Blogs and Commentary

posted 07.11.2012 at 3.57 p.m by Connor Buczek and Joey Leonard

Training Camp, Bonding and a Great Send Off

Connor Buczek Joey Leonard

Hey guys, we're checking in from JFK Airport waiting to board our flight to Finland to play in the World Games this upcoming week. We spent this past weekend at Bryant University taking the final steps toward becoming the best team we possibly could before the opening ceremonies for the games on Thursday. Coach Pressler, President Machtley, and the rest of the Bryant family took great care of us throughout the weekend then President Makely sent us off Monday morning with a great speech about embracing the opportunity to represent your country in international competition.

As always we spent a lot of our downtime playing FIFA, but this week one of our newly elected captains Rob Zoppo, our other two captains are Steve Jahelka (defense, Harvard, #42) and Zach Oliveri (goalie, UMass), implemented a rule for our games, if you lost 5-0 you had to call your mom and tell her about it. Unfortunately Tanner Ottenbreit (defense, Virginia, #23) and myself were the first to fall victim to the rule and had to check in at home late Sunday night.

The new rule was just one piece of wisdom passed on by elder statesman Rob Zoppo. Throughout the weekend he passed on other tidbits of knowledge that became known as "Zoppoisms," a term coined by Matt Kavanagh.

One of the high points at Bryant was definitely the cafeteria staff. They took great care of us and even made us a special dinner on Sunday night to send us off to Finland. The dinner consisted of steak, shrimp and baked potatoes. It was an impressive dinner that the whole team appreciated a great deal.

Each week we find out a little more about each other and this week we discovered Mike Tagliaferri's (midfield, UNC, #14) hidden hand-walking talent. We had a little competition to see who could make it the furthest at our last practice. He won by an impressive margin and was rewarded with first in line for dinner until we got to Finland. We also witnessed Sean Mahon's (midfield, Harvard, #3) wicked Harvard smarts as he read our last blog in about 15 seconds.

After a year of waiting and anticipation we are finally heading to Finland to try to bring our seventh straight gold back to the USA. We'll check in when we get a chance to let you know how things are going across the pond.

Jay says just shoot it,
Connor and Joey

Word of the week: #smooth
Song of the week: Disco Pogo by Die Atzen

Follow the U.S. U19 team at throughout the FIL U19 World Championships. The U.S.'s first game is Friday against Australia at noon EST.