Stephanie Labbe talks Valentine’s Day, fitness testing, and foam rollers

Happy Valentines Day!

Typically on Valentine’s Day I would want to wake up to a nice box of chocolates, or candy, or maybe even flowers and a card … but not this year, not today.  OK, I wont lie, I did get some chocolates and candy and a card, but that’s a secret … OK, not anymore, but it was! This year for Valentine’s Day, I woke up with my Canadian team to weigh-ins, fat testing, strength testing, and fitness testing.

Luckily, I am a goalie so the fitness testing didn’t apply to me, but it isn’t the “ideal” way to start your Valentine’s Day! BUT, sometimes it’s a nice reminder that we eat, live, and breathe soccer … even on holidays! So we put on a smile, and got ourselves out there and KILLED the testing! This team is so motivated to do great things. It’s so fun to be a part of it! And now, to support this as well, we officially have all our gear for our new team sponsor, UMBRO.  Of course I am going to give a shout-out, as they also personally sponsor me, but we are so happy with everything we have received, and we truly look amazing with our new gear!

Backtracking a little now to update on my quick travels recently … after a short two-day trip to Sweden last week, due to some visa mix-ups, an exhibition game in which we won 9-0, it was back on the plane and off to Rome, to begin our Canadian team preparations for the Cyprus tournament.  Of course, we still do not know our fate in terms of actual game playing with our boycott still in full effect. There are approximately two weeks until our first game, and we still have hopes that there will be change, and it will happen soon.  Meanwhile, we must work hard and prepare for whatever happens, games or not.

After all the testing today, I am going to have a new best friend for the night, my new foam-roller. When I was home over break I bought myself a “Trigger-Point” foam-roller, and it has changed my life.  OK, maybe not my life, but it has definitely changed the way I think about stretching. I am definitely one of the least flexible players on this team, which everyone seems to find impressive given I am a goalkeeper.  But I prove that theory wrong by a long shot. I try to stretch when I can, but it’s just so painful.  Now, my new foam roller has made stretching much more fun!

If you have never used one, it’s literally a tube of foam that you just roll your body on to massage/stretch them. I don’t know the exact wording, but I think it “releases your fascia.”  It has worked wonders, and it’s much more fun than just sitting and stretching, which makes the pain easier to handle … ha. AND my teammates make fun of me because I am definitely the new spokesperson for this specific roller since it’s hollow and great for travel because I can shove things in it to save room! Go out and buy one and you wont regret it!!!

Stephanie Labbe is a keeper for the Canadian Women’s National Team and Piteå IF of Damallsvenskan. (Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Labbe and may not be replicated, reproduced, distributed or downloaded.)