Another very enjoyable season although a somewhat frustrating season to watch such a talented team produce inconsistent results as they allowed their nerves and errors to influence too many of their game results.
The pre-season started in mid August 2018 and again Natasha fielded many requests to play in various teams in the U19 first division however she decided to play with La Roca due to the talented team, quality field and friendly coaching. As mentioned above, the season was quite frustrating by the inconsistent performances and fundamental defensive errors that often cost games. The U19 first division in Barcelona is a very intense competition and small errors can often be very costly and La Roca had a period where it seemed to occur weekly. For example, they drew with FC Barcelona at Barcelona´s home ground 0-0 early in the season and then were very unlucky to lose 0-1 to FC Barcelona in the return match. Then they would produce a result like 1-1 with last place. These inconsistent performances resulted in a finish in the standings that did not truly represent the talent that existed within the team. The highlight throughout the season was the La Roca midfield as they dominated nearly every team in the competition nearly always producing more attacks on goal then their opposition.
Natasha had another great season as she embedded herself as one of the outstanding players of the competition. She was often targeted by the opposition teams as the player they needed to shut down however she still managed to play outstanding football in most games. She refined her technical skills and game awareness and made small improvements in her physical capacities too. Her dribbling game and penetrating passing game also made significant improvements.
She scored 14 goals had 14 assists and too many key passes to count across all competitions. She traveled over 1,000km in total during training and games, lifted over 30 tonnes of weight with her gym training, hit a new personal best in every exercise in the gym with the most impressive being the 170kg single leg partial squat and in the last 5 seasons she has played 39, 42, 44, 52 and 53 games respectively without a non-contact injury. Which is extremely impressive considering the collisions and the leg chops she receives in nearly every game.
Natasha finished the season playing in the Donosti Cup 2019 with the Futfem A team who made it to the semifinal only to be knocked out by Madrid Cff A team because the team tried to protect a lead, which never works. Natasha played fantastic football with virtually all her touches being good touches, only missing 4 passes in 6 games, having 3 shots at goal and scoring a cracking header goal in the round of 16 against the Spanish Federation team and 100% of her shots were on target. Above all that, her defensive work was incredible as she forced turnovers or won balls an incredible amount of times. Overall a great experience for her.
Below is a video of Natasha´s 2018/19 highlights.
Natasha went to the Donosti Cup with reigning champions Futfem A, however this year they had chosen to take mainly the club team from Levante Las Planas U19 A team and boost it with some key players and the focus was shifted more towards having fun rather then applying too much pressure as had been the case in previous years. Futfem A still was a very talented team as the players from LLP are very talented and most of the additional players were also very talented. The Donosti Cup 2019 attracted 32 teams from 4 different countries including the Spanish Federation team, UD Levante, Madrid Cff, Sant Gabriel and of course Futfem so the competition was tough. Futfem A was only 1 of 2 teams to get through the group stages winning all their games. They then beat a very talented and physical Spanish Federation 2-0 in the round of 16 followed by a comfortable win over their sister team in the quarter final. They played Madrid A in the semi final and after being dominated for nearly all the first half they scored a goal to lead 1-0 at halftime. After halftime a couple of changes saw Futfem control the play until they started to try to protect the lead rather than playing football, as they just cleared the ball instead of playing football they continually gave the ball back to Madrid to allow them to generate attack after attack, eventually leveling at 1-1 and with 1 minute left scoring a cracking goal to win 2-1.
Natasha had great competition displaying her outstanding technical and physical abilities which clearly bothered all opposition teams. She scored a cracking header goal against the Spanish Federation team and had another cracking shot saved against Madrid B. 100% of her shots at goals were on target, she only missed about 4 passes in 6 games and she created many goal opportunities for her teammates. Her defensive work in the amount of ball she won and turnovers she forced was absolutely unbelievable as she a huge amount of football for her team.
Below is a video summary highlights. See below her season highlights for Donosti Cup 2019 individual game highlights.
Donosti Cup 2019
v Futfem – B Team (quarterfinal)
Donosti Cup 2019
v Madrid CFF – A Team (semifinal)
Donosti Cup 2019
v Escuela RFEF (round 16)
Donosti Cup 2019
v Madrid Cff – B team (group stage 3)
Donosti Cup 2019
v Intxaurdi KE (group stage 2)
Donosti Cup 2019
v Halifax Dunbrack SC (group stage 1)
v Women Soccer School –
The final game of the season after a very long season that included 34 games and 10 friendly games. Training began in August 2018 which means the season in total was about 46 weeks long and in the end it was a game that counted for nothing as WSS knew they were going to be relegated after a valiant first season in first division and La Roca knew they would be moving up into the newly formed 14 team first division. While the game was entertaining but it was clear that both teams were tired however La Roca completely dominated the game with over 25 attacks on goal to WSS only 11 attacks with La Roca desrved winners 2-1.
Natasha was showing clear signs of tiredness however still managed to have a great game as she continually drove La Roca into attack. She began the play and gave the assist for te first goal and jut missed a shot for what would have been a great team and controlled the middle for te entire game with over 50 posessions (80 touches), 1assist and multiple key passes.
v Fontsanta –
A game similar to the Europa game where the La Roca defence and goalkeeping was way out of form and the the attack was unable to score. To watch the game from the stand the game looked very even as both played a good level of passing football however at halftime La Roca had created 8 strong attacks on goals to Fontsanta´s 4 attacks on goal but Fonsanta led 2-0 and the second half only got worse as Fontsanta created more attacks on goals and managed to score 3 more goals while La Roca attack was still unable to score losing 5-0.
