ACAMIS MATCH #2 – VS BISS Beijing

Second match of the day. Before talking about it, let me address the fact I’ve watched the two matches from BISS Pudong. Wow. They are playing REALLY well. Their center midfield (#25) and their striker (#30) are playing by music. It will be an incredible match against them tomorrow by the end of the day.

So, against BISS Beijing. What a stress! Well, they came to this match with one goal, not concede goals. They literally stayed all defending. They had their best player inside their box almost the whole game! We had the absurd of 36 shots in 40 minutes. For the second half, it was their goalie taking a goal kick and we recovering that ball and pushing forward. Repeatedly. It was up to our Portuguese brain to break through and score a goal. After shooting so much, we had a handball in our favour and Kyra took the penalty kick and scored. End of the match, 2 x 0.

I have to say something that is driving me insane here. They are timing the matches like basketball! When 20 minutes is up, they simply stop the match, no matter if we spent more time retrieving the ball or even if we are scoring a goal. In the first match, the time was up, the referee kept the game going and we scored a goal. Then the referee whistled the end of the half. The timekeeper came to me and said that our goal would not be counted because it was after the time. That’s unreal! More to come on that.

ACAMIS MATCH #1 – Vs THIS

I will write more detailed about the matches later since I want to save the camera battery.

We dominated the match against THIS. Bella touched the ball twice. Our starting line up was: Bella, Tehillah, Mikayla, Inês, Suh-Young, Sinead and Hailey as striker. The pollution levels here were 195, which made very uncomfortable to play, together with the heat (26 degrees) made exhausting to some players. We won 6(7) x 0. Fanziska (2), Hailey (3), Sinead and Alva. We were able to rotate well the team and we managed to save energy. The only player I was a bit worried was Alice. She was feeling dizzy but after some rest and ice on her head she was feeling ok.

Now we will play at 5PM against the host school, BISS Beijing.

PRACTICE #19 – THE LAST ONE… EVER

So the day that I did not want to arrive, it’s here. The last practice ever. I say “ever” because I am not going to coach after SCIS. It’s too much stress and commitment. Besides that, where will I find an amazing group of athletes like this one?

So today we started with a meeting my class to go through the ACAMIS info and plans of what we should do during the competition. After that, once more practicing tactics. This time, it was perfect! Everybody executing their role perfectly. We played three quarters of 20 minutes and I had the chance of playing with the girls for one last time. It was really cool. It was also very fun to see Hailey as a goalie for a while.

After the tactics practice, penalty kicks. First I wanted to be no goalies. I put a small goal inside the big one, leaving just two little spaces on the sides so they would be forced to take it out of the middle. The girls complained and someone asked me to be goalie. Well, I used to be a goalie a looooooong time ago so it was an interested challenge. I defied them; whoever could score two goals on me on a row, could leave. Congrats to Inês, that finally after 4 years was able to finally score a goal on me. :) I did not want my goalies to be in the goal because our turf hurts and defending 40+ penalty kicks can be very harsh and painful. Also, they need to practice taking the penalty kicks because there is a chance in the game that they will have to shoot. I already have in my mind who will be at least the first 3 takers will be.

Well, we are ready for ACAMIS.In Beijing we will have the chance of making history once more and there is no better group of athletes to make it possible. My Amazon Warriors, 7 more battles to the Olympus!

INTERNATIONAL DINNER 2014

 

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Once more, the von Wahl family offered their home to host our amazing international banquet. If you thought last year was amazing, this year was incredible! We had food from Portugal, Germany, Sweden, USA, Brazil, Korea, Italy, Netherlands and even Australia! We invited Marta and Lily to join us. Lily was our official reporter throughout the season and she kindly enough brought a Australian dish (delicious!) Bella’s mom sent as gift for the girls a pair of footballs earrings, really cool.

