At the beginning of the season Natasha made the decision not to trial with RCD Espanyol or any other club even though she was invited to do so. Instead she decided to play with Levante Las Planas B in under 19 and her aim was to play lots of game time and be able to play with some freedom not usually allowed in the more elite teams. Her intention was to work on the weak aspects of her game in game situations.
Thanks to the belief of her coaches Vero and Mark, Natasha played loads of game time in what became her biggest football season to date with more than double the game time of any previous season. Natasha began the season aged 14 and playing in Under 19. She played 38 games and averaged 70 minutes of the maximum 80 minutes for every game. She also played 4 games for the A team. She did not miss one game or team training session due to injury. She scored 10 goals from the midfield position, she had numerous assists and countless key passes. She improved every part of her game but most notably her running game and she also improved dramatically as an athlete.
She really enjoy her season and had lots of fun with her team but she is looking for a more serious challenge next season. Keep watch here for any news.
v Molins de Rei – Well, it was the last game of the season and 7 v 8 in what should have been a competitive game. Levante started well and began by playing football, and a better quality than we have seen for weeks. This resulted in Levante leading 1-2 at half time. A number of substitutions were made at half time and the game changed as the Levante defence didn´t only buckle but collapsed with the left defence conceding 5 goals for Levante to lose 6-2 in what was an extremely disappointing display defensively but probably an indication of the season.
Natasha worked hard and played well with a number of key passes and goal opportunities including one goal.
v Fontsanta A – A game against second place was never going to be easy. The team fought very hard but still lacked composure and failed to play a passing game of football eventually losing with a very respectable 0-2 scoreline.
Natasha was not at her best again but it was a very difficult game for her as she did not receive one pass in the first half of the game and only 4 passes for the second half of the game. She also fought hard but just failed to get any good possession. It is difficult to understand how a team considers winning a game of football when a key midfielder(Natasha) only receives 4 passes from her teammates during the entire game. And that statistic would be the same for the other midfielders too. It is not that all the play went down one side. It was that Levante did not play football. Hopefully next week in the last game it all comes together.
During training today Natasha did the commonly used Illinois agility test as a training exercise and she was timed to gauge how she is progressing in her speed and agility. Two years ago she did this test under testing conditions and completed the test in 17.09s. Today she did the test as a training exercise on a lesser surface and was asked not to run at 100% but more around 90% and she completed the test in 15.89s.
v Palleja – Well with the season drawing to a close and only 3 games remaining it is disappointing to see a display from the Levante team that lacked composure and defensive organization and the desire to play passing football. It was difficult to watch as inaccurate passing, poor decisions, poor defense and more led to a 5-1 loss against Palleja. A team who did not appear to be a much better team than Levante.
Natasha had an average game by her standards as she turned over the ball several times and missed a few passes. However, after not having played for 3 weeks and travelling to the US and back in that time, also having received some bad news about a close family member it is understandable that she was a bit off her game. We are hoping for her to be back to normal for the next game.
v Sant Feliu – After helping the A team the day before Natasha backed up to play a crucial role in helping her team to a very comfortable and impressive 4-0 victory. The entire team played very good football and worked well as a team deserving the comfortable victory.
Natasha had a very good game controlling the middle and looking dangerous with penetrating runs and key passes. She displayed the energy that we are used to seeing from Natasha. 2 weeks of recuperation and reducing her training volume significantly certainly showed.
v Cerdanyola A – Natasha was again asked to help the Levante Las Planas A team. While the team had a disappointing loss Natasha played some quality football and worked very hard. She is looking very comfortable playing at this level. She was disappointed at the loss but is hoping for more opportunities in the near future.
v Morell A – Welllll today we were shown how to lose a game from a winning position as the Levante Las Planas team moved to an early 0-2 lead with two very nice football goals only to let that lead slip with two very basic errors followed by some very poor defending to eventually lose 5-3. Levante created enough chances to win but could not convert the goals and some very poor defending cost the numerous goals.