Natasha was a little off her game but she created many attacks from the midfield made several key passes and worked tirelessly in the midfield with Coral and Aina but she was unable to influence the result. She had 38 posessions (86 touches)
v La Roche College (USA) –
La Roca played a midweek friendly against La Roche University from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. While La Roche had a very structured and impressive warm up, once the game started, it was clear that there was a significant difference in playing abilities between both teams and understandably so as La Roche play division 3 university football in the USA college system and La Roca play in the U19 first division in Barcelona. The score quickly escalated as La Roca led 8-0 at halftime without really getting out of second gear and while La Roche scored a goal in the second half most spectators stopped keeping score and appreciated the game as a great experience for La Roche to play against a very naturally gifted football team in La Roca and La Roca could fine tune some play for the upcoming important Liga games.
Natasha clearly was experimenting with some attacking runs and forward passes as she scored a nice goal laid on by Marquez and had 2 assists in what was a good fun game for her.
Desperate for the 3 points, La Roca started the game in fantastic style as they completely dominated Vilafranca in the first half creating 13 attacks on goal and preventing Vilafranca from making any strong attacks on their own goal. La Roca scored one goal and missed several other strong opportunities but went into halftime leading 1-0. La Roca started the second half the same way however they began to panic and also began to slow down the play which resulted in Vilafranca completely dominating the second half but La Roca hung on and won 1-0 and claimed a very important 3 points.
Natasha had a very quiet game by her standard but was happy to play her position the best she could and since the ball wasn’t being played into the left midfield very often she didn’t receive the posessions she usually receives. She was disciplined to play her position and not go ball chasing and was very happy for the win.
v Manu Lanzarote –
Well, what a cracking game of football. Two teams playing great football and attacking at each other with everything they had. It was technical, actually impressively technical, it was fast, it was physical and very entertaining. La Roca controlled the midfield for most the game and created more strong attacks than Manu Lanzarote however La Roca’s attack didn’t create too many seriously dangerous chances and it was their midfield that created and scored La Roca’s only goal. While Manu Lanzarote capitalized on the usual defensive errors from La Roca and scored 3 goals for a devastating 3-1 loss for La Roca.
Natasha had an outstanding game creating and scoring La Roca’s only goal in what can only be described as a cracking goal. She controlled the middle with over 53 posessions(over 150 touches), 3 additional shots on goals, at least 3 key passes and many quality defensive ball wins. This was one of the best games Natasha has played as she worked tirelessly in the middle.
v Cabanes – Yeaaahhhh
And only 3 days later after playing an extremely tough game against RCD Espanyol on a super big pitch La Roca grafted a win against the lowly ranked Cabanes. While it wasnt pretty at times and lacked alot of thinking football it was clear that the team were very tired after their game against Espanyol but were trying to play the style of the new coach. It was definitely a step forward with the usual dominant midfield display in creating 27 attacks on goals to Cabanes 12 but with still alot of work to do to convert more opportunities into goals and to further sure up the defence. However an important 2-1 win and 3 competition points.
Natasha worked hard in the midfield with close to 50 posessions (over 110 touches) and creating many strong attacking opportunities but showed clear signs of tiredness after only 3 days rest following a huge game against RCD Espanyol.
v RCD Espanyol – It can´t be.😭😭😭
Only 5 days after a very tough game against 5th placed Reus in Reus, La Roca faced another tough challenge in playing 3rd placed Espanyol at Espanyol. Armed with a new attacking team structure La Roca played a very competitive game of football and created 12 strong attacks at goals to equal Espanyol´s attacks on goals. However, Espanyol scored 2 goals to La Roca´s 1 goal resulting in another 2-1 loss. An improved performance for La Roca with an unfortunate result.
Natasha showed that she is beginning to recover from her travel and training in Australia and made a fantastic play to create the goal opportunity and give the assist for La Roca´s only goal. She played with some uncertainty in her new attacking midfield position but created many attacks for La Roca and will improve as she and the team become familiar with the new position.
v Reus – Not again!!!!!😭😭😭
La Roca played against the highly ranked Reus team. Reus have a very strong team in all positions and play a high quality posession based attacking football which justifies their 5th position on the table. La Roca fought very hard in what was a very even game with La Roca again creating more chances on goal but failing to convert more than one of those opportunities while Reus scored two very good goals to take the 3 points, 2-1.
After traveling over 30 hours to Australia for the U19 training camp, having the legs run off her for four days and traveling over 30 hours back in less than two weeks Natasha was clearly showing signs of fatigue with many uncharacteristic poor touches. However, she supplied 4 or 5 key passes and played some nice football but it was not the usual dominant display we have become familiar with when watching Natasha.
Now Season 2018/19 and Natasha is again invited back to Australia to trial for the Australian U19 team. Another great experience for her as she is more familiar with the travel, the camp and the environment. Natasha had a great time but left the camp somewhat puzzled as the emphasis within camp was to play like the great FC Barcelona however the training and game play was not anything resembling FC Barcelona´s playing style and Natasha has very good knowledge in this area as she has trained with FC Barcelona and played against FC Barcelona many times , she also watches at least one FC Barcelona team play every week. Not only wasn´t the training like FC Barcelona but as a player who lives in Barcelona with alot of first hand experience relative to FC Barcelona´s playing style, she wasn´t even asked one question in relation to FC Barcelona´s football style🤔😕. However, Natasha took alot of positives from the camp to improve her game and returns to Barcelona to play some very difficult games against the likes of Reus, RCD Espanyol and Fontsanta.