 

We talked (or maybe it was me, I am not so sure now:)  ) for hours, reliving the amazing SISAC league/tournament. Kudos for the “hand” performance of Alva, Tehillah and Emma. The best part (and I am not ashamed of saying) are the leftovers. I always bring it home and then have delicious food for a week. This year, unfortunately, the girls were hungry! We did not have that much leftovers! I did not see the Kaptzan’s Pulled Pork! So disappointing. :) On the other hand, Alva and Tehillah made enough pancakes to feed the Chinese population.

PRACTICE #17 – THE ONE TO FORGET ABOUT IT

This practice was doomed to not be good since the inception. The girls were eager to participate in a friendly volleyball tournament organized by a student as his CAS hour project. I don’t mind at all my athletes participating in other activities. What annoys me is the fact they would MISS my practice to do that. Other coaches strictly forbidden athletes to participate in other sports at all.

Anyway, we reached a consensus where I would finish practice early (5PM instead of 6PM) so they could go there. My main goal in this practice was to train new formations, specially hamburger one where we need to stay back all the time.

It was a disaster.After three or four minutes, Mikayla was not feeling well and asked to rest a bit. Having to adapt Inês as the third person on the defensive system was not what I expected and also some players where not with their mind in the practice. To make things worse, Kyra started to feel pain due to shin splints. It was very frustrating for me because I’ve felt that most of the girls did not want to be there and we had a GREAT chance of practicing defensive system with Marta being here. She is fast and she can dribble so if we could hold her back, it will prove that the system worked. After one hour of practice I’ve noticed that things would not work out so I’ve ended it, kind of disappointed with my athletes, which is something extremely rare.

I thought a lot what was the reason and what I did wrong and what was frustrating me. Since I am the talkative one, I’ve decided to address it. I’ve talked to the players that kind of disappointed me and explained my reasons behind the practice. They all responded really well about my concerns, restoring my confidence that we are all here with the objective to make this team the best possible. Anyway, we have one practice left and I hope we are really focused on that one. Before that, time to celebrate in our international dinner! At least was fun seeing the girls enjoying themselves playing volleyball, specially Bella (that never played) on court with her football cleats.

PRACTICE #16 – TIKI TAKA

The main challenge after 4 years coaching is to create engaging and at the same time productive drills. For me the basic thing to be a good team is passing and to have good passing, we need to be extremely confident trapping the ball and conducting it without having to look down all the time.

With that on mind, first I did a sequence of drills where the players have to “comb” the ball and speeding up with the ball as close as to your feet. We only have more two practices and I know nobody will learn anything new but with practice we can improve and we MUST improve. Unfortunately we had only one hour of practice so I could not spend too much time on that.

After this drill, was about passing, sprinting and trapping the ball, calculating the steps so you would not lose speed. Then came the fun drill. I moved the small goals to the field and they became “defenders”. I would pass (then later Inês), close to the defender and the players had, with one simple touch, take it off the “defender” and with two more touches, shot at a goal with a very narrow space. The dribble was great, most of the players managed to do but the shot at goal was a disaster. I think only one or two players got the shot perfectly.

To close the practice, we had a different scrimmage. Considering I did not have Bella, Suh-Young and Tehillah (all sick) The ball must be on the ground at all times and we could only score goals in the SMALL box so passing was key. If the ball was two palm of ground, would be a free kick. I have to say that Inês suffered a bit on that. :) I felt it was EXTREMELY productive, forcing us to really focus on passing constantly. My dream is to have our team passing like the Spanish National Team where they have almost 80% of the ball possession. We have the basic skills. Now we need to have the nerves of steel and confidence to do it.

On the worrisome note, seems that Kyra still is not 100% of her left leg. I’ve notice on her shots that was not full power. Hope it’s nothing serious. Anyway, two more practices to the last tournament ever in China and probably my last tournament as a coach too. Time to face other challenges in life and sincerely, after those four years coaching the perfect team, what else could I coach?

PRACTICE #15 – THE ONE WE LOST OUR GOALIE

Practice today was supposed to be tactics and then a light scrimmage. We started with basic drills of passing and running in a triangle. Took me a while just to lay down the cones since we had so many people to practice (Julia and MartaMessi were extras there today). We did that for long, around 10-15 minutes.