Natasha tried hard all game but didn´t receive much ball and looked very tired as she didn´t run as much as she usually does.
v Marc Bartra A – A great result for a team struggling to play good football consistently. In this game the Levante Las Planas team tried very hard to play a passing style of football from the very beginning of the game until the end. Even though it was difficult and not very pretty at times they remained composed and continued with the passing game until the end. This gave them a comfortable but hard fought win which they thoroughly deserved. Hopefully we see more of the same in coming weeks.
Natasha had one of those games where the ball just didn´t come her way. She did some good defensive work, won a few fouls and delivered a few nice passes but most of the play was down the wings so she didn´t get much of the ball. However, she was very happy to be a part of the winning team.
v Montserratina A – A win but a not so impressive performance as many of the teams players lacked the composure to play a controlled passing game which then made it very difficult for the other players to take control of the game. It must be said that at this stage of the season it is disappointing that the team has not progressed more in this area. Anyway, they won 2-1 in what was a very evenly contested game.
For Natasha it was her second game in two days and she was feeling very sick and on the verge of vomiting for the entire game, however, it was very important to her to play and to back up and help her team win following the opportunity of playing with the A team. So she toughed out a very strong effort and while she was clearly off her game with some uncharacteristic touches and missed passes her 5:26 minutes of highlights and the 90th minute penalty conversion to win the game indicate that she was the most valuable player on the day.
v Vildecans A – Well, after a good first game for the A team and an incredible training session, Natasha was asked to step up and play for the Levante Las Planas U19 A team once again. Of course she accepted gratefully. Natasha was on the bench for the first half and at half time the game was evenly poised at 0-0. Immediately after half-time the four bench players were introduced, including Natasha on the left wing and they changed the game as they played a controlled and well calculated passing game.
Natasha had another very good game scoring 1 goal, having 1 shot saved, 1 shot blocked and 1 shot just wide along with 1 key pass to help the team to what was eventually a comfortable 3-1 victory. The coaches were extremely happy with Natasha´s game so she is again hoping for more opportunities to help the A team in future.
After being asked to play for the Levante Las Planas A team in Under 19 last week aged only 15 the coach was impressed enough that he invited Natasha to train with the A team for the only training session prior to the Easter holidays. Natasha gleefully accepted but what was to follow no-one could have anticipated. The session started with a warm-up and some speed ladder drills. Of course Natasha was impressive at the speed ladder as she has been doing the speed ladder for many years. This drew the attention of many of the A girls. Following that they went into a game of 6v6 on half a field and using the small 7´s goals. Natasha was picked to play on the left wing for her team, a position where she has played alot of junior football before being moved to the midfield. She was against the A team´s number 1 goal keeper in the smaller goals but in a one hour game Natasha scored 6 goals and had 2 assists to help her team win 9-7. It was one of the most impressive training sessions I have ever seen from any athlete in over 20 years of working professionally with elite athletes. She is hoping it was impressive enough for the coach to give her some more opportunities to play with the A team. Absolutely outstanding work Natasha.
v La Roca A – Two days after a trial match Natasha was invited to play for Levante Las Planas Under 19 A team by their coach. This team is currently the third placed Under 19 team in all of Catalunya behind only FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol. Having only recently turned 15 years old Natasha felt very honoured and excited to be asked to play for the Levante U19 A team but expected to only play 10 minutes at the end of the game. However, she was pleasantly surprised when she was asked play all the second half.
The team showed some hesitation passing to Natasha in the midfield with her being a new player although it didn’t seem that they had an issue with Natasha’s ability, it just seemed as their style of play didn’t pass very often to any of the midfield players. However, Natasha gave a very good performance winning the free kick that produced the second goal, giving 2 key passes and also playing well defensively helping the A team to a 2-0 win.
v Martorell – A trial match against a very young team allowed the Levante Las Planas team to rectify the disaster of the previous game and to actually play football and they did exactly that. They played a very controlled passing game and while some players lacked the skill to play a competent passing game everyone attempted to play the same passing game and this resulted in a comfortable 0-6 victory.
