Friday, July 19, 2013
The regular season came to an end last night, as we beat VSI Tampa Bay FC 2-1. It was a good night for me, as I scored in the first half to put us up 1-0. Tampa levelled the game just before half-time, which set up a nervy second half. We scored the winner in the 88' minute, with a good finish from Jack Bailey. Going into last night's game we already knew that we had reached the Conference playoffs. However we needed a win to put pressure on Panama City Beach, who are behind us by one point, with a game in hand. Panama plays their final game on Sunday against VSI Tampa Bay and if they lose or tie, we will be division champions; which also gives us a higher seed going into the playoffs. So we will watch that game on Sunday with interest. Either way, we will be travelling to Austin, Texas for the Conference Playoffs next week. Having played 3 games in the past 6 days to finish off the season we are having a much deserved break, with a couple of days off. It's hard to believe the regular season has already come to an end. We've played 14 league games in the PDL and the time here has flown by. I'm looking forward to some rest and recovery over the next couple of days, and to what lies ahead for us in the playoffs.
Friday, June 28, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
As well as enjoying my time on the field in Florida, things off the field have also been great. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by a great group of guys as my teammates on this team. There aren't very many locally based players, the roster contains players from all around the world; Scotland, England, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Columbia, USA and Canada. All the players come from different backgrounds and bring something unique to the team on and off the field, making for a great mix. The out of town players live together in an apartment complex close to our home stadium. We have three separate houses in the complex, side by side. As I'm sure you can imagine there is always a lot going on. Most of our time when not training is spent relaxing and recovering. There's also a lot of FIFA being played in the house regularly, which gets pretty competitive. We have two swimming pools, so we also spend a lot of time hanging out there. It gets pretty hot in Florida at this time of year, which has been one of the biggest adjustments for me playing here. To go from playing North of the Arctic Circle in Norway, to the extreme heat of Florida, has been tough. But I'm getting more and more used to it everyday. We have run one soccer summer camp for kids so far this season and the second week of camps start tomorrow. The camps are a unique way to get to know the kids in the community and pass on our knowledge to kids looking to improve their game. One of the most enjoyable days in Florida so far, was a few weeks back when we had the chance to go to the owner of the clubs lake house. We spent time on the boats, tubing and jet skiing, all day. Overall its been a great summer in Florida so far and fantastic experience all around. I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer brings.
Things in Ocala are going well at the moment. We've passed the halfway mark in the season after a tough stretch of away games and a total of four games in the past nine days. We currently sit top of the Southeast Division in the PDL, with six games remaining in the regular season. There is still a lot of work to be done, but things are looking positive going into the final six games. Our next game is against second place team Orlando City U23's, which is a massive game for us. We only have one more away game remaining this year, which is always helpful. Luckily for us, we were able to get our toughest away games out of the way early in the season. After a tough nine days filled with games, we've been enjoying having the day completely off today and will also have the day off training tomorrow.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
I have transferred to a new club in the USL PDL, called the Ocala Stampede. The club plays in the SouthEast Division of the league and are based in Florida. I've been in Florida for around four weeks now and have been really enjoying life at my new club. It's a great set up at the club. Things are very professionally run here on and off the field. It's a great group of guys and the coaching staff are fantastic. On the field things have gotten off to a good start for the team. We started the season with four straight away games and won three of the four games. We opened the season against VSI Tampa Bay FC, and unfortunately lost 2-0. Having dominated the game throughout, this was a disappointing result for us. We knew that we had to let it go and move on to the next one. Following this game we played at IMG Academy and came away with a 1-0 win, a great result on the road! For me it was a great day, as I scored the winner in the 89th minute (see photos below). I was named to the USL PDL "Team of the Week" following the game, which was a big honour and proud moment for me. It's always nice to be recognized for your hard work on the field. I think that it was a really important win for the team, to give us some momentum going into the next away games.
Check out the PDL Team of the Week, Week 4: http://pdl.uslsoccer.com/home/724067.html
We then had the longest road trip of the season, a gruelling trip to Mississippi. We left last Thursday morning at 4am, and arrived almost 14 hours later in Clinton, Mississippi. After a light training session Thursday night, we played the Mississippi Brilla on Friday night in their home opener. We ended up winning the game 4-0, which was a fantastic result for the team. I scored my second goal of the season off of a header just before half time. Following the game we started our trip back towards Florida, however the road trip was far from finished. We had one more game against Panama City Beach Pirates on Sunday night. The team was definitely feeling tired going into this game, after a tough game Friday night and many hours of driving over the past couple of days. We came out and battled for 90 minutes again and came away with another win; 2-0 this time. After the game, we were straight back on the bus again and finally heading for home. There were some celebrations on the bus for a bit, before most of the players fell asleep for the night. We arrived home at around 6 am and went straight back to bed. We all had a much deserved day off, which I'm sure the majority of the guys spent sleeping all day.
