Editor’s Note: Jordan West-Pratt is back with his 4th update from the German team. With the Iroquois not allowed into England because of passport issues, the Germans moved up the top echelon and have been fighting to prove they truly belong as the first continental European team in the Blue Division.
Welcome back fans and friends! It has been an incredible couple of days and I am going to try my best to sum it up in a single entry. Three games, three losses, yet we are so much better, more confident and harder working than when we arrived.
Since last I wrote we have faced Japan and the USA, both losses but very different in nature. Japan was our second game and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win that one. We felt as a team it would go a very long way to show that we belong here in the Blue Division.
The coaching staff had done an excellent job to prepare us; Coach Bergerson is a master-scouter and had prepared several segments of film for us so we could see what would be going on come game time. We got off to a hot start, our defense was putting a lot of pressure on the other side, and the offense was finding rhythm inside. We had as much as a three goal lead at one point, and ended the half up 8-6.
Coach has built a ground ball, hustle and ride team, and we executed very well early on. In the second half though we seemed to fatigue and as we did our execution suffered. We lost 9-1 in the second half, and gave up what seemed like an excellent opportunity, losing 15-9. We were crushed, no disrespect to a very tenacious Japanese side, but we felt we should have won that game. The feeling stayed with us all, and we talked about it through the night, fueling our determination for the next day’s game against the USA.
Playing the Americans in a game that means something, not an exhibition or a friendly scrimmage, is an idea that had never occurred to many of our players. I grew up in Canada, and had always hoped to be good enough to wear the Maple Leaf against the Red, White and Blue. Three of our players are Americans and likely never thought they would suit up against their homeland, but for the German side, a game in the Blue Division on the world stage was so unlikely as to be considered impossible. Now it was going to happen for us.
In the pre-game meeting Coach Kaley gave sound advice and helped us to put the game in perspective. We didn’t need to be intimidated he said, and we didn’t have to be awe struck or shy. What we did have to do was go out and force the Americans to play their best, force them to run, to clear and to ride as if we were any other opponent. And that’s what we did. All along the theme has been about showing our talent and ability as a team, so that the fans and players will recognize us as a legitimate Blue Division team. That has not been explicitly said in meetings or huddles, but we all feel it, we all know it, and we all want to go back to Germany, to our club teams knowing that we honored them with our efforts here.
Team USA had never shut out an opponent and we did not intend to be the first, but we were admittedly concerned about our ability to penetrate against a very tough group of professionals, backed by a goalie in Brian Dougherty who has never finished second in the World Games. In the back of my mind I wanted to do as well as the Aussies had in their game, a 21-5 loss. We came close to that goal losing 22-4, and asserting once more that we belong here in the Blue Division.
Another bonus for us was the overtime finish between Japan and England, England taking it with only 5 seconds to go. We had been a little surprised and hesitant in our game against England, but left the field feeling we were close, feeling even that we had won the game between the lines. Against Japan we were even more disappointed, feeling we had let a win slip away. But to have those teams play so evenly reassured us, and spectators believe that we are learning and getting better every day. Looking forward, we have a chance at a rematch with Japan, for 5th place, and we are hungry for that chance.
As I finish typing I am off to prepare for the Canada game today. A bitter-sweet moment for me for sure, but one I am really excited for. Our team goals have been the same all along, we want to win the ground ball battle, we want to be better after 80 minutes on the field than we were when we warmed up, and we want to make every opponent we face work hard for 80 minutes.
Will get back to you soon with an update. Keep watching on 24-7 if you can, and let me know through your comments and what else you want to hear about!
Editor’s Note: Make sure to check out the Day 4 highlights below… some solid action in Manchester right now!
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