Sounders Season Starts Early!

*Game spoilers if you haven’t watched yet!*

This month kicks off the Sounders’ MLS season, but this morning the fun started a little early. Last year the team won the CCL trophy and earned a spot to represent CONCACAF in the Club World Cup, a tournament including the champions from each of the world’s soccer/football regions. They are the first USA team to participate with the first US coach, and today we had the first MLS shot on goal in the tournament. 

The Sounders were underdogs going in, and the MLS is not considered a top league in the world. While expectations were not high, I think most Sounders fans believed they could win and advance to play Real Madrid. For eighty-eight minutes, the rest of the world wondered too. 

It was, unfortunately, not the day for that next piece of history to be made. A messy play, a bad deflection, and Al Ahly scored in the final minutes of the game. Until that moment, I thought they could sneak one past the goalie and get the win. They played better in the first half and held off against some nice counters in the second half. For a team whose season ended in October and who only had one practice game to prepare, they looked really good out there. 

I wish those last two subs had come on sooner (my expert, “I’ve played rec soccer a few times” opinion). I think they could have used fresh legs out front earlier than that to regain some of the pressure they put on Al Ahly in the first half. The finishing was also lacking, which is the only piece worrying me. Last season, they lost too many games because they couldn’t get the shots on target. 

Overall, I feel good about this MLS season and getting back to the Sounders’ playoff ways. The first game is on the 26th, and I will be there!

OL Reign – 3 Reasons to Go

The OL Reign moved to Seattle again this season, which removed the final barrier for me grabbing up a couple of season tickets. I brought my niece and nephew to a few games and we all love the experiences. It is a shame that, as big as soccer is in Seattle, even more people are not yet taking advantage of great players in their own backyard. So, here are a few reasons to buy tickets to a National Women’s Soccer League game today! 

(Disclaimer: I am no expert, just a fan. Take all of this with that grain of salt.)

1. Great Soccer 

On every team and in every game, you will see multiple national team players and probably at least two world cup champions. I find it difficult to pick a favorite player on the team, but I usually return to Jess Fishlock. Check out these moves from the pride match: 

My niece liked Tziarra King and Alana Cook in the games she attended, and my nephew got excited watching Phallon Tullis-Joyce make saves. I could go on to list the entire team, but you can look them up here or, even better, comment with your favorites. Right now, the OL Reign are undefeated at home this season (yes, I knocked on wood), and they look to continue the run.

2. Value Entertainment

I call it ‘value,’ but you get more than you pay for with these games. All the great soccer and amazing players are available for your viewing pleasure at a reasonable price. My seats are only four rows back, nearly at midfield, and they are less than half the cost of my Sounders seats further back. You can purchase tickets for as low as $17 each, and they are all in the 100- and 200-level sections right now.

In addition to the game, you get performances by Reign City Riot, the OL Reign band. The band also marches out to the main concourse steps after the game, with the drum line playing the entire time. Then, for special events, they often have additional small performances from local artists or groups.

Another plus about soccer games is that you can easily plan your day around them. They are about two hours, start to finish, every time other than playoff/championship games. I usually grab a bite in Seattle before the game, but you can easily plan something afterward.

3. Support & Inclusivity

To be fair, I have zero scientific evidence to support this part, only my own experiences. Looking around at the games, at all the people attending with friends, partners, and families, you feel at ease and welcome. I only tick one diversity box, but I sincerely hope others feel the same as I do. 

Another piece I will mention here is related to the phrase ‘representation matters.’ I hear it all the time, and I support the concept wholeheartedly. Course correction requires a concerted effort beyond simply turning the wheel straight. I felt the lack of women leaders and role models highlighted when I was young, but the monumental weight of representation did not hit me until I witnessed the impact on my niece and nephew of seeing the OL Reign play. 

They have an awareness, acceptance, and expectation of greater equality than I ever did. We are not where we need to be, but we are clawing in that direction one generation at a time. I hope these and similar experiences help them stand a little taller and reach across barriers a little further than I ever thought possible. Take the kids in your life, and share the strengths and accomplishments of these players with them. 

Call to Action

So, with all these reasons and more, go to the website and make plans to attend a game (or two, or more!) this season. Get out there, watch some soccer, and have some fun. If you don’t know the game, I’m sure there are some new friends around your seats to help you out! 

To Sounders season ticket holders, the team is offering a discount in their latest Full-90 email for tickets to the 7/10/22 rivalry match. 

What a Week

Last weekend, I polished three more chapters of book three to send to my alpha readers. It kicked off a busy bunch of days for me, most of which subsequently had little to do with my writing. Work has been long hours packed with deliverables and meetings. 