Then we practice A LOT corner kicks. After all, we scored two goals against SMIC through corner kicks. We had to practice 5 from each side with Kyra and 5 with Inês. After that, time for a scrimmage.

Screenshot 2014-04-16 19.53.20

Then, things started getting wrong. I’ve noticed my already pale Swedish Black Spider even paler. Worst, she was not shouting. Bella not shouting, something is wrong. I’ve asked if it was all ok, she said she was feeling dizzy and wanted to throw up. I told her to step out of the field and rest a little. She almost fainted on the grass behind the goal. I decided to move her to the nurse, where she could stay laying down more comfortably.

Practice followed up. Marta, playing for the red team, was driving the defenders crazy, specially Phoebe but she was not scoring so Phoebe was actually doing her job right. It was definitely a productive practice. It was great to see our Happy Viking playing well as a center midfield. At the same time the dynamic between Inês and Franziska is getting better and better.

After practice, the extremely kind and polite Bonhommes gave me and Bella a ride, so I could help her to get home. I am glad to know that Bella is feeling much better and maybe she can return to practice on Friday.

SISAC TOURNAMENT – MATCH #3 FINALS Vs DULWICH

So here we are. The best from the west vs the best from the east. Both teams undefeated in the league and in the tournament. While we came from a good match against BISS Pudong (1 x 0), Dulwich tied against BISS Puxi and went to Penalty kicks. Last year we faced them at ACAMIS twice and we tied twice (on the semifinals, we won on the extra time). I’ve watched the first half of them playing against the French School and I’ve felt they were good but not unbeatable. The French School gave them a hard time. It was a challenge but we could beat them and if we really wanted to be the best team in Shanghai, that’s what we needed to do.

We started the match with our traditional starting line up with Bella, Mikayla and Tehillah, Inês as center midfield, Alice on the right and Kyra on the left and Franziska as our striker. The game started well balanced and we actually had the first shot at goal with a slow shot from Franziska at the 2nd minute of the game. Dulwich attacked and unfortunately our Wonder Alice got hurt, hitting her head against an attacker from Dulwich but still Kyra was able to pull a counter-attack where Franziska was one-on-one against a defender and unfortunately shot the ball out. I had to call my Happy Swedish Alva to come in and actually that was great for the team, as you will see soon.

The next 10 minutes was stressful with no team actually dominating the match. We had some chances, they had some. I have to say that this was the first game that someone actually shot a ball towards Bella. We had good chances also with a beautiful shot from far away from Kyra.

Then on the 20th minute what never happened this season, ended up happened. On a side throw, Alva deflected a ball to the middle, their player 14 shot a ball, Tehillah jumped and hit her foot, changing the trajectory of the ball and fooling our Swedish Black Spider. 1 X 0 Dulwich. Seems that the only way to score on Bella is if the ball hits one of our players. It was like that last year during ACAMIS and happened again here. Before that, the only goal we suffered this season was from a Penalty kick.

Now was a moment that I made me proud. My captain Inês went to the goal, picked up the ball, and calmly walked to the center of the field, repeating the gesture of Didi, the captain of the Brazilian team in the final of the World Cup of 1958 against Sweden. This calmed down out team and gave us time to cool down and get our minds into the game. I knew with two more minutes in that half, there was not much that it could be done but just avoid them scoring another goal. I normally don’t brag about myself but I have to say something here. At that moment, Dulwich had a corner kick and I called Franziska to talk to her, already preparing for the 2nd half. if you pay attention on the audio of the video, at 20:45, you will hear me saying: “Take your time, it’s gonna be your match”. I have to say that our German Panzer is being almost a perfect striker this season. She runs, fights for the ball, is fast and the only flaw she had last year, she improved a lot this one, which was the precision in her shots. It’s been awesome! When she needs to rest, Hail Gribble! comes in and shows why she is also one of our best athlete in all sports.