Natasha set a new personal best in her single leg supported squat to partial depth. For reasons to long to explain here, Natasha does a single leg partial depth squat in her lower body gym sessions and she has done so for years, and this week she set a new personal best by lifting 170kg x 2. With a body weight of only 58kg, that is incredible.
La Roca coach has stepped down after being unable to lift the team to the heights expected by the club. As is the case in elite sports teams, results are what is expected and La Roca have performed below expectations this season and whether it is the coaches fault or not they ultimately are responsible for the teams performance. Thanks for your efforts Lluis. Now you can put your feet up and get some rest and we hope for an improvement under the new coach.
v Europa – Ohhh my!!!!!😭😭😭
La Roca played the suspended game against 6th placed Europa in a game that was always going to be difficult but which they won in the first round which was played at Europa´s home ground. However, another goal keeper error in the second minute resulted in the first goal to Europa while 2 more goal keeping errors would result in another 2 goals and a defensive error would cost another goal and some bad luck would see La Roca lose 0-5 in a game where they were even in the first half, dominated the second half and produced 16 shots on goals to Europa´s 13 but La Roca will continue to struggle in this competition until they can repair the defensive problems that are costing them 2 to 3 goals every game.
Natasha had a solid game but found it difficult to make a big impact with the lack of good service she was receiving in the midfield and the high pressure being applied by Europa.
v Minnesota Whitecaps – La Roca played a friendly game against the American College team Minnesota Whitecaps who were coming off a good season back home. The Whitecaps were a big, strong and fast team however La Roca played a high quality football passing game and after the first 20 minutes dominated every aspect of the game going on to win a tough but comfortable 3-0.
Natasha played a fantastic game in controlling the middle but created some fantastic opportunities with some very impressive ball skills. It was a very high quality display of football from Natasha against the very strong and fast Whitecaps. Natasha scored 1 goal and had 1 assist in what was a very impressive display of skillful football. Sorry, no video as we often don’t video the friendly games.
v Igualada – The curse of La Roca’s season continues as their defence made two major errors that cost two goals to give Igualada a 2-1 win. However, Igualada played much better football throughout the game as La Roca failed to show any sign of playing composed football. Another disappointing result for La Roca as they continue their form slump.
Natasha didn’t receive as much ball as she usually does because La Roca’s game plan appeared to be geared for the lateral defenders to kick the ball to the attackers and not play through the midfield, however she still managed to create numerous goal opportunities and many strong plays. She had 37 posessions (84 touches).
v Levante Las Planas – After a disappointing draw last game La Roca backed it up with one of their worst performances of the season in a game where most of the team players looked as though they were playing their first game of football. They lacked the ability to control the football, lacked the ability to make good passing decisions and were extremely poor at passing the football eventually losing 1-2 to a very average performing Levante Las Planas who would have been happy for the win but not overly happy with their football quality.
Natasha had a very strong game in the middle of the La Roca team. She scored an incredible goal and accumulated over 53 posessions which is the most for any game this season (over 127 touches). She drove La Roca into attack with her running and passing game but it wasn’t able to help La Roca to a win.
New Gym – After moving houses Natasha went for her first upper body session at her new gym and started her first session with some great lifting. She did the hip extension with the full weight stack and easily completed four repetitions. She also completed two repetitions of the tricep pushdowns with the full weight stack. Starting in her new facility in great style.
As we reach the midpoint of the season here is a video with some of Natasha’s highlights, As you will see, she displays a diverse range of skills, a incredible ability to read the play alongside her acute awareness and impressive athleticism. Her statistics include 24 games played in the midfield with most of those games as defensive midfield. She has scored 5 goals had 4 assists and has so many key passes that we have lost count. She is consistently getting over 40 posessions per game with her peak being 50 and consistently having over 100 touches per game with her peak over 140 touches in one game. It has been a very impressive first half of the season in a competition that can realistically claim to be the strongest U19 women competition in world football based on recent U17(w) and U20(w) world cup results.
v Ciera – Back in to the league games after a weekend rest and a pretty easy midweek friendly with La Roca playing new comers to first division, Ciera. While the game was very competitive and physical La Roca dominated every aspect of the game from field positiion, posession and attackes on goal. Actually La Roca created about 8 very strong attacks on the Ciera goal which should have been goals, however La Roca only managed to score from one of them while a bad misread from La Roca goal keeper cost a goal to finish the game in a 1-1 draw.
Natasha appeared to be very closely tagged by the Ciera midfield yet still managed to transition La Roca into attack many times with numerous key passes and played another strong game with over 40 posessions and over 90 touches. She finished the game with numerous bruises as evidence of the physicality of the game however she was unable to help La Roca to a win.
v Swiss Juvenil – After a weekend of rest La Roca played a midweek friendly game against an U19 team from Switzerland. The La Roca team included a combination of players from La Roca U19 A, B and C teams with 8 players from the A team. The Swiss team started by playing a very controlled posession based football but it was obvious from the outset that they didn’t posess the technical or athletic ability of the better La Roca players. In usual Spanish football fashion La Roca gradually gained more posession of the football and settled into a lovely quality passing game eventually destroying the Swiss team 10-1 with a very distinct difference in levels between the two teams.