If you don’t know much about working in finance, the first two weeks of the month are usually busy. In the first week, accounting is closing out the books with all the final transactions coming in. This week, week two, is when the data makes its way to us finance analysts for performance analysis.

I spent much of the week working through variances and presenting performance to various people in the organization. The rest of the week, and my long workdays, were driven by some capstone project presentations. These are fun because I get a chance to work with new company leaders kicking off a new role, but they are also draining.

Each one lasts one and a half to two hours, and I attended four this week. 

That all adds up to a lot of people. I am exhausted, and it is shaping up to be another busy weekend. Tonight is a Sounders game, and tomorrow a Reign game. I will be having fun watching soccer this Easter, and I will have to take my mom out later for missing lunch. 

The Sounders won their game on Wednesday evening, which means they are heading to the CONCACAF Champions League Final. The second of the two-game series will be played in Seattle, and I’m excited to attend with some friends in early May. It should be a great game. 

With all of this going on, I have two updates for you before I sign off for the weekend:  

  1. The book cover for Hidden Sanctuary is done! I will be sharing it with my newsletter first (probably tomorrow or Monday), so sign up on my homepage today if you don’t want to wait a month to see it on the rest of my accounts!
  2. The Hidden Sanctuary manuscript is with my beta readers, and my editor is lined up. If my current progress holds, I will release the paperback around the same time as the ebook. Fingers crossed!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday!

Cat Loaf

I recently learned the term “cat loaf,” and it makes me chuckle every time. I waited diligently for one of my cats to assume the position so I could take a picture for you. It took a while because it was sunny today, and cat loaf is not a sun-lounging pose.

Little Cat is now officially out of the kitten phase. She is still high energy, but she has taken to more lap-sitting over the last month or so in the evenings. Big Cat has no problem with her using him as a full-body pillow—after all, she can serve as a heated blanket for him—but he grumps at her when she starts grooming him while he tries to get his 23.5 hours of sleep a day.

My husband calls her “the president of the Big Cat fan club.” She will be playing with us, and all of a sudden you can hear his collar move in another room. Little Cat tears off, completely forgetting about us and whatever toy was in play, to find her best friend in the whole world. We think it is adorable. Big Cat probably still wonders why we thought it was a good idea to bring such a pest into his domain.

I’m glad we had friends who stopped by to help watch the cats while we were in Florida last month. Big Cat’s old-man digestive system means he needs more than just a dish of kibble left out for him. They both survived our absence with no issues other than an odd litterbox complaint, and we are cruising along.

My nephew plays outfield like my sister did as a kid: playing with dirt piles.

This weekend is all about sports and working on the next book. We stopped by my niece’s soccer game in the morning and then my nephew’s baseball game in the afternoon. Tomorrow we attend an OL Reign game with some friends. Between all of that, I’m working on the rough draft of the next book. Next week I submit book one for pre-order. I have the backmatter all set to go in the draft that will be uploaded, and I will be seeking ARC (advanced review copy) readers toward the beginning of November.

Next weekend I will share more publication information (I hope), as I believe once I have a book available for pre-order, I will be able to have my Amazon Author, Goodreads, and Bookbub pages as well because I can claim my “live” book. If all of that goes smoothly, I will share some details. If it doesn’t then I might end up sharing problems and having to just tell you “I’m working on figuring out what went wrong.” Fingers crossed!

Busy Week

I started the new job this last week. With all of the training, access requests, and new names and acronyms, it kept my brain busy enough that I stayed off of the computer most evenings rather than working on the book edits. Trying to push past a certain threshold for computer usage means sloppy or slow work for me, so I listen to my brain fatigue. 

I did complete one more chapter on Friday, and that only leaves two or three more before the book goes off to beta readers again. I plan on reaching out to copy editors at that same time to coordinate the schedule on that. I think I have a fair idea of how long the final revisions would take me. 

Saturday was a fun day with my D&D group playing Mad Mage. I was not pulling my punches, someone even took the bane of an elder rune – that is 20 six-sided dice worth of damage – to the face, and no one even dropped unconscious. This obviously means I need to up my game or they will start to think the dungeon is no challenge at all! 

With the one cursed sword picked up in the last game, they were a little more careful of additional magic item finds this time…well, some of them were more cautious. I’m pretty sure the rogue swore off caution for the day. He now has a ticking clock in his chest due to a beating heart in a box that is bound to something still in the dungeon. I hope they discover what that something is in time. Mwahaha!

That is for another week. Right now I’m getting ready to watch the Sounders play this evening. I hope they can have another amazing showing as they did on Thursday when half the starting lineup was about half my age. Kids these days are so impressive!

Go Sounders!