Natasha played a very solid game scoring the first goal and assisting for the second goal along with several key passes but made more errors than we are used to seeing in her game. We have attributed this to fatigue after her 3 day ski trip. Hopefully she will be fully recovered for the next game and we see her at her best again.
v Tancat – Weeelllll! The nicest way to describe this game was embarrassing! Embarrassing that a team of 15 year old girls have not understood that to play football you need to pass the ball to a teammate and you cannot kick a ball through the human body. It is impossible. As we pass the halfway point of the season and with the coaches screaming at the the team they still didn´t play anything that resembled football and accordingly lost 0-8 which could easily have been 0-15. The frustrating thing is that you don´t need to be 6 foot tall, or very strong or for that matter even very fast to pass a football 5 or 10 metres to a teammate in actual fact it only requires a very basic skill set but it does require a thought process to instigate this basic skill which this team failed to do today. I must say extremely disappointing to watch.
Natasha played as well as she could and was the only player to play a controlled passing game and probably completed about 90% of her passes but she had to spend the entire game chasing the football against a pretty competent passing football team in Tancat. And to give you an understanding of how difficult it was for her to play in this type of team today, in all of the second half she only received the football twice from a pass from her teammates. That is correct. In an entire half of football the key midfielder of the team, Natasha, only received two passes. Therefore, her highlights today are a low 2.04 minutes but her frustration is high.
v Igualada A – It was always going to be a difficult game as the Levante Las Planas team faced the outright leaders Igualada A. This was made all the more difficult due to the last minute withdrawal of their key and in-form midfielder Natasha. The first half didn´t go to good as the Levante team were down 0-4 at half time. The second half was a much better performance with a 1-1 result and pleasing to see that when the team plays football, they can match it with the top team but it still resulted in a 1-5 loss.
Natasha desperately wanted to play this game because she felt that she had improved alot since last playing this team and putting herself against the best team in the competition was a good measure of where she is at but we noticed at Friday training that everything was slightly off. Like her controlling touch and passing were not to the standard that they usually are and she said she felt “doughy”. On game day she awoke ready to play but couldn´t stand up without feeling sick and so remained in bed until time to leave for the game but by this time she was even worse. So Natasha remained in bed bitterly disappointed that she was unable to play.
v Sant Feliu A – Well, a game against last position Sant Feliu Enc and a bunch of nervous supporters awaited as they never know what type of game they will get from this team but thankfully they watched a quality game of football as the team tried very hard to play a controlled passing and posession based game of football. The result was a very comfortable 4-0 victory dominating the game from start to finish. Well done girls, however the next two weeks are games against first and third position so keep up the good work.
Natasha had another very strong game controlling the middle of the field and creating many goal opportunities for herself and her team mates in a game where she showcased nearly all her skills from her speed to her dribbling ability and precise passing game to subtle controlling touches, strength on the ball and football ability off both feet. I estimate that she made about 7 key passes, had 1 assist and 5 shots on goal for 1 goal. She has a massive 5.39min of highlights even though she was substituted with the game at 4-0 and 15 minutes to play. The only negative is that it would be have been nice for her to convert more of her goal opportunities but for this game 20% conversion rate is better than Messi(18%).
Just two days after one of the best football performances of her very short career, Natasha was out training again, this time doing some tempo runs along with her football training. Below is a video of one of her tempo runs and while not technically perfect at this stage she is looking pretty good with only some minor adjustments required.
v Sant Vicenc – After 3 weeks without a competitive game of football the Levante Las Planas team were clearly out of touch as they were comfortably beaten 5-2 by a team below them on the ladder. Levante started terribly playing extremely poor football and finding themselves 3-0 after 20 minutes. After a few adjustments by the coaches they became competitive but were unable to make up the difference or score as freely as their opposition.
Natasha had an extremely good game as her 5.00 minutes highlights suggest as she played with alot of class with some beautiful touches and penetrating runs but she was unable to lift her team to a victory.
v Molins – Well we finally saw what we have been hoping to see for the past few weeks and that is the Levante Las Planas team playing some quality football which they did in comfortably outplaying and defeating fourth placed Molins 2-0. The team played a quality passing game and controlled the game from start to finish also missing at least another 4 very good scoring opportunities and keeping Molins scoreless and without a scoring opportunity.
Natasha played another quality game of football with outstanding ball control and precision passing. While she wasn´t as aggresive with her attacking runs she still managed 2 shots on goals and one key pass in half a game of football as the coaches decided to give her some rest this week due to the high amount of game time she has been playing recently.