Natasha had a very dominant game in the midfield and played some outstanding running football. She scored a beautiful left foot goal to put La Roca in the lead 2-1 followed by the third goal where she dribbled through the defence and slotted a lovely right foot shot into the top left corner of the goal for a 3-1 lead. From there she dominated and controlled the midfield, had some rest on the bench and finished the game with a ten minute stint where she just detroyed the Swiss team with her dribbling game. In fact she was so dominant that towards the end of the game, in one play, one Swiss player tried to rugby tackle her in order to stop her but still was unable to stop her.
v Damm – La Roca began the game well against 3rd placed Damm with numerous strong attacks on goal but progressively played worse as the game progressed, eventually losing 0-5. While La Roca were convincingly outplayed by Damm the score was not a true indication of the game as two Damm goals were scored from clear offside positions and another goal, the ball didn´t cross the line. It appears that La Roca have regressed to low quality football of their earlier season as their completed passes was approximately 20%.
The coaches experimented with Natasha this game as they played her at striker in an attempt to score more goals. However, the experiment was unsuccessful as La Roca struggled to win the ball in the midfield and deliver any quality ball forward. The coach returned Natasha back to her midfield position after half time where she pushed La Roca into attack many times before they stopped passing the ball to her so she had very little posession. She had some very nice plays in a difficult game. 24 posessions (60 touches)
v Girona FC – While Girona is a very strong La Liga club, La Roca were expected to win this game, especially considering their recent form and that the game was at La Roca´s home ground, however nothing seemed to work for them as their control and passing was way off and they simply seemed to be off their game. La Roca dominated posession and field position with 18 attacks on goal to Girona´s 8 but a freakish second goal to Girona resulted in La Roca having a very disappointing loss 1-2.
Natasha had a super impressive game with 50 posessions and over 130 touches. She scored one goal and had 2 shots saved and blocked. She controlled the middle and was key in La Roca´s constant drive towards goal. At times her play was actually too quick for her teammates as the ball would roll between their legs or past them before they would even realise the pass had been given. A very impresssive performance by Natasha in unfortunate loss.
v Santa Susanna – La Roca needed to bounce back after the unlucky defeat against FC Barcelona in the previous game, however that game gave La Roca the belief that they could compete against the top teams. The game against Santa Susanna was made more difficult by the very small pitch which does not allow players much space to play football but La Roca played some of their best football of the season and dominated the game from start to finish eventually winning quite comfortably 0-2.
Natasha had another very strong game controlling the midfield with over 45 posessions (over 100 touches). She had several opportunities to score with one shot stopped by a great save and another being a penalty which she just hooked wide but another very good game in what was a very strong team performance.
v FC Barcelona – Weellll!!! It was time for the return game against footballing giants FC Barcelona who are the current undefeated competition leaders and have only lost points to La Roca with a draw in their previous meeting. Barcelona were going to be very wary and determined to avenge the draw while La Roca who were on a 6 game undefeated streak of their own were keen to take 3 points from Barcelona. So it was game on, and what a game it was with Barcelona playing their typical posession based game and La Roca using their speed to make stinging counter attacks. It was an enthralling game and with only 10 minutes left in the game and a 0-0 scoreline Barcelona scored a very lucky goal that would win them the game 0-1 in what was an very high quality game of football. So much so that the entire crowd applauded both teams for a long 3 to 4 minutes following the game. A fantastic game by La Roca who were unlucky to lose to a very fortunate goal.
Natasha had a very strong game in the midfield which is very difficult to do as Barcelona do not allow you any time with the ball and when they get the ball they maintain posession like their life depends on it. However, Natasha hit the crossbar with a free kick, just missed a header goal and had numerous strong attacking plays. She had about 23 posessions (over 70 touches) and defended very strongly.
v Sant Gabriel – Another tough game playing against the 6th place Sant Gabriel at Sant Gabriel in gusty windy conditions and the bitter cold and La Roca went into the game with a 5 game undefeated run which they were hoping to continue. La Roca began with the worst start possible as the defence absolutely fell asleep and let in a very soft goal within the first minute. That was followed by another defensive blunder costing another goal and at the 15 minute mark La Roca were comfortably dominating every aspect of the game but losing 2-0. As La Roca continued to dominate two very impressive to goals to Ainhoa and Natasha and the score was 2-2 at halftime and that is how the game finished and another game unbeaten however defensive errors continue to cost La Roca points as they gift the opposing teams 1 or 2 goals per game.
Natasha appeared to be slightly out of sorts with her touch slightly compared to her usual high standards as her virus continued to linger and affect her game however she still had a strong game with a fantastic goal, another goal saved and an impressive key pass. She had 48 posessions (over 100 touches) and controlled the midfield for La Roca.
v Women Soccer School – This game was always going to be a huge challenge for La Roca following a very difficult week where 4 players were flattened by a virus and it appeared as though several more were on the verge of getting the virus. Two players were fatigued after a week of draining school activities and with their leading goal scorer having to rest due to receiving a red card last game. And as we say every week, there are no easy games in U19 first division in Barcelona. However, La Roca hooked in and dominated WSS as they continued to improve on last weeks performance and created 30 strong scoring opportunities to WSS 18. Converting one of those opportunities while keeping a clean sheet to win 0-1 and extend their undefeated run to 5 games. While La Roca still has many things to work on with some very tough games ahead it was an outstanding effort from a team that had everything against them this week.
