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'Manya's Musings' Conclude as U-21 WNT Returns from Germany

Everyone's favorite U-21 international Manya Makoski has just returned from Europe where she was with the U.S. U-21s and checks in with her final journal from Germany, where the USA finished up a successful three-game tour. This time Manya muses about movie choices on the team bus, the peril of muddy fields and intense security checkpoints in Western Europe. Check back in July when Manya should be writing a few more journals from the 2006 U-21 Nordic Cup in Norway.

Our trip finished on a high note as we beat Duisberg from the German Women’s Bundesliga, 3-0, in our third and final match.

The bus ride from Holland to Germany took about two hours, which was just enough time to get in a great inspirational movie. Kendall Fletcher narrowed down the choices (from goalkeeper Cori Alexander’s collection) to “G.I. Jane,” “Miracle,” or “Coach Carter.” It was a close race, but G.I. Jane ended up the winner. Tiff Weimer really wanted to watch the movie “Mean Girls” (basically the story of her life), but Cori’s DVDs only consisted of sports movies, a couple of romantic comedies and a copy of the NCAA Semifinal game in which Portland beat UCLA. I don’t think that one would have gone over well seeing how U.S. U-21 head coach Jill Ellis coaches UCLA and Bristyn Davis and Danesha Adams play for UCLA. We’ve got to keep that good team chemistry going, you know?

A lot of the players weren’t too satisfied with the G.I. Jane choice, so after flipping through Cori’s collection again, Tiff saw that Cori had “A League of Their Own.” Tiff yelled from the back of the bus, “You have ‘A League of Their Own’ and you chose G.I. Jane?” Everyone else then started chanting “A League of Their Own, A League of Their Own!” It turned out to be a great choice as we were enthralled by the movie for the entire trip.

As we walked to the field from the locker room, we saw the German National Team goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg warming up for the game. She’s pretty intimidating to look at so I was glad I would be playing left back again. However, I guess she wasn’t intimidating to Danesha, who scored a hat trick to give us the victory.

Sorry, there were no “Swing and a Tiffs” in this game, but I did have a blunder of my own. As I lined up to take a free kick at midfield right in front of our bench, I looked around for someone to play it to. Jill told me to find Danesha over the top, so I gathered up my strength to hit it long, planted my foot, took a big back swing, hit the ball perfectly, then slipped and fell on my butt. Everyone started cracking up. I laughed too, as I stood up to get back into the game. You can’t take life too seriously, so I do laugh at myself when something like that happens, or when it happens to someone else. But this one I will blame on the muddy field.

After the game was over, we took a whole bunch of pictures with teammates. Someone would take a picture, and then we would have to look at it on the display screen to make sure it came out okay (I know, we are such girls). If the picture was to our satisfaction, we would say “Facebook!” to somewhat make fun of the recent craze of the website’s allowance of posting personal pictures in your profile. I’m not going to lie, I have Facebook, and I am not ashamed to say it, unlike some other people…(cough, Liz Bogus, cough). Don’t worry team, I’ll help her set one up so you can add her as your “friend.”

After the game, we got changed and ready to go, then hit the team bus for some pizza. As soon as I got to my seat, I saw that my water bottle had been taken. What is it with all the water bottle stealing? First, the cleaning ladies steal one from my room, and now someone (probably the cleaning ladies again) stole my water bottle right from my seat. It’s a conspiracy. I know it. All I wanted was some Gatorade.

We ended up leaving for the airport at 5:30 a.m. the next morning with a packed bus and a boxed breakfast. We were a little scared at first when we walked to our gate to see that there were no security check and metal detectors. However, as it turns out, there was a mini set-up right in front of our gate’s waiting area. Relieved to see that, I got in line. I know there was no reason to be guilty, but the man asking me security questions made me feel that way. He asked me, “Who gave you something to put in your bag? Who packed your bag? Who was in the room when you packed your bag? Who would have access to your bag?” Now, I’m pretty sure I packed my own bag, put it on the bus, took it off the bus and checked it myself. No one gave me anything to put in my bag, but I couldn’t help but nervously reply, “Ummmmm…No one, sir.”

Everyone finally got through that brutal security check. Except for one. Poor JP, our equipment guy, who is probably the nicest, least intimidating guy in the world, and who works so hard to make sure all of our equipment and equipment bags are all set, was not allowed through to our gate. Eventually he was able to get through, but not until after a vicious security screening.

After about an 8-hour flight, we got to Newark, went through customs, got our bags, rechecked them, went through security again, and Bogus and I had a five-hour layover before our flight to Phoenix. So we hung out with Katie Griffin, Kendall and Rebecca Moros until they had to leave. We went to Starbucks (of course the first thing I have to have when I reach American soil is my Grande White Chocolate Mocha Frap, double-blended, no whip). We also went into Brookstone to play with all the cool stuff they had. The massage chair was the greatest, especially after three tough games in Germany. Is there a time limit on those things? I think I broke it.

All in all, it was a great trip. We won three games, shared many laughs and managed to find many ways to keep ourselves entertained. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Thank you for reading my journal! Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue with a few more episodes as we continue on our journey to win our eighth consecutive Nordic Cup this July.

I am ready for a nap.