Below is a video of Natasha doing some nice crisp single leg hurdle exercises during her gym session today. During the same session she set a new personal best for shoulder press, lat pulldown and abdominal curl. Nice work.
v Fontsanta B – While it was not a win, we witnessed an improved performance from the Levante Las Planas team this week as they attempted to play a passing game of football. However, they were outclassed by the second placed and quite competent Fontsanta-Fatjo. Levante Las Planas missed a couple of good goal scoring opportunities that would have made the end result closer but the 5-2 scoreline was probably a fair indication of the game.
Natasha had another very good game as she displayed a wide range of football skills from great attacking runs, key passes, shots on goals and especially outstanding defence. The only thing lacking from her game was a goal but she worked tirelessly to try to help her team to a win.
v Palleja – Another disappointing performance from the Levante Las Planas team this week in a game against the equally placed Palleja in what could have seen them revive their season. It wasn´t that they didn´t try it was that they didn´t play football. It may be harsh but it looked like most the team didn´t attempt to play football failing to think about how they play their football. An extremely disappointing display that resulted in a 1-4 loss.
Natasha had a very good game in a poor football team. Supported by her more than 4.00 minutes of highlights she worked hard all game attempting to lift her side and dispalying a wide range of skills including outstanding control and passing accuracy, quality first touch passing, penetrating runs, strong defence and outstanding physical qualities. It was a very skillful display by Natasha that was not matched by the rest of the team unfortunately. Hopefully it is a better week for everyone next week as they play 3rd place.
v Vilanova – Nearly a month since they played their last game and a Xmas break along with New Year festivities showed on the Levante Las Planas team as they went into an important game against equally placed Vilanova. However, disappointing is the best description I could provide as they struggled to play anything resembling football and were totally outplayed by Vilanova in the first half in what was one of Levante´s worst performances of the season. The second half was a much better display of football as they created enough chances to win but didn´t take advantage of the goal scoring opportunites, losing 1-0. It was especially disappointing considering how well the team played in the game leading into the Xmas break.
Natasha started the first half slowly but increased her involvement in the second half as the team began to play better passing football. She generated most of the forward attacks in the second half and while it was not her best game, she created three opportunities on goal for herself and another 3 to 4 opportunities for her teammates and she will be better next week after the run this week.
v Montserratina – Levante Las Planas played the best football we have seen from them this season as the entire team tried extremely hard to play a controlled passing game and for the most part they did it fairly well. Playing against Montserratina A who were in a similar position on the table Levante dominated the game with Natasha, Daniela and Marta controlling the midfield with a very dominant and skilled display of football, but take nothing away from the remainder of the team who all played good composed football to a much more dominant win than the score suggests as they dominated possession and territory for the majority of the game. Hopefully they can retain their form after the xmas break.
While Natasha´s previous game was a little mixed as she obviously carried fatigue into the game from the Tuesday all day tournament, this game was a display of skill and fine football ability as she won alot of football, delivered some beautiful passes, did some penetrating runs, gave key passes and even managed two shots on goals. So impressive was her game that the opposition supporters were screaming for their team to shut her down whenever she won the ball. The 5:40 min of highlights are also a representation of how well she played in a strong team performance. Now she needs some rest during the xmas break as the quadricep strain and other signals are suggesting her body is tired. The positive is that she has already played more football minutes than the entire last season as we reach only the end of the first trimester of the 2015-2016 football season and it is beginning to show in her football.
v Sant Feliu – Levante Las Planas played against Sant Feliu and after recent performances and missing key defensive midfielder Daniela due to injury, carrying another midfielder Marta who was injured and not 100% fit and with all the girls still tired after the Tuesdays all day tournament the supporters were hoping for a win but were unsure on what might happen. The team put in a solid performance and dominated the game winning with a comfortable 0-2 scoreline. While the quality of football would not have won them games against better sides they did look good in patches and did enough to win comfortably following a difficult week.
Natasha had a mixed game by her standards. She did some absolutely lovely things and played some lovely football at times and at other times got some simple things wrong but she won the free kick for the second goal and should have had a penalty. She played with her quadriceps cramping for the final 20 minutes of the game which is a courageous effort and with only one more game before the xmas break she is looking for a big game before her body takes a short rest.
