Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bayern Munich Vs Freiburg

I had the chance yesterday to experience a Bayern Munich game at the Allianz Arena. After watching countless games at this arena on TV, it was unbelievable to see a game live here. Bayern dominated the entire game and we had the chance to see some great goals. The ability of the players was phenomenal. All the little things they do is something else; their first touch, the movement of the ball and passing combinations. The game finished 4-0 for Bayern over Freiburg. The atmosphere inside was also something else. The fans are so passionate, it was so loud inside that it was hard to hear the people talking beside us. I have been fortunate enough to witness some great games in Europe during my life. I've seen Manchester United play at Old Trafford, AC Milan play at the San Siro, Celtic Vs Rangers in the Old Firm Derby and quite a few more; but this definitely ranks up there as one of the best I've seen. Such a great day and experience! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Today I had the opportunity to go into the nearby town of Innsbruck and I was very impressed. It's a very beautiful city and you can see why it has such a good reputation. It was about a 20 minute drive from Schwaz to Innsbruck, so not far at all. One of the players was nice enough to take my roommate Raq and I in for the day to see the city centre and also drive up the mountain for a view of the whole city. The view definitely didn't disappoint, as we could see everything in the city. Innsbruck has hosted the Olympics twice and you can see the Ski jump along with other Olympic monuments. We were able to see the famous Golden Roof in old town and all the other famous sites around the city centre. I definitely hope to get a chance to go back again soon and explore the city some more. For now I hope you enjoy my pictures!



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Schwaz, Austria

After a few days in Austria, I have to say I'm a big fan. This is a beautiful city and a great place to be. Schwaz is a small town quite close to the German border and not far from Innsbruck. I don't think there are many more than 15,000 people living here. The football has been good so far. The standard is very high and there are many talented players in the squad. I have enjoyed the intensity of the training sessions and the coaching is very good. I have trained everyday this week and enjoyed my time so far. I'm joined here by another Canadian, Raq, who I have played with in the past at home in Vancouver. It's definitely nice to have a familiar face around. I have to admit it's pretty funny walking around town here, as we get quite a few strange looks. I think with this being a small town, everybody knows everyone and it is obvious when someone new is walking around town. As we were walking to the mall today between training sessions, we noticed a car go by and the people inside looking at us. As we turned the corner the same people were approaching us and started speaking German to us. I responded that we only spoke English and they stated they were with the police and asked to see our ID's. We were both pretty taken back by this and as we pulled out our ID's, they asked what we were doing here in Schwaz. As soon as we explained we were here training with the local team, they said OK and sent us on our way. Very strange experience to say the least... But it definitely confirmed to us that we stand out here. Tomorrow is a day off and we will be heading into Innsbruck (the closest large city) to check it out. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what the city has to offer. It will also be nice to give my legs a rest after a lot of training sessions this week. Overall it has been a good week in Austria and I only have good things to say. Hope you enjoy a couple pictures and videos I've taken so far. It's difficult to hear me talking on the videos as it was super windy when I took them... But anyways, you get an idea of what it looks like here. Enjoy!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Guten Tag

Hello from Austria!

I've made it safely across the border to my hotel in Austria. It is very beautiful here, the town is very picturesque. It is a small town surrounded by snow covered mountains on either side. The winding streets are layered upon various hills in the city. The streets are made of cobblestone and surrounded with very old architecture; its obvious there's so much history here. I will certainly post more photos later. Tonight for dinner was my first time trying wiener schnitzel. It was very good! The hotel I'm staying at is very comfortable. I haven't had a good chance to explore the city yet, as it is Sunday and everything is closed. However I'm sure I will find some time during the week.

My first week back in Europe has been a good one. I really liked it in Germany and could end up back there still after this week. I'm just taking it one day at a time and seeing what happens. I was able to explore Munich another time yesterday and see much more of the city the second time around. Germany is what I expected it to be. The people are very friendly, direct and organized. Things must be done the way they are set out to be. Driving on the autobahn to training everyday at crazy speeds, was quite an experience. It feels like you are going fast, until a car goes flying by you at 200 km/h!

One of the stranger experiences here for me happened as soon as I arrived. I walked off the plane half asleep and while waiting for my bags at the airport, I stepped into the men's washroom to find a lady standing just inside. Thinking it was closed for cleaning or something, I was about to walk away, until another guy walked by me. I noticed the bathroom was definitely not closed and she was working in there. She was cleaning and some people were giving her money. After asking someone later on, I found out this is normal here; but it seemed very strange in the moment.

