Trainingsstage - VC Moldavo

You’ll never forget the scent of 26 soaking soccer cleats: training camp in the Ardennes

On the long list of things that are new to me since I no longer play in the 5th Division, I can now add going on a training camp. Last week, it was time for Moldavo’s annual training camp in the Ardennes. But even before we left I faced some problems.

I found out that when you have no idea what to expect, it’s hard to prepare. Because how many pairs of soccer cleats will I need? Will we have the ability to wash our clothes or should I bring a new set for every practice? And what in God’s name are those ‘pink and yellow stickers’ the coaches talked about in their e-mail about what we have to take with us?

With a suitcase full of sports bras, shoes for every kind of weather condition and some slight nerves I got dropped off at Moldavo’s facility last Monday. In three vans we drove from Mol to Cierreux, a small town close to the Belgian border with Luxembourg. After a drive of almost two hours we immediately had our first practice, and because I failed to put my soccer gear ‘at close reach’, in spite of clear instructions to do so, I rolled my huge trunk into the dressing room of local soccer club SC Bovigny. I had to do some digging between bed sheets, toothpaste and phone chargers.

Trainingsstage - Training camp - Kleren drogenA scent to never forget

In the five days that followed we trained five times, and because the rain was pouring down from time to time, hanging our clothes next to the heater wasn’t enough to get everything dry in time. The scent in the small cloakroom downstairs, where 26 soaking soccer cleats, running shoes and slippers were stored, is one that I’ll never forget.

Besides training a lot, there was of course time for some teambuilding, which came in the form of rafting, accrobranche, and the ‘Games Without Frontiers’, in which we tossed eggs to eachother, built houses of cards and dipped our faces into buckets of water and flour. And how do creative soccer women wash flour stains out of their clothes? Precisely: fill up the bath tub, add some shower gel, and just let it soak for a few hours…

But perhaps the newest thing about the whole experience was how well everything was organized. People cooked for us, breakfast and coffee was ready every single morning, and our loyal vans drove us from one activity to the next. Oh, and about that coffee… Besides my usual title of ‘that Dutch person’, it lasted less than 48 hours until my teammates found out about my pretty serious caffeine addiction, and started keeping a tally in the morning about how many mugs I’d had so far. But okay, I’ve had much worse reputations…

Goody two-shoes

Where they got the energy from is a mystery to me, but while my teammates did a few rounds of Just Dance on our last night in Cierreux I decided to go to bed at half past ten. I was exhausted. My very first training camp had been a wonderful experience, but because of all the training, activities, and new impressions I couldn’t imagine a better last night than going to bed at a reasonable hour. Sometimes I surprise myself in how much of a goody two-shoes I’ve become…

Trainingsstage - Training camp - Moldavo - OH LeuvenAfter a long drive back the following day, during which everyone took a much-needed nap, and eating spaghetti together, we ended our training camp on Friday with a friendly match against OH Leuven, a team from the Super League (the highest Belgian division). I got to play 75 minutes and was everything but spectacular, but even that couldn’t stop my good mood. We surprised everyone by beating them 1-0, and when my dad drove me home I was talking non-stop. Training, eating, sleeping: a rhythm I definitely can get used to. But first, it’s time to get everything to dry and to see if I can get the flour stains out of my best training shorts…

Thanks for reading, talk soon! 🙂

Emma - Signature




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