Lexi Watkins: I would like to thank you for the opportunity I had this weekend at Dec. Mini camp. I really hope I make the National training team. But if I don’t I’m grateful for the experience of competing at this level. I feel like this is one step closer of achieving my dreams. I enjoyed the class room training as well as the games. I was very excited to meet Nicole AKA Barney who played for the National team the past 10 years. This has always been a dream of mine and I loved hearing about her experience in making it to the NWT. Lastly I enjoyed my time with my Indiana ODP teammates they are awesome players and better friends. I can’t wait to come back to training as a stronger and better player .
Kate Weber: My experience in Kansas City was very nice. On the Friday before the weekend full of soccer, my dad picked me up early from the middle school I attend in Valparaiso (7th grade). We drove for about 9 hours and arrived around 8 p.m. We checked into the hotel, went to Culvers, watched some NBA basketball and went to bed.
The next morning we ate breakfast with Grace, and her dad before driving to the soccer complex. The complex was very nice and had eight turf fields. This was another reminder about how spectacular Grand Park is as it seemed small in comparison.
Coach Dave eventually gathered everybody up and had us do a quick warm
up before starting. The initial goal was for the team to work on building out from the back with tempo. I played center back the entire time and struggled initially with the limit of one or two touches for the defenders. Eventually, this made me I think ahead before getting the ball, which was the purpose of the drill.
Between sessions the ODP coaches and administration met with players and parents at a nearby Dave and Busters. They focused on many of the things discussed at Indiana and Midwest ODP and focused on different ways of achieving goals.
After a quick lunch we returned Saturday evening for the second session which included a scrimmage of 2005’s against the 2004’s age group. I played okay but had more mistakes than good plays. I definitely struggled on adjusting to the position of center back after playing midfield all fall. Every hesitation cost me with the increased pace of play.
Following the second session, we went to dinner with Grace, Lexi, and their parents at a brick oven pizza place. We went shopping afterwards at Legends mall and had a great time just hanging out. I know Grace really well because we play on the same club, so it was great to get to know Lexi and her mom better too - they are very nice.
On Sunday we only had one training session and started with a warm up activity emphasizing quick decisions. We scrimmaged next and the defenders had a two touch limit again. After Saturday’s difficulty I felt I adjusted really well. I played a lot better on Sunday and definitely had more good plays than bad plays.
After the training session, Grace, Lexi, and I took a picture with Nicole Barnhart, who was working as a goalkeeper coach at the camp. She used to be on the United States Women’s National Soccer Team and still plays professionally.
Before heading home, we stopped for lunch at Freddy’s Burgers, a well
known franchise in the Kansas City area, and ran into Grace and her dad. We made the long drive in just over eight hours this time, which allowed plenty of time for me to do about three hours of homework while driving. We finally returned home and I was so tired I went straight to bed - after answering a bunch of questions from my mom and sister. In conclusion, Kansas City was a very good experience for me. I was able to play against really good competition, see different types of coaching styles and spend time with friends and family.