Jen's Journey: Kickin' It in Iceland (Part 3)

Jen's Journey: Kickin' It in Iceland (Part 3)

Former ODU women's soccer player and current assistant coach Jen Holton is playing professional soccer in Iceland this summer. She'll be checking in with OhioDominicanPanthers.com with updates from her travels this summer.

Hello everyone! This week, due to having just played our first home game, I have decided to share with you some of the behind the scenes information on how things work for a player on the UMFG Grindavik FC Women's Team.  Coming into this position I knew that things would be more competitive and standards for playing would be set high but I never considered all the other attributes that go into being on this type of team and the differences from playing collegiately in the United States.

One of the first concepts that are different with this league is that teams come out of the locker rooms to warm up on the field and then return back to their locker rooms right before the game starts for final pregame information.  A whistle then sounds in the locker rooms telling the teams the match is ready to start.  The teams then line up side by side and walk out of the building with the referees.  The players' names are announced and the teams peel off across the center of the field.  The players from both teams then exchange words of good luck and get in position for the kick off.  However, the national anthem is not played prior to the games like it is in the United States.  At halftime the players again return to their locker rooms until the whistle sounds and return to their places on the field.  Along with the setup of the game, substitution is different in this league as well.  Both teams are allowed five substitutions at anytime in the game; however, once a player comes off they are done for the remainder of the match.  If a player goes down injured and the trainer has to come on the field to check them, the player must go off the field.  The player can either be subbed off and lose eligibility to play the remainder of the game or the team can play down a man until the player is beckoned back on by the referee.

As all teams have rules and punishments put in place at the beginning of the season, my team does too.  However, breaking rules doesn't mean your typical U.S. punishment of running laps; here it means paying up in cold hard cash.  The rules are almost the same as at home; however, the punishment seems so much worse when you have to pay money to make up for breaking them (especially with the cost of living in Iceland being insanely high). In the monetary system of Iceland, 100 Kronur (kr) equals $o.88 in U.S. Dollars ($).  The rules and money fines for my team are as follows:  

Don't show up in our training gear

500kr / $4.40 

Show up in clothes from another Icelandic team

1000kr / $8.80 

Show up late for practice

500kr / $4.40 

Show up late for a game

1000kr / $8.80 

If your phone rings in a meeting

500kr / $4.40 

Not taking a shower after a game

500kr / $4.40 

Receiving a yellow card for a bad mouth

500kr / $4.40 

Receiving a red card in game

500kr / $4.40 

If there is a picture of you in the newspapers

500kr / $4.40 

Then, in addition to these rules and fines, my team plays a possession game the practice before game day and in this game you can be fined as well.  It is a simple possession game of 5 vs. 2 with offensive players on the outside of the box and defensive players inside.  If the players outside the box can connect 15 passes without the two defensive players just deflecting the pass, the two in the middle are fined and must pay 150kr and stay in the middle for another round.  If the players in the middle are "nut-megged" while playing defense they are again charged 150kr.  Lastly, whoever is stuck in the middle at the end of the game must pay 250kr.  As you can see, the fines can add up quickly in this game.  The fine money all goes to a fund for the team's benefit.  The team then decides to put it towards a fun activity that we can all do together such as four-wheeling through the mountains or a team trip to the Blue Lagoon, etc. Let me just say, my team was out to raise some serious money last pregame practice and were trying to nut-meg everyone, haha. I currently owe 400kr ugh :(. 

Finally, one last fun thing that my team does to help motivate fans to come to our games is create an advertisement that is placed around towns in shops and also through our website and Facebook pages.   A new ad is made for every home game with an interesting theme and players from our team placed on it in funny costumes.  The ad is typically based on a well-known slogan for winning or taking down the competitor.  Our first ad included our starting center-back as well as our starting holding midfielder and stated "Keyrum pett i gang" meaning "Let's start this" in English.  I've posted the ad with this blog so as you can see it's meant to be intimidating and forceful.  I think it's a clever way to get the word out about when the team plays and create interest in people to want to come out to the games.  I think Scott Miles should consider this idea for our girls at ODU ;).  Posting these ads all over the school and on our webpage would definitely be a fun way for the girls to spread the word of matches coming up and to increase the fan base! 

Well as you can see I've learned a few things about soccer at this level as well as in different countries and cultures and I have a lot of new ideas to bring home and share.  I hope you've enjoyed this blog; I'm tired now and have to catch some sleep before a busy day of coaching the little ones tomorrow! I wish I could tape that; many of you would get a good laugh out of me doing my absolute best at getting my point across to a very energetic 5-year-old boy who speaks no English and me who has no idea where to start in Icelandic.  The kids are doing their best to teach me haha.  Don't worry I'll share my stories on that here soon enough!  I'll blog again soon :)

Panthers Shutout Lee, Win 3-0
September 14, 2014 Panthers Shutout Lee, Win 3-0
Panthers Suffer Overtime Loss
September 7, 2014 Panthers Suffer Overtime Loss