Another highlight of the season so far was our time in the US Open Cup. In the first round of the competition we played away to Red Force FC in Miami and won the match 4-2. Unfortunately for me I wasn't eligible to play in this game as my paperwork hadn't gone through in time. In the second round we drew USL-Pro club Orlando City SC at home. It was always going to be a tough game to play the top team in the USL-Pro (one division above us) but we played a great game, narrowly losing out 2-1. Our fans for this game were fantastic and it was a great experience for the team, even though we came up short.
We were supposed to have our home opener for the league tonight, but it was called off due to a bad storm. Depending on when that game is rescheduled for, it looks like our next league game is most likely next Friday back on the road again. So far life in Florida has been great, on and off the field. I'm having a good time here and I'm really happy with my current situation. I'm looking forward to what the rest of the season brings. I'll write another blog post soon about life off the field here and what we get up to in our spare time, as well as keeping you all updated on the latest on the pitch.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I'm very excited to announce that I've signed a contract with American club, Kitsap Pumas, for the 2013 USL PDL season. Kitsap are a professional team located in Bremerton, Washington. Kitsap is close to Seattle and about a three hour drive from my home in White Rock, British Columbia. After spending the past couple of years playing overseas, I'm very excited about playing close to home this summer. It will be great to have the chance to play in front of family and friends on a regular basis. I came down to Kitsap for the first time yesterday and it seems like a very nice place so far. Pre-season started this morning and I'm very happy to be here. I think it's going to be a very good experience on and off the field. The season runs from May until mid-July. I'm looking forward to this summer!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The North American Soccer League Combine was a good experience for me overall. I enjoyed my trip to Florida and my time on the field. After a long off-season it was certainly a nice feeling to be back on the pitch and to be playing games again. The event was very well run and the facilities were top class; the grass field at Lockhart stadium was fantastic. It was relatively hot, especially compared to Vancouver at this time of year, where I've been training the last couple of months.
The level of play at the combine was quite good overall and there were some decent players there. There were players from all over the world in attendance. It was interesting to get to know some of the players off the field and hear their stories. However thats not why any of us were there. The main goal at an event like the NASL Combine is to impress on the field. Playing in an invitational tryout or combine, is never an easy experience for anyone. You're surrounded by players you've never played with before and have to play together with; even though you're competing for spots against them. At times it can be frustrating as certain players are very selfish and are only interested in playing for themselves. I've come to learn that mindset doesn't get anyone very far. Of course you want to be on the ball as much as possible, but it's very important to show that you can make the correct decisions, at the right times. I don't let these kinds of situations stress me out and I just go out and play my normal game.
The Combine was a three-day event, with three games in three days. Day One of the combine was what everyone expected it to be, slightly scrappy football and a fair bit of miscommunication from all the teams. Everyone wanted to make a good first impression and because of that, many of the players nerves were apparent. Day Two was better overall and in my opinion the best day of the combine. On a personal level it was the best day for me, as I had my best performance, scoring a goal and having a part in the other goals my team scored. The standard of play on Day 3 dropped again, but that was to be expected as there were many heavy legs out there. It's never easy for anyone to play three games in three days, but especially for players that have been out of contract or are in the middle of their off-season, which was the case for pretty much every player there. My team ended the combine with the best overall record, which was a good result for everyone. Although we were all there to play for our futures, it was a nice feeling to come out of the event as the best team.
Overall I was happy with how I played at the combine and have received some positive feedback on my play. Having been back in Vancouver for a few weeks now and looking back on the experience, I'm happy that I was invited and attended the event. It was interesting for me to compare myself to other players that have been playing professionally in North America or are trying to break into the professional game here. I'm currently assessing my different options and will be making another trip in the very near future for pre-season training. I will post another update in the next week or so on my next move, so stay tuned for the latest!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Which 10 players would you most like to play alongside? Check out my choices in my latest feature for Red Nation Online: http://www.rednationonline.ca/Articles2012/MyPerfect10RobbieTice.aspx
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I will be heading to the 2013 NASL (North American Soccer League) Combine next week, taking place from February 1-3 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The combine will provide me with an opportunity to play in front of all the NASL coaches at one venue. I'm looking forward to getting down there and getting started. It's an exciting time and I'm looking forward to finding the right club quickly.
You can read my latest column for Red Nation Online which includes details on what I've been up to this off-season, my training and future plans (including attending the NASL Combine) here: