiful language, however, it takes a certain ‘moving of the mouth’ skill that I have not yet mastered. My French has a bit of a Kentucky twang to it at the moment, which my teammates and coaches enjoy.

I have been here now for about 24 days and have encountered a grand total of two people who have been fluent in English. I cannot tell you how great it was to hear and have a conversation in my native tongue! The ham sandwich at the park has not been the best conversationalist.. But, I am doing my best to learn the language and lessons should start soon. I have been watching only French television and listening to French music, which is helping me comprehend. I will proudly say that French Harry Potter is just as great as the English version, and I am also getting a kick out of French Modern Family, My Wife and Kids, CSI: Miami, and Scrubs. I’m becoming a skilled lip reader.

The Landscape:

One of the most exciting things about being here is the traveling that we do for our matches. Every other week or so I’m taking a road trip through France! My teammates usually can’t wait to get on the minivan and conk out, but I put in the headphones and stare out my window to take it all in.

Things I’ve noticed so far: Many cows, but only white cows (with peculiar black patches on the rear end), rolling fields of sunflowers, corn, sweet smelling vineyards, mountains, and beautiful towns perched in the hills.

Safe to say that, besides the corn, we’re not in Kentucky any more folks!

Libby

French Food and Culture

The next couple of blogs are going to veer away from the football just a bit. I want to talk about the French food, culture, language, and landscape that I have personally experienced through both my trip last January and my current venture.

My knowledge of France, and Europe as a whole, began this past January when my good friend Lindsay and I went to Paris, Florence, and Rome. Being the first time I had ever experienced Europe, I got a good taste for the culture, the history, and, of course, the cuisine of both France and Italy. At that point, I did not realize how valuable the trip would prove in preparing me for my time here in Yzeure.

The Food & the Culture:

Simply put, the food is great! The French, among many things, especially love their cheese, Nutella, crepes, meats, baguettes, pastries, chocolate, wine, and beer! Bon Appétit!

I have enjoyed taking walks to the nearby, larger city of Moulins (MOO-LAHN), which takes about 15 minutes from my four bedroom Yzeure (YEZ-UR) apartment. Throughout the streets you will find butcheries, pastry shops, bakeries, creperies, chocolatiers, cafes, restaurants, bars, flower shops, art stores, etc. It is an interesting feeling to walk around the corner, baguette in hand, and be greeted by an ancient cathedral that happens to be at least twice as old as my homeland.

The streets of France can be a bit scary at times. Everyone drives pretty fast in tiny manual transmission automobiles. However, contrary to this need for speed mentality, I am enjoying the laid back, yet get the job done attitude exhibited by most I have encountered. I find that this suits me better.

I have also taken a liking to a little restaurant/café across from Hotel de Ville (the mayor’s house, I think). I’ll sit outside, order a miniature coffee (NO Starbucks ladies and gentlemen), read my book, and just watch, listen, and learn.. What a simple way of life, huh?! Walk to the city, sip coffee and read, stroll around, sit at a park with my ham sandwich, go to training, and hit the hay. Pretty rough!

But, through my experiences so far, I can say the French are a very proud and honorable people that have been surprisingly warm, friendly, and willing to help.

Stay tuned for “Language and Landscape”!

Thanks for reading,

Libby

Week 3!

Bonjour,Image

This weekend went pretty well! We played three 40-minute games, coming out with a 0-0 tie, a 2-0 loss, and a 6-0 win. We made progress throughout the three games and it was an encouraging weekend. You definitely couldn’t beat the scenery! We played in Grenoble, France surrounded by the French Alps, which were nothing short of breathtaking. See the pics!..Image

It’s a new week here in Yzeure!! I had keeper training tonight at the stadium next to my apartment complex (Stade de Bellecombe). After training, I took a little jog around the two cities, Yzeure and Moulins, and watched the sun set by the Moulins Cathedral.. It was a pleasant evening!

I’m doing well and feeling great.. Just missing my guitar! But plan to solve that problem as soon as I find a music store!!Image

Team training tomorrow evening. Keeper training Wednesday. Looking forward to continuing a great week here in France!

Thanks for reading.

Libby

Go TOPS!

Officially Official

I signed my contract this morning and am excited to say that I am officially a professional soccer player! I want to take the time to say thank you for reading my blog, supporting me, and just being excited for me and this experience. It’s a great feeling to know that I have so many people in my corner.

Today off. Tomorrow training. Saturday off. And a friendly in the French Alps on Sunday. My coach says, “It’s beautiful!”.. I look forward to it!

Thanks again for reading,

Libby

Bonjour!

Well, my coach informed me last night that they want me to stay and be a part of the team!!! I’m very excited and relieved to have done well these past 11 days! Today, I’ve been working on getting the paperwork in order with the club president. It’s not official until I sign on the dotted line, but this is a great accomplishment and I feel tremendously excited to have the opportunity to play with FF Yzeure for the upcoming season!

In the last few days I have continued my goalkeeper and team training. We did not fair so well this weekend and took a bad loss on Sunday, but we’ve gone back to work this week. I met my goalkeeper coach on Monday, and have been training hard with him. He’ll be a great coach for me and I’m excited to learn new ways to improve my game.

I feel as if I’ve been away at French soccer camp for the last week and a half, where everything’s new and I’m asking myself, “Should I quit living out of my suitcase and just put my clothes on the shelf already?” A different wave of emotion came over me last night as my coach spoke with me. I was bursting with emotions on the inside, but kept up a calm demeanor. When I got a moment to myself a wave of relief and sense of belonging came over me. I felt as if everything was right and it was time to unpack that suitcase…

Training tonight! I will post again soon!

Thanks for reading,

Libby

P.S. – Go WKU Soccer!!! 🙂

Getting Everyone Up to Speed!

*This may be repeat info for some..

Hello all!

Everything is going well here in Yzeure, France! I’ve been participating in training sessions with both the GK coaches and the team, F.F. Yzeure Allier Auvergne. Sessions have been going well and I’m feeling really strong and healthy. We had a friendly match on Wednesday night against Dijon, which is a team in the 2nd Division French league. Won the game 1-0. I played 70 minutes and did well in the game, only had a couple saves and mostly just play with the feet. My team is really good and it’s exciting to be on a team with such talented players all the way across the board. It’s very much fast paced, quick one touch European style football! A lot of fun.

The only trouble I’m having is trying to communicate ha! I’m doing my best to pick up the basics, been studying lessons and my French-English dictionary. But, everyone (coaches, players, staff, etc.) have been very welcoming and helpful (and patient, thank goodness).

I’m living in a 3 bedroom apartment with two teammates. It’s very nice and spacious (free wi-fi too!) and has a great view of both Yzeure and Moulins. Yzeure is basically a subdivision of the larger city of Moulins. It is very old and historic. Took a long walk yesterday around the city and saw some really fantastic and awesome cathedrals and such.

We had yesterday and today off, and we head up to Paris to play a friendly match Sunday afternoon! I’m excited for the traveling! What a great experience!..My keeper coach has been on holiday, so I have my first workout with him on Monday, and then I believe they will decide whether they want me or not.

I’m happy and so very thankful to have this opportunity. I know it will be difficult for me at times to be so far from home, but I also know how hard I’ve worked and how many people are supporting me. Family and friends are such a blessing.

Thanks for reading!

Libby