Natasha Wow!!! Natasha literally got out of her sick bed to play after a day vomiting and another day being unable to stand up for any length of time, she was desperate to play in order to help her team. When she arrived at the ground both coaches and several parents commented on how sick she looked and while she missed some passes and controls that she would normally nail nor was she as fast, strong or active as she normally is, she still had a fantastic game with 50 posessions (over 110 touches), which we think is the most posessions she has ever had in a game, and again controlling the midfield for La Roca. I think the entire La Roca outfit would prefer to have her play be it sick or not as she is such a stabilizing influence on the entire team. Fantastic game Natasha!!!💪
v Fontsanta Fatjo – What should have been a comfortable win for La Roca was turned into a hard fought win against 7th placed Fontsanta. La Roca totally dominated the first half as they created over 13 strong attacks on goals to Fontsanta´s 2 attacks and La Roca spent most of the half pressing forward. However, as has been the case too often this season 2 horrific defensive errors cost 2 goals and La Roca went into half time losing 1-2. The second half was a more even battle with La Roca still creating numerous strong attacks producing 2 great goals to take a 3-2 win that they thoroughly deserved although nearly gave away.
Natasha had another very impressive game as she was too strong, fast and technical for the Fontsanta midfield to contain as she tidied up alot in defence and created numerous attacks. Natasha hit the crossbar with a strong shot from the top of the area in the first half and scored a cracking left foot goal in the second half that leveled the scores at 2-2 midway through the second half. She had about 45 posessions (over 110 touches) again producing a quality performance.
v Igualada – The well earned Christmas break was short lived as the suspended game against Igualada was added in to play during the Christmas break which shortened the break from 3 weeks to 1.5 weeks. Igualada are another impressive team having highly skilled players in every position including a very strong bench and a great tactical game. Fortunately the La Roca coach was able to make some huge improvements during the brief Christmas training and La Roca improved dramatically after their previous disastrous performance against Vilafranca to dominate posession and field position in what was a very tightly contested game scoring two very impressive goals. However as has been the case for the majority of the season, two blundering defensive errors cost goals with the result ending as a hard fought 2-2 draw.
Natasha had a very impressive game as she won the turnover and played the ball forward to lead to the first goal. She also delivered several key passes and hit the crossbar with a cracking play 30 seconds before fulltime. Natasha had about 45 posessions (90 touches) at over 90% completed passes. She also defended very well and forced several turnovers. Overall she had a very commanding game against a very strong opposition.
v Vilafranca – After a lucky but well earned win last game, this week La Roca took on the 5th place Vilafranca who have been having a very good season due to the impressive strike power in the Vilafranca forward line that includes the leagues top goal scorer. Unfortunately La Roca played their worst game of the season as they continually turned the ball over and made an excruciating number of errors to keep Vilafranca in the game. La Roca scored a very impressive early goal to lead 0-1 at halftime however La Roca allowed 2 goals from two very poor errors before Vilafranca made their own costly error with the final result 2-2.
Natasha played well in what was a difficult game as her team were very badly out of form and struggling to string more than 4 or 5 passes together. Natasha had about 40 posessions (70 touches) and created many strong attacks and late in the game she had a game winning shot at goal only minutes before the end of the game after she had also created the attack which allowed Alicia to win a foul. The goal was kept out by a fantastic save from the Vilafranca keeper.
v Manu Lanzarote – Finally a 2-1 result in La Roca´s favour.
There have been many games(5) in the first half of the season where La Roca have outplayed their opponents only to lose due to one or many defensive errors. This weeks game was against a very strong Manu Lanzarote. Manu are strong in every aspect of the game, they are technically strong in every position including their bench players, they are strong physically and play a very good tactical game yet La Roca were up for the task and matched Manu in the game play while managing to score all three goals (1 own goal) to win 2-1.
Natasha played as defensive midfield which is a position she hasn´t played very often but she shut down many of Manu´s attacking plays and gave the La Roca defence an easy option to play out. While she didn´t have as many attacking plays as usual she still managed to create numerous attacks from her defensive position. She didn´t touch the ball as often as she usually does in a game however she was very influential in the win for La Roca.
v Mercantil – How long can this continue???? 😢😢😢
Once again La Roca looked the better team physically, technically and tactically and convincingly outplayed their opponents with 23 shots at goal to Mercantil´s 15 shots and countless more attacks as La Roca controlled the game the ball and field position for 90% of the game, however La Roca conceded 2 goals of which one came as a result of a huge defensive error and La Roca only managing to score from an own goal resulting in a 2-1 defeat.
Natasha had a difficult game as Mercantil appeared to mark her tightly which kept Natasha more quiet than her 2 previous games, however she played a solid game and created numerous attacks and won many balls in defence. She still managed 40 posessions
v Cabanes – Oh my!!! As we point out every week, there aren’t any easy games in the U19 first division in Barcelona and a 90minute drive to Cabanes along with the unfamiliar and very soft grass pitch were always going to present challenges. However, La Roca started well creating 16 shots to Cabanes 8 in the first half but went into halftime at 3-3. Scoring 4 goals at this level should win you the game, unfortunately La Roca conceded 4 goals as well and had to be content with a 4-4 draw. Some defensive problems desparately need to be fixed if LaRoca are going to climb the table.
