FC Edmonton forward Daryl Fordyce remembers one of his first road games after he made the move from Northern Ireland to the NASL.
It was a road date in Fort Lauderdale.
“Once you go down to Florida and the hot places, you have to get acclimatized,” said Fordyce. “My first game down in Fort Lauderdale it was 23 degrees (Celsius), and I though it was really hot and the guys were saying that this is mild.”
And that’s the thing for a lot of players coming over from European leagues; playing games in the summer, in hot, humid climates, is something they don’t do often — or at all. What would be considered a temperate day in Florida was sweltering to someone coming over from Northern Ireland.
“And, then, you go down to San Antonio a few months later and it’s 32 degrees,” said Fordyce. “It’s about adjusting to the different climates and the games, obviously, are a little bit slower, you can’t go 100 miles per hour for 90 minutes. As for back in Britain, it’s a colder country, it’s a bit like us (Edmonton) at home. It’s cooler and you can be aggressive for longer times in the game. But whenever you go away, the heat saps your energy a little bit quicker.”
Heat. Many hours in the air and in airports. Moving from pristine grass pitches to new artificial turf to old artificial turf to grass pitches you’d wish would be replaced with artificial turf. That’s the North American soccer experience. And, for players coming from abroad, it requires a massive change in perspective.
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