Author Topic: Rachael Axon  (Read 1694 times)

Offline Alan

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Rachael Axon
« on: November 18, 2014, 10:34:24 AM »
Rachael Axon has been a long time in Norway and is moving back to London for a few weeks before joining Houston Dash.  This is her letter to her Norwegian club, Kolbotn:

When I reflect on my year with Kolbotn, I can’t help but think, where on earth has the past year gone? I vividly remember my very first practice back in February (possibly because I am still a little scarred) where we did not touch a soccer ball for the entire practice. The session consisted of nothing other than David’s “resistance” training. Something I quickly came to realize is nothing other than running. For a moment, I thought I had signed up for a track team, but trainings soon progressed to the odd passing drill here and there ;-).

Kolbotn was initially a very new environment for me. Location wise, I moved from the very small island to the capital and biggest city of Norway. I came from a club dominated by internationals spread across a wide range of ages, to a club where I was not only one of four internationals, but also the oldest member of the team.

During my soccer career, I have been fortunate enough to play for a number of clubs in different countries and my experience in each has always been very different. You are never prepared for your role within the team until the first month in, where you start to familiarize yourself with the personalities within the team. One thing that stood out to me in the Kolbotn locker room was that there was absolutely no hierarchy. Every player is valued on the same playing field by both coach and teammates, whether you were 15 years old or 25. This is one of many reasons why I immediately fell in love with this club. In fact, if I were to describe Kolbotn in three words, they would be community, loyalty and passion.

The Kolbotn community is like one I have never experienced before. During the months of April and October, there isn’t an evening where the surrounding fields are not filled with parents and their kids training or competing against other local clubs. Many of which, I was fortunate enough to coach in a fantastic after school soccer school program called Fotball Xtra. Not only was this an opportunity for local boys and girls to develop their soccer skills, but a just as rewarding experience for myself. Regardless of the language barrier, soccer is, much like music, one of those “universal languages”.

One of my absolute highlights of the year was being appointed the coach of Kolbotn’s J03 girl’s team. I came away from this experience feeling like I had adopted 25 10 year olds. The willingness these girls demonstrated in wanting to learn (soccer and English) and the parents’ input in their daughter’s soccer careers was truly inspiring and sends a great message for the future of the women’s game.

It is no mystery that women’s soccer is a continuous financial struggle. Like many other clubs competing in the Toppserien, Kolbotn does not have endless amounts of money to pay its players. It, therefore, relies on loyalty from the players and staff involved to keep the club running. And that is exactly what you have.

Staff, such as Hege, who work tirelessly to recruit not only talented soccer players, but the right mix of personalities to create a squad. Not to mention the hours spent reaching out to sponsors and and the general public to promote the club and game. All of which, she does completely voluntarily! As for the players, the majority of which work full time jobs or attend school, they remain dedicated to the club simply because they love to play soccer and are proud to be a part of Kolbotn IL. Something money cannot buy. This makes playing for such a club easy. To know that they are willing to invest everything they have in you means you are more than willing to go above and beyond to do the same.

Within the Kolbotn community, there is certainly no one more passionate about the team than David Brocken. I have said this once before; you can be a good coach, but a bad person and do well. Or a bad coach, but a good person and still do well. But if you are both a good coach and good person, you are lucky enough to play for someone like David. You only have to be on the sideline to witness his love for the game and this team. It was an absolute privilege to play for someone like this and I have no doubt he will bring Kolbotn the success that they deserve.

Leaving Kolbotn was certainly not an easy decision. In fact, probably the hardest professional decision I have had to make to date. I am so proud to have been a part of such a young and talented Blue Army team and member of the Kolbotn community. I leave this club not only a stronger soccer player, but also a better person.

Well, to say I am a little bit nervous would be a little bit of an understatement. I have, of course, had plenty of experience playing in the US during my collegiate years. To play in the NWSL, however, is on a much larger scale. To play against and alongside some of the greatest female soccer players of this generation is an honor in itself, so I certainly expect it to be a challenge. But I embrace the challenge with an open mind, like anything, and look forward to a new adventure.

Rachael Axon

« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 10:42:11 AM by Alan »
Alltid. Uansett.