It was a cold November night, raining and quite windy. The grass on the pitch was very rough and slippery to say the least. It was basically a typical November night in Denmark! On this night Næstved Boldklub will be playing host to Superliga team FC Nordsjælland. I was very excited to start the game especially in the striker's position and spent the night before the game just following my pregame routine(will go more into pregame routine details in a different post). I expected my team to pull an upset and I knew I would play a big part in it, either scoring a goal or getting an assist. Training had gone well that week and this all added on to my confidence.
Kick off time arrives and the referee blows the whistle. In my first involvement of the game,I post up on the center back, get a feel of him to know exactly where he is behind me. I then check in towards the ball and then make a run deep towards the corner flag.I do this in the beginning to the test how fast or slow my defender is. 9 times out of 10 I see I am faster than him. Tonight should be a fun night!
Ten minutes into the game, I lose the ball for the first time to the center back. Prior to that my hold up play had been great and so I was a bit upset to lose that ball. As the defender goes to clear the ball, I slide tackle him and catch him a little bit late with my studs. I personally didn't think it was that bad of a challenge but of course he is rolling around as if he has been two-footed; one for the Oscars really. Yellow Card!! The referee puts my name in his book for the first time.
Twenty five minutes into the game and the match is scoreless. I was feeling sharp in my movement and in my combination play with my teammates. The past five minutes though have been a bit frustrating for me. I absolutely hate losing the ball and I think it is safe to say every professional soccer player does! I lose the ball twice in a row and this is not helping my team keep the ball and build an attack. On this particular occasion I fake a deep run and check in short for the ball to my feet. The defender follows me and I think, great, I am going to turn him. Unfortunately my first touch is not quite right and it turns into a 50-50 challenge.
As mentioned before it was a rainy night and the field was slippery. As I go into the challenge I slip and catch my opponent in the ankle. The referee blows his whistle and quickly approaches me. The entire stadium is so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. I am thinking what everyone else is probably thinking. Red Card!! The referee sends me in for an early shower. I feel the decision is a bit harsh but nothing I can do now. The fans chant my name as I walk off the field and what transpired doesn't actually hit me until I am in the locker room. I can't believe it! I phone my father who picks up the phone in shock asking me if my game got cancelled. All I can say is, 'no dad, I got a red card! my first ever red! I didn't deserve it'. We will later get another red card before half time and some how still manage to go on and win the game! It was one of the most shocking results in the DBU Pokal.
I am an aggressive player but not a dirty one. In football, anything can happen. On that cold rainy night in November, I learned that there's a first time for everything.