Natasha had another very strong game as she generated many strong attacks including a play where she dribbled between two Cabanes players then committed four other Cabanes players before playing a magnificent ball through the defensive line for an assist to a great goal by Ainhoa. She also created the attack the resulted in a goal to Alba and also had a hand in a third goal. She had 45 posessions (over 120 touches) and displayed her entire range of skills in another impressive display of her football skills.
v Catalunya Rep Team – La Roca had a mid week friendly game against the Catalunya under 16 rep team. The La Roca team was a throw together combination of the under 14, under 19 and senior players which were pitted against the best under 16 women in Catalunya, therefore the result was always expected to go in favour of the Catalunya team which it did with a comfortable 1-7 win. However, many of the La Roca team appeared to be very nervous or something and made many simple errors which greatly assisted the Catalunya team. Overall it was a great opportunity and experience for all La Roca players and hopefully gave the Catalunya team the hit-out they were looking for.
Natasha had an incredible game displaying some very impressive skills in every aspect of the game, defensive, passing, dribbling and ball control as she patrolled and battled in the midfield. From an observational viewpoint it appeared that Natasha had over 50 posessions (over 100 touches) with arguably the best football she has ever played against some very high quality opposition. We have asked the Catalunya team for a copy of their game video, so if we get a copy we will add the highlights for you to see.
v Reus – After last weekends game was postponed due to wet weather, this weekend was a tough game against a Reus team that has been performing well and coming off a very impressive 6-0 win over Girona. La Roca started well and dominated both posession and field position for most of the first half as they managed five shots on goals to Reus´s two shots. However at halftime the score remained 0-0. The second half saw La Roca move away from their composed passing game more towards a kick and chase style of game which resulted in Reus having much better posession and field position and eventually outscoring La Roca 2 to 1 to take home the 3 points.
Natasha had a mixed game with about 45 posessions but wasn´t as precise with the ball as she normally is. Still she had a very solid game that she will hope to improve on next week.
v RCD Espanyol – La Roca played the highly rated Espanyol team in a game that was expected to be a very big challenge for La Roca and a big challenge it was however La Roca were up to the challenge and fought hard all game in what was a very competitive game. La Roca even had periods where they dominated posession and field position however at the end of the game Espanyol were too good winning 1-2 in a very tight contest. The La Roca team gained alot of confidence from their performance while the coaching staff feel like the team can continue make significant improvements.
Natasha had a strong game in the midfield, winning many fouls and generated many attacks in what was a very fast and physical game. She had over 40 posessions (over 80 touches) and played with good composure in a game where time on the ball was short.
WOW!!!! 😱 – In her midweek upper body gym session Natasha was very eager to lift heavy because she felt like she had been stuck at the same weights for too long. So she decided to implement some new techniques in visualisation and breathing to test if they could help her move past her sticking point. The results were very impressive. On her machine chestpress she improved by 30% on her previous best. On her seated cable row she improved by over 10% and on her cable biceps and triceps she also improved by over 10%. Very impressive results. (sorry we didn´t video the lifts, we didn´t think the results would have been so impressive, Next time we will take video)
v Europa – As is the case in Catalunya U19 First Division, there is a tough game every week, and in this round it continued for La Roca as they took on the third placed team Europa. La Roca started very slowly as they conceded a goal in the first 20 seconds but from that point they took control of the game and completely dominated Europa going into half time leading 1-3 and having created 12 shots on goal to Europa´s 2. Following halftime La Roca scored another impressive goal to lead 1-4 before going into meltdown and moving away from their quality football to simply kicking the ball out from defense which resulted in a big turnaround and allowed Europa to make a comeback in scoring 2 late goals however La Roca held on to win 3-4. A good result with still many areas where La Roca can make big improvements.
Natasha had a solid game with over 40 posessions (over 80 touches) with some very impressive plays however she appeared to rush herself much more than usual resulting in some low quality decisions and plays that we aren´t used to seeing from her. While she had a reasonably solid game, it wasn´t the dominating high quality that we have seen in recent weeks.
v Levante Las Planas – As La Roca went into the game against Levante Las Planas it was identified as a key game by both teams, however La Roca began with their worst half of football this season and played as though they were asleep without any intensity and struggled to even make a 10m pass or control the football. The game unfolded like a real life horror story. As bad as it was La Roca went into halftime only 1-0 down after a catastrophic defensive error, however two more defensive errors shortly after halftime meant that La Roca were 3-1 behind as the minutes rapidly ticked away. Finally with 20 minutes left in the game La Roca settled and began playing football scoring two late goals to escape with a 3-3 draw and alot of worries for a team that produces a dramatically different quality of football each game.
Natasha had another outstanding and complete game of football with over 50 posessions (over 110 touches) that included clearing the ball from defence, taking the ball from Levante LP attacking players and transitioning La Roca into attack, penetrating runs with the ball, subtle touches, delicate passes, several key passes and a cracking goal to get La Roca back into the game. It was a high quality game by Natasha supported by the fact that the starting Levante LP midfielder asked to be substituted after only 25 minutes of playing against Natasha and over 5 minutes of quality highlights as she continues to learn how to control a midfield.
She now has scored 4 goals and 6 assists for the pre-season/season
v Rheinland Ubach – La Roca played a Monday night friendly game against two German teams from Rheinland Ubach. It appeared that Rheinland started with their A team as the team included the taller and more athletic players while La Roca included a blend of players from the U19 A, B & C teams along with 2 players from their open women team. From the outset it was clear that La Roca played a superior style of football and clearly dominated the game with many attacks on goals eventually going into halftime leading 3-0 and not having to deal with too many attacking threats from Rheinland. In the second half Rheinland appeared to play their B team and La Roca played a mix that mainly included U19 B & C players, however La Roca absolutely destroyed Rheinland by scoring 10 goals in the second half and going on to win 13-0.