Levante Las Planas played in a tournament that saw them compete against some of the leading under 19 teams in the area including RCD Espanyol A, Sant Gabriel A, Cerdanyoles A and a representative team from Catalunya. The Levante team consisted of girls from their B team and 3 girls from the A team. While they were outclassed in most games they fought hard in every game and were never embarrassed but it did highlight their inability to play team football.
Natasha was probably the youngest player at the tournament at only 14 years old while most of the girls were clearly around 17, 18 & 19 years old, so she was giving 5 years to some players but physically she was better than nearly all of them. Natasha found it difficult to adjust her football to the increased speed of the opposition players around her and while she played some lovely football and was particularly dangerous running with the ball, she also had trouble with some bad touches and at times holding the ball too long. Overall it was a great learning experience for and gave her lots of real game practice against some of the best girls in Spain.
v Morell – Another disappointing loss to the Levante Las Planas team in a game that could have seen them move into fourth place. They started well by playing some positive attacking football but regressed into what was their worst display of football this season. Unable to make simple decisions and execute simple passes and with a defensive line that did not have any structure. They finished the game with a 1-5 loss and alot of work to do before the next game.
While it wasn´t Natasha´s best game of the season, it is difficult to play good football in a team that is struggling to maintain any possession and does not pass the simple passes. Natasha seemed a little off her game also with her positional play and reading of the play but she still managed to score a lovely goal and the only goal for her team. She provided a key pass that should have resulted in a goal and based on the statistics was the teams leading player. However, she will be looking to improve her performance in the next game.
After a rest on the weekend due to the opposition postponing the game we managed to get to a football pitch (which is not easy in these parts) to do some longer speed work. Natasha was asked to do some 40m run throughs at about 85% and concentrate on technique and we decided to time a couple of them just because she had done a very snappy 10m sprint earlier in the week and she ran her 40m in 5.85s which is a new PB and quite fast for a 14 year old girl. In fact it is extremely fast for any 14 year old. I estimate that at 100% she would be about 5.65s which is impressive. Still some things to work on but she is improving well. Underneath the run through video I have included the video of her speed progressions through the past few years.
v Marc Bartra – A disappointing loss for the LevanteLas Planas girls this week. Playing against a team that were expecting a battle but also expecting to win they started playing well and scored after 23 minutes to lead 1-0. In the second half, some catastrophic errors cost them two goals and ultimately the game. For the most part Levante were the better team but the result is the thing that counts at the end of the game and so they lost.
Natasha had another strong game with many good attacking runs and numerous key passes and attacks on goals. She had a 10 minute period in the middle of the second half where she struggled for passing accuracy and with a couple of bad touches but finished very strongly nearly helping to grasp a draw but unfortunately it wasn´t to be.
v Santa Coloma – This weeks game was a practice game against a team at the same level of competition but from a different group as the Levante Las Planas team. However, the game was taken just as seriously as a normal competition game. The Levante girls produced their best team football of the season to produce a comfortable 4-2 win and missed many goal scoring opportunities in what could have easily been a 10-2 win. Possibly the 2 goals conceded was a slight negative in the comfortable win.
Natasha played a very good game as her ball control and speed terrorized the opposition. She had a goal assist and another 2 key passes and 4 shots on goal along with several penetrating runs. The only negative in what was a quality performance is that she needs to finish some of her goal opportunities but we are sure we will see some more goals soon.
v Tancat – Another tough week for Natasha´s team as they were comfortably beaten 5-1 by a very competent Tancat side. As the score displays the Levante Las Planas needs to improve at both ends of the pitch when playing against the higher quality teams. In this game they were clearly outclassed.
Natasha had a solid game with some lovely touches of the football and some good runs with the ball to the point that the opposition coach made positive comments to her following the game. However, it was not enough to help her side to victory.
v Sants – Due to a unscheduled bye, Natasha´s team have a practice game against a mid level Sants team. While the team lost 2-0 from two defensive lapses, they struggled to penetrate the defence but looked to play constructive football and build combinations. While they lost, it was a good game in terms of the improvement in their passing game.