On the last minute, a scary moment. We were attacking and a ball was deflected to our defensive side. Tehillah trapped it nicely and went to dribble their #14. The #14 stole the ball from Tehillah, who fell straight on her face. Normally I would not worry about my Indestructible Dutch but this time, she was limping. At the same time, our solid defender Mikayla was able to brilliantly slow the Dulwich counter attack, giving time to other players to come back. I decided to take Tehillah out, for the first time in the tournament, so she could rest and I could access the damage. Greta got in under an immense pressure, in a final match against a strong team with us losing. It’s not an easy task at all. First half was over. Time to talk to my team.

I’ve told them to simply calm down. I’ve told them that we are the current champions, we are the team with best record. They should be the ones afraid. All we needed was one goal. I was sure if we went to penalty kicks we would win. Just calm down and play our game. That’s all we needed. Be well positioned defensively and push forward. We have to have a presence at the attack so we could hold them off.

The first five minutes was only Hongqiao pressuring. Franziska had three shots already at their goal. At the 8th minute was Kyra’s turn to have a nice shot from the left side. It was almost a replay of our semi-final against the same Dulwich last year during ACAMIS when she scored the winning goal.

Franziska-Impossible-GoalAfter that, something very weird, which I never saw in my four years of coaching here in Shanghai happened. They subbed their goalie for another player that was already in the field! This spent around 3-4 minutes doing that. Luckily we had a very good referee that actually added this injury time later, which made ALL the difference as you will see. Almost also as a punishment for that, at the 11th minute of the second half, our German Panzer scored the impossible goal. After fighting for the ball between three Dulwich players, from almost the sideline on the right side,  she shot a ball on the extreme opposite angle of the crossbar and pole. Not even Roberto Carlos would do that. Take a look on this picture to see where Franziska was. It’s insane! 1 x 1.

From that moment on, I knew that the match was ours. Our spirits were high and we started to press Dulwich back even more. Kyra had a great shot saved by the goalie and Franziska shot more two great balls at their goal. Even if ended tied, I was feeling that this SISAC was ours.

With 8 minutes and a half to end the match, I took Kyra and Franziska out and put Suh-Young and Hailey in the match. The idea was to inject fresh blood and also to rest both my Glass Head and German Panzer for our penalty kicks. I was planning on having them back in the game with 3-2 minutes to end for exactly that purpose. Then something wonderful happened. Alva just deflected a ball on our defensive system. After less than a minute she was already close to their goal box and guess what? Their defenders deflected a ball that hit Suh-Young and fell on her lethal right foot. I guess her Viking blood from her ancestors have her enough energy to drive such a powerful shot that made impossible to their goalie to stop. You have to understand, this girl was on fire! Running everywhere, defending and attacking non-stop since she got in the field. From now on Alva is my Happy Viking. Way to go girl!

So, what we need to do in a final match, with 7 minutes to end, winning 2 x 1? We have to position ourselves very solid defensively. Like, almost everybody back. I mean, REALLY back. Guess what happened? They scored right after the free kick. Their #21 passed through Alva on the left side and was able to pass by Tehillah, crossed and by such unlucky situation, Suh-Young tried  to deflect and scored an own goal. No blame on her at all. The ball hit her knee and died inside our net. Seems that Bella is cursed with that since last year she also suffered only own goals against Dulwich. 2 x 2

Then the coach from Dulwich said something that shook me to the core. She shouted to their girls : “Come on girls! You are undefeated”. Wait a second. WE are the undefeated team. We don’t lose since April 14th 2012. I have players in my team for two years that don’t know what is to lose an official match. Besides that, we were 2 x 2. I was still confident that we would win at least on the penalty kicks. But silly me. I don’t have a team, I have a squadron. I have a group of fierce Amazon Warriors who never gives up. Instead of being shaken up what did we do? Attack.