Natasha had another great game full of quality touches and passes including several assists and many key passes and she finished the game with a cracking goal which she banged into the top left corner of the net from 30m out.
v Ciera UD – La Roca took on last placed Ciera in a must win game and displayed their best football of the season to dominate Ciera from start to finish eventually winning 3-1. La Roca gave a very impressive performance with alot of very skilful expansive football which was a joy to watch and created 26 shots on goals to Ciera’s 9. The valuable lessons to take from this game is that La Roca are capable of a very high level of football and that the attack needs to be more clinical in their finishing. It was a very cohesive and effective team effort with every player doing their job well.
Natasha was fully recovered from her virus of the previous week and played a very controlled role in the midfield where she defended well and distributed the ball very effectively. She had over 50 posessions (over 140 touches) of the football with about a 90% passes completed which shows with a massive 5.45min of highlights.
v Damm CF – Well it didn´t get any easier for La Roca this week as they took on undefeated competition leaders Damm and unfortunately La Roca had to go into the game with two players getting out of their sick bed to play with a virus, two players carrying injuries and another player returning from a long-term injury. In addition to that a number of other players were clearly off their game, all of which led to their worst performance of the season so far and a 7-1 hammering by Damm.
Natasha was one of the players who got out of her sick bed to play as she sat up the night before the game taking all sorts of natural supplements to try and help her recover before the game. She actually slept with a bucket beside her bed because she felt so sick. It was a great effort for her to play and supports her toughness and commitment to the team but she was clearly down on strength, speed, judgement and virtually everything but still managed to play a solid game however she didn´t have the big impact she usually has. After the game Natasha said she was so sick she couldn´t even see properly, she had very little memory of the game and felt like she was watching the game from above the ground somewhere. A great effort.
v Girona FC – The end of a long tough week with 3 first division games in 8 days including an epic battle against FC Barcelona and as so often happens, after an outstanding tough fighting performance against Barca, La Roca totally outplayed Girona FC with over 30 attacks on goal to Girona´s 8 attacks on goal. However, Girona scored 2 goals to La Roca´s 1 goal taking the points. This game was similar to many pre-season games where La Roca outplayed their opponents but some defensive lapses and an inability to convert their attacks into goals cost them the game.
Natasha had another very good game controlling the midfield with her other midfield teammates. She had several key passes and about 4 shots on goal. Her shots lacked some strength and timing which is understandable after her massive effort against Barcelona only 4 days earlier but overall she had a very good game.
v FC Barcelona – What a fantastic effort!!!!💪 La Roca played the postponed game as a midweek game against the mighty FC Barcelona at Barcelona and while Barcelona dominated play as their playing style dictates, La Roca fought like crazy and finished with an impressive 0-0 draw. All players played their hearts out and they fought as one unit creating history as the first time in 11years that La Roca have kept the mighty FC Barcelona scoreless. What an incredible team effort!!!👏👏👏
Natasha had an incredible game working tirelessly in the midfield as the FC Barcelona played a very high pressure game when they did not have the ball and a very expansive and precise passing game with the ball. So when Natasha received the ball she was being tackled by 3 players and when La Roca didn’t have the ball she would have to run many kilometres. Actually Natasha did 11km in the 80min game in an incredible physical effort that was admired by everyone present. To give a perspective that is further than most professional men travel in a 90min game. Amazing.
v Santa Susanna – A good start to a tough week that includes this game against Santa Susanna followed by a Wednesday night game against FC Barcelona and finishes with a weekend game against Girona FC. La Roca completely outplayed a solid Santa Susanna team from start to finish to create 18 shots to 6 with the first half 8-1 and second half 10-5 and scored 3 goals to win 3-0. The positives were that while La Roca have outplayed every team in every game this season, they haven´t won all their games, therefore to outplay Santa Susanna and to score 3 goals and keep a clean sheet shows good progress from a team that shows big improvements every game.
Natasha had another very strong game as she controlled the midfield and created many strong attacks for La Roca. She worked tirelessly during this game and was a key player in La Roca´s dominant performance with coaches, teammates and spectators complimenting her on the quality of her game. From a critical perspective she had very strong game which would have been an incredible game if she could have just added some quality finishes to some of her amazing plays.
v UE Cabrera – It was the week for Round 2 of the League however La Roca´s opponent, FC Barcelona had a tournament they had previously committed too and therefore the game had to be postponed. La Roca decided to play a friendly game against Cabrera in its place, with a focus to work on some key areas of their game that they wanted to improve from last game. Cabrera are in a rebuilding phase and therefore were never expected to win but would hopefully provide a strong resistance. La Roca dominated the game heavily from start to finish and played very controlled quality passing football and were a pleasure to watch with alot of very skilful plays eventually winning 0-4.
Natasha worked very heavily on her positioning on the field and presenting for the ball and she had a very strong game full of quality touches, key passes and a great goal. She has scored 2 goals, had 3 assists and she has already had too many key passes to count in her first 6 games of the pre-seaon/season.
v Sant Gabriel CD – The season has started!!! An anticipated tough battle between 2 very similar teams in terms of talent, development programs and playing styles as La Roca took on Sant Gabriel in game 1, and what a battle it was as the two teams went at each other from the beginning. The first half was very equal with both teams heading into halftime equal 0-0. The second half saw another equal half however La Roca dominated possession and field position but 2 errors in defence cost 2 goals and the end result was a first game defeat of 1-2.