Many people here smoke and cigarettes are readily available from vending machines around town. I'm sure there is a legal age for smoking, but it wouldn't be hard for someone underage to get their hands on some cigarettes. When I was in downtown Munich, I went into a video store to try and find some DVDs to entertain me during my off-time. I went to purchase the TV show "Lost" and to my surprise as I was paying, I was asked to show my ID if I wanted to buy the movie. Seemed pretty weird to me that they were more concerned about people buying a DVD, than cigarettes. I know that it wouldn't be hard for anyone under age to walk into a pub and get a beer. I have regularly seen people walking around the streets with a beer in hand. Something you don't see at home...

The culture is certainly different here, but I have to say that everyone I have met so far has been very welcoming. Anyone from random people on the street, to the players I trained with, have been really nice and excited to hear more about Canada. Being abroad and telling people you're Canadian is a great feeling. Definitely something to be proud of. All that people usually have to say are positive things. It's pretty cool that everybody either has, or wants to come visit where you come from.

Now that I'm in Austria, I'm excited to see what everything is like. I won't be able to form my opinion in less than a day, but hopefully this week will give me a good chance to see many different things. I can't wait to start training with a new club tomorrow. This is my first time ever in Austria and so far everything looks pretty incredible. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to another country through my soccer. Playing the game I love has taken me all around the world and allowed me to experience things I never thought possible.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Beginning

Hello from Deutschland!

I have arrived safely in Germany and day number 7 of the trip is coming to an end. All is well so far and I'm enjoying my time here... Let's rewind a bit and start from the beginning.

I left home in White Rock last Saturday and started the journey with a drive down I-5 to SeaTac Airport. It was a tearful goodbye at security, as I left my girlfriend and parents. Sitting at the departure gate, I was excited to get going but also sad to be leaving behind my loved ones. It was certainly a day of mixed emotions. After boarding the plane, we were informed that the entertainment system was out of commission. Usually this wouldn't be a problem, as my laptop is ready to go; but unfortunately my laptop battery also decided to die. It made for a long 7.5 hour flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. I have never been the best sleeper on planes, and as this flight left in the afternoon, that didn't change. I managed to get maybe 30 minutes of sleep. Upon arriving in Reykjavik, I realized as we touched down that I only had 20 minutes until my flight to Munich was leaving. As I frantically got off the plane, I looked for my gate on the screen and it read "Last Call". Somehow I managed to make it there just in time. I got on the plane and we were up in the air again before I knew it. It actually worked out quite well. From Reykjavik it was a 3.5 hour flight to Munich. I arrived Sunday around noon.

I have trained everyday this week since arriving. My first session was on Monday and I definitely had very heavy legs and was feeling the jet lag. It was just a technique session. These first days after travelling are always tough to get through, but I find I always feel much better the next day. Tuesday was my first chance to train with a team here in Munich. The level was very good and I was impressed with the individual ability of the players. Every single player is very good technically. So comfortable on the ball and they know how to play the right way. The training sessions are run very efficiently. As it is "pre-season" right now for the clubs over here, there is a huge emphasis on technique and fitness. I like the way the coaches incorporate both of these into the training sessions. We are usually split up into separate groups and will go and work on different aspects of training at separate times and then switch stations. This makes for much more touches on the ball and makes the overall sessions much more effective. I have trained everyday this week and felt better every single day. My sleeping pattern was kind of all over the place during the first couple of days. It's starting to get back to normal now, which is helping for sure. I feel very comfortable with the level here. I like the way that they play and have enjoyed the training sessions so far.

During my time off, I have been mostly relaxing. I'm staying in a small town about 30 minutes from downtown Munich. I had a chance to check out the city yesterday and have a quick walk around. It seems like a very interesting place. Germany seems different to anywhere else I have played. I'm looking forward to having more of a chance to check it out.

The first week is always a tough one. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss home. I miss my incredibly supportive girlfriend and parents. I have been speaking to everyone back home regularly. Luckily there is FaceTime and iMessage. Although it's hard, I came here with a purpose and goals to achieve. Without support from everyone back home, I don't know if I could do this. Between missing loved ones, jet lag, being in a foreign environment and playing surrounded by a language you don't understand, among other factors; it is never easy. But I've been through this so many times before, that I feel accustomed to it now.

Now that week one is in the books, I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next week. I feel very good physically, after training everyday this week. The training I've done with the club in Munich has been very helpful to help me prepare for what comes next. Next week I will be heading to Austria to train with a different team. I'm excited for the opportunity and looking forward to seeing how it goes. I've never been to Austria before, so it should be interesting to check out another European country on and off the field!

To everyone back home, I miss you and appreciate the support more than you'll ever know. Expect another update soon. I have taken so many photos already, so look for many more to come on here.