And it was only us. Attack vs defence. With 4 minutes left on the clock, Kyra and Franziska went back and my German Panzer was impossible. She wanted this match more than anything. with three minutes to end the match she forced Dulwich goalie to make an awesome save. With the official time over, you can hear me shouting in Portuguese to Inês :”It’s over! It’s over! Let’s get the ball and push forward”. I sincerely just wanted to keep the ball away from Bella but I guess Franziska had a different idea. In the injury time (23rd minute of the second half), Kyra passes to Inês, our Portuguese Brain finds our German Panzer sprinting to the attacking field. She sees with the corner of her eyes the goalie coming out of the goal and with a gorgeous little touch, takes it out from her hands. 3 x 2 SCIS! Our German Panzer, with her surgical accuracy, saved the day from penalty kicks. After that, only one more minute and then voilá! Twice in a row SISAC Champions.

So now here I am, happy as a coach can be. With no voice whatsoever and extremely proud of my 14 Amazon Warriors. Special thanks also to our “veterans” Katy Ni and Marta Casanovas who came to support and help us a lot! Lily Briggs who filmed many matches and was there today to support by taking wonderful pictures of our team. Above all, thanks to the parents who were there constantly supporting the whole team. I am forever grateful for allowing me to train your daughters. There is no question that you raised them amazingly well and your support for the “wonderful game” made them champions.

I definitely deserve a sip of a delicious Port Wine from a harvest of 1972 that I’ve been saving. For my girls, here is what I have to say; enjoy this achievement. We won EVERY SINGLE MATCH IN SHANGHAI. There is no question who rules this city. Shanghai belongs to the Amazon Warriors. Shanghai is ours… again!

BELLATORUM INVICTUM!

Goals:  Alva, Franziska (2)
Assists:  Inês
MVP of the match: Franziska

SISAC TOURNAMENT MATCH # 2 – VS BISS Pudong

One more time BISS Pudong. If there is a team that has my utmost respect is this one. They have players that knows the game and loves the game. According to my memory, we faced them six times before. We lost twice (ACAMIS 2011), we tied one (ACAMIS 2012 during the round robin) and we won four times (SISAC Semifinals 2012, ACAMIS Finals 2012 and two matches ACAMIS 2013). Once more we would face them in the semifinals of SISAC tournament.

They lost, if I am not mistaken, around 4 players (graduated) and they are going through a reformulation in their team. We also lost four players but we found great replacements, keeping the team spirit and way of playing this game. Due to the last results we had against them, I was concerned they would come with extra motivation to beat us. Well, I was not wrong but I was prepared.

Once more, our Swedish Black Spider could not be black. She had to to switch her uniform to the gray one because BISS was playing with their black uniform, even though the brackets clearly said they should play with white. Anyway, it was easier to Bella to change her uniform than BISS change the whole team’s gear.

I’ve started the match with Bella, Tehillah, Mikayla, Inês, Suh-Young on the left and Alice on the right with Franziska as striker. Alva was totally recovered but I was not so sure yet about Kyra so I decided to keep her out in the beginning to feel the match first and check how she felt. Well, did not last too long to me to have a problem. With less than two minutes in the match, Alice crashed onto a BISS Pudong player and was not feeling well so it was time to Alva to go in. By that time, BISS Pudong was “enjoying the game”. Their #16 (one of the remaining players from that match from 2011) and their #30 were exchanging passes and had already shot twice at our goal. To counter-balance, right after our Viking Alva pushed the ball forward and took a shot at their goal and the best came right after. With 6 minutes in the match, our quiet Zen Defender Mikayla, deflected a ball accidentally connecting a counter-attack with Franziska. Our German panzer, in the middle of two BISS defenders, fought for the ball and gave an awesome pass to our Portuguese Brain that just had to shoot, on the ground, away from their goalie. 1 x 0 SCIS.

Seemed that our goal shaken their team. We started dominating and not even a minute later Franziska almost had a shot at their goal. My goal was to keep the pressure so they would not have chance to attack but at the same time, asking Suh-Young on the left to stay a little back to cover the hole in the midfield that Inês would leave whenever she went up.

Our German Panzer was driving their defenders crazy. They left two on her constantly. So if Franziska was under pressure, she would quickly pass to Alva and start a play on the right, having Inês on the center helping organizing everything. For 15 minutes we only attacked, without BISS shooting any ball at our goal.  On the 16th minute our Unbreakable Dutch dribbled in our defensive system, brought it up to the midfield, passed to Franziska, that once more dribbled two but passed too strong for Alva that was sprinting to the middle. But if our Viking did not get this chance, on the 18th minute she simply dribbled two BISS defenders and shot but their goalie got it, unfortunately.

On the 22nd minute, a moment of fear. In a quick distraction of our defensive system, on a throw in from the left side, their #16 found the #30 alone. To our advantage she was not able to completely trap the ball and our Zen Defender came as a torpedo and shot this ball out. The problem was that their #30 kicked Mikayla’s leg and both fell on the ground and the referee gave a free kick to BISS and it was fairly close to our box. Their #16 got the shot and… out. Uff! And that was the end of the first half.

The problem of scoring a goal early in the game is that this automatically forces the other team to come chasing us, pressuring as much as possible to score a goal and if this happens, they will have the upper hand of the match while our team will feel trapped. So what I wanted was to the girls be calm, pass more the ball and enjoy the game, stressing BISS with a passing game. I started the second half with Bella, Mikayla and Tehillah defending, Inês center midfield, Kyra on the left, Alice on the right and Hailey as the striker. With two minutes Hailey almost score a “knee shot” on a well rehearsed corner kick taken from Inês, passing to Kyra who passed back to Inês. We are practicing this a lot, I have to say.

We kept pressuring in the attack. Kyra took a long distance shot and Hailey was pressuring non-stop there. BISS had the first shot, from far away and Bella got it with no major problem. Then ANOTHER free kick, very close to our goal box from the right side. This time Hailey, on the wall, saved the day. Hailey was AWESOME this match. Her constant movement at the attack made BISS allocate at least one player always close to her. As s natural athlete, she has the stamina of running non-stop, exhausting their players.

With 5 minutes to end the match, I had Franziska to substitute Hailey as striker and from that moment on, it was just matter of let the clock run and save energy for the final. Of course Franziska was thinking differently. She wanted to score her goal. After all, until that moment she had scored a goal in every match. The problem of SISAC and ACAMIS tournaments is the fact you have many short matches in one day so it’s a dilemma if you rest a player or let her play full matches. I decide to rest and rotate as much as possible the players. Anyway, we managed to beat our former arch-nemesis. It seems that now we are totally able to face BISS Pudong without fearing them. Now it’s about resting and prepare ourselves to our fourth SISAC tournament final in a row! As a matter of a fact this group of girls had gone to every final possible from every tournament that we were involved in the last four years. I have nothing but respect for my Amazon Warriors!

Goals:  Inês
Assists: Franziska
MVP of the match: Hailey

BELLATORUM INVICTUM!

SISAC TOURNAMENT MATCH #1 – Vs SMIC

Horrible day. Rainy, gray, boring. The perfect day for our Glass Head to play football, according to her. The SISAC tournament this year will be hosted at SAS Puxi and a new thing (the first time in my four years coaching) boys and girls will play at the same school, which is cool so we can cheer for both teams.

Our first game of the day was scheduled to 10AM but since the boys had to play at 9AM, we had to be at school at 7:35AM so we could catch the bus. For me it was really good because I wanted to watch Dulwich play. It was the first time they were part of the SISAC tournament. Last year their were invited to ACAMIS at BISS Pudong because one of the original schools dropped out. I was also worried about the rain and how the field (real grass) would react to it. If you remember correctly, we had our match against SAS Puxi cancelled because of the rain, with the argument that there were too many puddles on it. I was extremely pleased with the quality of the field. It was supporting really well the rain and at least in the fields we played there was no puddle at all.

We were the first team that arrived at SAS. While most of my team went to watch the boys match, I went with some players to watch Dulwich playing against French School. It was interesting to see them facing a school with such a strong and physical game like the French School. I could notice that Dulwich could pass but nothing better than what we did. They seemed a bit faster though. Still, the French school was pressuring them constantly and Dulwich scored on a free kick.

Anyway, let’s talk about our match. We would play the 4th place of the East league, SMIC. First problem was the fact they played with the black uniform so our Swedish Black Spider had to change her uniform to the ugly gray one. Our starting lineup for this match: Bella, Mikayla, Tehillah, Inês, Alice, Kyra and Franziska.

I was stressed because if you lose the first match, all the chances from being champions are gone. Also, as crazy as I am, I really wanted us to complete two years without losing an official match. Last time was April 14th 2012. Besides that, there is always the pressure of the opening match. Well, if there was a pressure, Franziska solved it in the first minute. Under an annoying rain, after the kick-off we had a corner kick. Kyra took the corner, Franziska slightly changed the trajectory of the ball and goal! 1 x 0 SCIS .

Having 1 x 0 in the scoreboard gave all the calmness we need for this match. SMIC had one good player, their #9 who knew how to pass and had a good idea of the game. Wonder Alice was there taking care of her. We had right after another good corner kick that Kyra took and it was a good alternation between her and Inês.

We kept pressuring. Franziska fought for a ball on the right side of the field and made a nice cross to Kyra but she fumbled and actually even fell trying to shoot the ball (things that only happens to Kyra). Besides that, there was not much worthy of comment during first half. A couple of times SMIC had a counter-attack, arriving at our defensive system 2 or 3 against 2 but they were never able to shoot, thanks to the wall Mikayla+Tehillah.

The second half on the other hand, was full of scary moments. With 3 minutes, a SMIC defensive player shot a ball on Alva’s face (“thanks” Elliot for being in front of the camera so we cannot see) and her nose started to bleed. Then I did the most ridiculous thing; normally I alternate Alice and Alva on the same position. This time I had both on the field but wanting to find a replacement to Alva, I started shouting “Alice! Alice! Alice!” and getting angry because I could not find her on the bench. Of course not, she was already in the field! Kyra came to the rescue. I was happy to know later that was not any major problem with Alva.

At the 9th minute we missed an incredible chance. Wonder Alice from the right gives an amazing pass to Franziska. With only the goalie in front of her, she does not get a nice shot so the goalie deflects, on the rebound Inês but their goalie jumped like a cat on her feet. Then Franziska had another incredible chance 3 minutes later. She was all by herself, pushing forward with two defenders chasing her but she shot on the goalie.

With 18 minutes in the second half, the other spooky moment. Right after I asked Kyra if she was ok, she traps a ball and shoots outside and starts crying saying she can’t breath. This is something new, that never happened to our Headband Girl. She is simply gasping for air and cannot speak and cannot stop crying. Phoebe goes in and I ask Kyra to lay down on the grass and relax, calm down, to think about those beautiful equations from Math HL. That seemed to do the trick and she started to calm down.

With two minutes to end the match, another corner taken by Inês from the right, this time, Phoebe very smart gets a bad deflecting from SMIC defenders and pushed the ball into the goal. I am amazed how Phoebe gets into the game and always performs well! Against German school was a wonderful pass, now a goal. Wow, girl! 2 x 0 SCIS.  After that, I’ve substituted Inês, so she could rest and also because I wanted Franziska to work as center midfield. I am scared if (knock on wood) something happens to our Portuguese Brain, we don’t have another player for that spot.

I am happy because we kept the tradition of never losing the first match at a SISAC tournament. Now another tradition to be maintained; we always go to the finals of SISAC. The problem is, to achieve that, we need to beat our arch nemesis BISS Pudong. They won against YCIS Puxi 3 x 1 and will be our adversaries at the semifinals.

Goals:  Franziska, Phoebe
Assists:
MVP of the match: This match all the girls were on the same level but for her wonderful pass to Franziska and her combative spirit, our not-so-little Wonder Alice.