The Menace gets ready for training on Monday, June 13 in Winnipeg.
The last time we heard from Menace intern Lindsay Stoner, she shared her behind-the-scenes view of the team’s successful swing from Des Moines to Thunder Bay and on to Winnipeg. This entry picks up where she left off in the first installment of Road Journals.
MONDAY, JUNE 13
8 a.m. – Megan and I woke up with a full morning planned for us since we technically didn’t have anywhere to be until 1 p.m. However, not surprising, our plans were immediately changed. The coaching staff wanted our dinner plans switched from Boston Pizza to Sorrento’s, thanks to a suggestion from the Chicago Fire U23 team, so we had to call and fix that.
11 a.m. – We also got really lucky and got the great opportunity to do some of the boys’ laundry (Matko’s included). Greg, Megan and I ventured about 10 minutes away from our hotel to a small laundromat, where we had to wash, sort and fold all of their clothes.
1 p.m. – We had a little break after doing their laundry before the team whisked off to training. A little mix-up on which field we were supposed to be using caused a bit of trouble on mine and Megan’s part, but we got it figured out. The team trained for about an hour on the field they would eventually play on the next night.
2:30 p.m. – A major problem erupted when we realized we had no way to get directions to Pita Pit after training – our cell service decided to go out completely. Quick thinking by Megan resulted in us calling the other Menace intern, Alex, and having her give us directions there. Thanks, Alex! The drive to Pita Pit was a scenic route around downtown Winnipeg, which was similar-looking to Des Moines.
7 p.m. – Per Chicago’s suggestion, we drove to Sorrento’s, which was a small family-style Italian restaurant, for our dinner and all I can say is wow. The food was delicious and the staff was accommodating. It definitely had to be Matko’s favorite restaurant on the trip.
8:30 p.m. – After dinner, Leigh had the genius idea of going to find a Tim Horton’s. The coaching staff, Megan and I walked through what would probably be considered the rough part of Winnipeg all for some coffee and donuts – I’m telling you, these donuts were irresistible!
TUESDAY, JUNE 14
Our last and final game day of the Canada trip! As much fun as I have over the week, it was nice knowing that we were headed back to Des Moines after this game.
10 a.m. – While the team went on a walk around town with the coaches, Megan and I got all the uniforms ready to be picked up from our room. We folded all 21 jerseys nicely and laid them out on our beds.
2:30 p.m. – Since everyone was so pleased with the food and service at Sorrento’s we decided to go back again for our pre-game meal. We had another birthday celebration: newcomer Jake Leeker turned 21. Matko led the singing this time, I think the food really put him in a good mood. On the way back to the hotel, he even decided to tell the team a joke, which was actually really funny.
5:15 p.m. – The whole group packed up all our bags and we were off to the soccer complex. It’s crazy how different our home stadium (Valley Stadium) is compared to other team’s stadiums. I definitely feel very fortunate to be working for the Menace.
9 p.m. – A 6-0 victory over Winnipeg was the icing on the cake to our Canadian road-trip! The whole team was in good spirits and were ready to head back to the US.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15
2 a.m. – We made the last stop before the whole team (and Megan) fell asleep for almost the entire duration of the drive. Matko, Greg and I stayed up and watched what felt like an endless amount of YouTube videos. I made them listen to Drake and Justin Bieber, and I won’t say which one but they might have liked one of those artists.
9:30 a.m. – After a 12-hour-long journey, we finally made it back home. I don’t think anyone ever expected to miss Des Moines that much.
My overall experience was a positive one. I loved getting to see the operations side of the organization. Traveling for six days with 24 men was as interesting as I thought it was going to be. I have many memories (probably more than I wanted) that I will remember for a lifetime.