Natasha had a strong game winning alot of football, taking good touches and passing accurately. She had three strong attacks at goals but only managed one shot in what was an impressive game from her.
v Sant Feliu – A very strong showing from Natasha´s team this week as they comfortably defeated a solid Sant Feliu Enc team 1-5. The team are beginning to play better football and trust more in each others abilities. While there is still plenty of room for improvement the team is improving each week. This weeks win was constructed again by a strong midfield display from Marta, Daniella and Natasha as they again dominated control of the midfield.
Natasha had a very good game, scoring the first goal, winning the free kick for the second goal and providing the assist for the fifth goal. She also won many free kicks and showed some lovely touches of the football as you can see from her highlights.
Here Natasha is squatting 90kg + bands of medium resistance. She actually did 2 repetitions but we messed up the video so we couldn´t show the second rep but adds easily to over 100kg and a new PB
v Sant Vicenc – The second game of the season was a tussle but resulted in a very comfortable 6-2 win for Natasha´s team with the striker Alba amassing an impressive 4 goals. A nice win by the team and signs of much better football being played, lead by a strong midfield. Natasha had a good game but largely struggled for opportunities. However, she was strong on the ball winning some good tough ball and was a valuable contributor to the teams strong win.
v Igualada – The first game of the season saw Natasha´s Levante Las Planas team playing against Igualada A and a team that possessed very competent footballers throughout the entire team and this included a very strong bench and while Levante worked hard they were totally outclassed to lose 3-0. Natasha had a slow start to the game as she was pushed off the ball a few times a little easily but once she adjusted to the pace and strength of the game she played some lovely football and worked hard all game. A special mention should also go to Daniella who also worked tirelessly in the midfield playing some nice football at times. They need to improve from here.
v Sant Gabriel – The final game of the pre-season was against a highly regarded Sant Gabriel B team. It was clear that all players in Sant Gabriel were experienced football players and two earlier errors from Levante Las Planas resulted in goals. Following that it was a very hard fought and even game until the final 10 minutes when Sant Gabriel scored 3 goals for a 0-5 win. The positives are that Levante continued to try and play football for the entire game. The girls never stopped trying and they have definitely improved during the pre-season with room for more improvement as the season continues. Natasha had a very good game following a slow first 15 minute. Once she settled she displayed some lovely skills and made some penetrating attacking runs. She will also look to refine some areas of her game as the season continues are good and early improvements are also good.
v Martinenc – The third trial game of the season saw Natasha´s Levante Las Planas team play a very competent Martinenc A. It was a close game that tussled back and forth all game. Levante played the best football that we have seen from them so far and battled hard all game. Natasha scored a beautiful header goal just before half-time to take her side into the lead 0-1. A lead they managed to hold until 3 mintues from full time when Martinenc scored for a final result of 1-1 which was probably a fair indicator of the game. While Martinenc was a more complete team, Levante worked hard, and still have considerable improvement to come. The addition of a quality striker would be a massive bonus for them as the midfield looks very strong. Natasha had a good game but felt as though some things didn´t work they way she wanted. That is ok because that is what the trial games are about. One trial game left before the season begins.
v Guineuta – Natasha played her first friendly game for her new team Levante Las Planas – Juvenil B and at only 14 years old she is now playing in the Under 19 age group. It was an extremely positive first game with her new team on the full size field as she showed her class with some beautiful touches, lovely dribbling and about 5 key passes also a shot on goal which was saved by the keeper. If this is a sign of things to come then look out because she should improve rapidly from here. Her team finished 0-0 but absolutely dominated the opposition team. A worry for the coach is the lack of scoring ability but with 3 key players missing we await the next game with interest.
Natasha had approximately 5 weeks of rest to recover from the biggest football season she has ever had. All her recovery tests were clear allowing her to return to full pre-season training at the beginning of August. Since then she has been working hard on her technical football skills and her agility and she is pumped to begin the training with her new team. This season will be Natasha´s first season playing on the full field and based on the games she played on the full field last season, her improvements last season and her improvements in the pre-season she is destined to have a fantastic season. In the pre-season she has worked hard on her controlling touches when under pressure and passing accuracy and she has worked very hard on her foot patterns at take off and foot patterns in changing of direction. Below is a snapshot from yesterdays strength/speed session.