Natasha was more nervous then she has ever been for a game and while she began with some great play she seemed to lose her way a little bit as she struggled to read the game and her position. As her nerves finally settled and she was put into her usual position in the midfield we got to see more of the Natasha we are becoming familiar with as she did some football plays which left everyone shaking their head as to how it was even possible. Next game we hope Natasha returns to her usual self.
v Sant Cugat (open) – Well the final trial game before the official start to the season was not what La Roca had hoped for but had many positive signs. After a bonding day turned into a competitive sports day on the day before the final trial game, the La Roca team looked exhausted as they played their final trial game. However, the first 15 minutes saw La Roca produce the best quality football of the pre-season with some very impressive passing and control. As the game progressed and tiredness set in things just wouldn’t work for them. Yet they had a 1-1 draw with Sant Cugat open womens team which should have been 1-2 with a clear penalty missed by the referee. In the second half La Roca played a 10 minute period with only 10 players and a goal keeper as their striker while some players were rested as a pre-caution so a 1-1 result was a good effort with all things considered.
Natasha had one of those games that she would prefer to forget where nothing seemed to work and where she felt weak and tired. However she did produce an impressive assist for La Roca’s only goal and did some other nice plays during the game but she was clearly tired and off her game. A game to put in the closet and move on.
v Mercantil – Another pre-season friendly for La Roca , the third in seven days. Again La Roca outplayed the opposing team and scored 2 goals only to let in 3 goals and lose 2-3. Not too much to worry about at this stage with some key players being rested but the fact that the defense is hemorrhaging so many goals will need to be fixed before the season starts if La Roca are going to be competitive.
Natasha had a fantastic game with nearly 100% effective passing game, a very impressive assist, a long shot that missed by only centimeters and several key passes. She was very composed in the midfield and displayed her outstanding ball control throughout the entire game. She continues to improve as the season fast approaches. This was another game with many positive signs for her.
v Cabanes UE – Another pre-season friendly for La Roca as the games begin to come thick and fast with only 2 weeks left until the season begins. This game was against the new first division team of Cabanes A. While La Roca still lacked the cohesion the team will need to compete with the top teams in this division they started well by dominating posession and field position and were leading 4-0 at halftime. However, they fell apart in the second half with some major defensive errors to see the game tie up at 4-4 before scoring a late goal to win 5-4. While La Roca is still waiting for all of their A team players to return from holidays the positive is they managed a win but they have some negative issues that need to be improved.
Natasha appears to be gradually getting back her awareness and skills as she had a very strong game with a very good goal, a fantastic assist and some very strong defensive and attacking plays. She is looking very strong, fast and composed at this stage.
v Europa CE – Well, the pre-season friendly games for season 2018-19 have started with a game against Europa Juvenil A. Europa have a very strong team and play a very similar style of football to La Roca. The game was played in scorching 32 degree heat with La Roca fielding a team that included a combination of players from the A & B team. While the game finished 3-2 to Europa, there were many good signs for La Roca with many areas they can improve on before the season begins.
Natasha had a solid first game patrolling the midfield with many quality touches and passes. She was hacked heavily by the Europa team receiving 6 free kicks that should have been more like 10. She has several bruises as evidence😤. She played a very controlled and conservative game but will increase her attacking play in coming games, however it was a very good start to the pre-season for Natasha.
At the end of the second week of pre-season and Natasha is looking fantastic. It is one the best returns from an off-season that we have ever seen and probably just as well because her season begins very early with the addition of two new teams to the competition. With the addition of two new teams the U19 first division competition now begins on the 08 September 2018. To add to the early start to the season, her team La Roca have a really tough start with Sant Gabriel, FC Barcelona, Santa Susanna, Girona FC and Damm in the first 5 games😲. It doesn’t get much tougher than that😰. Therefore after Round 5 La Roca will have a very good idea of their level in this very tough competition.
Below is a video of Natasha nailing a single leg lateral plyo at the end of week 2 of her pre-season training. Very impressive😍.
After 4 weeks of good rest, where Natasha even declined some fantastic opportunities to play in some very good football teams, she has managed to get some very good rest, in fact she had probably the best off-season she has ever had. Today she began her pre-season with a double training day by doing a morning speed technique/field session and and afternoon gym session. In the speed/field session she was very good considering it was her first session back from a month of not touching a football and in the gym she matched her personal best in nearly every exercise 😲. A PB in nearly every exercise after 1 month rest is an outstanding sign.
Below is a sample video of Natasha doing a speed technique run through at about 70% and the second video is of her doing a PB in the bicep curl shortly after she had equaled her PB in the chest press. Early signs are very good.
Season 2018/19 pre-season is about to begin. Following Natasha´s outstanding 2017/18 season she had 5 teams keen for her to play for them in the next season. She has chosen to play for La Roca as they are a very complete female club with a very strong history of producing quality female footballers, with an astute coaching group and a team that plays a quality passing game of football. La Roca off season recruitment has been very sharp and while they don´t begin training for 3 weeks, on paper they look to have a very competitive team.
Natasha has slightly more than one week of rest remaining as she will begin her pre-season training at the beginning of August which is 2 weeks earlier than her team training but it is also what she usually does. She is expecting to be faster, stronger and more technical than ever leading into this season and this season will be an extremely long season as the Catalunya Federation has added 2 more teams to the U19 first division competition taking the first division to now include 18 teams and the pre-season already has 4 trial games penciled in.