Caroline Seger calls for a crowd
I want to give you a little background of what has been going on leading up to our first WPS Western New York Flash game at Sahlen´s Stadium. A lot of our players came in March 6 to start the preseason. But our squad was not fully gathered until two weeks ago because many players have been in and out of different national team camps preparing for the World Cup. Some have been injured and struggling to get back, others have been cut along the way.
Preseason is all about working hard, getting to know each other and putting together a team full of different individuals. I come from a completely different set up in Sweden and I think I prefer to have a longer preseason. It's hard for a new team to get prepared in that short amount of time.
In Sweden, we play soccer almost the entire year. We get down to business in December -- this is when preseason starts -- then the regular season starts at the beginning of April and runs to November. We often get a month off before starting again. I'm not saying that I need four months for preseason, but something in-between would be perfect.
We had to work with the time that we had with the Flash -- six weeks to get everyone on the same page. During that time everyone basically lived at the facility. While the players are doing suicide miles, weights and technical movements, we had people behind the scenes doing everything they could to fill the stands for every game.
Playing for a crowd gives you the most amazing feeling. Walking out to a stadium full of screaming fans gives me the chills every time it happens. Just being out there and listening to a sigh when someone makes a mistake or the cheering when someone scores a goal is breathtaking.
So, for our home opener, the players felt we had done everything on and off the field to prepare for the first game for the WPS in Rochester. We -- players and staff -- were looking forward to the game.
We proudly recorded a victory: a good, 3-0 win and an important three points. It was a shutout and three really nice goals.
Unfortunately, there weren't many fans there to celebrate with us. We'd expected at least 4,000 but instead had half of that.
To me, there can't be any excuses this time -- such as bad weather, a late game or no star players. This game actually had it all. If you've never watched, don't tell me women's soccer isn't fun or that we can't play skilled, entertaining soccer. Give it a chance and then you can decide if you should come back or not. We need you for the support of the game, for the support of the players but most important we need you to be able to keep this league alive.
That being said, I'm not going forget about all of you that actually showed up. You're the heart of this club and together we can spread the word that Women's Professional Soccer exists in Rochester, and it's something you just can't miss.