Sean’s Blog: An intro

On a semi-regular basis over the next few months, our American recruit Sean O’Reilly will be writing a few blogs on how he is finding his time over here and how the Blue Square Bet North compares with his experiences in the States. Enjoy…

“Hello Guiseley AFC,

To begin, I just want to say thank you for the lovely reception I have been given since joining on. Everyone from the management and players to the game day staff and the fans have been incredibly friendly. I am looking forward to playing my part in helping the club achieve its goal of promotion this year.

As an outsider who came to the club, and English football in general, out of the blue (or rather across the blue) I was asked by the club to do a bit of writing about my experiences. So, I hope to be able to offer you some interesting, or at least different, perspectives in regards to the club and the wonderful sport of football, or as we refer to it back home soccer.

The one restriction I have is to make sure I don’t reveal the truth about anyone in the team, so I am here to tell you how kind, intelligent, hard-working, respectful and funny all the players and management staff are. Jokes aside, I can assure you the squad is equally as enjoyable to be around off the pitch as they are to watch out on it.

We recently made the long trip down to Bishop’s Stortford and while no one likes a long bus ride, it does present a unique opportunity for the team to spend some time together. Personally, it was the first time that I have spent significant time with the guys outside of the training/playing environment. It was a good chance for me to get to know some of them a little bit better.

I have often found that there is a direct positive correlation between decibel levels coming from the back of the bus and team unity. Therefore, the noise and smack-talking (banter) on the long journey back from Bishop’s Stortford was a good sign – the dominant victory helped brighten the mood as well.

There is not much worse than a long bus ride after a disappointing result.

It was also great to have a bus of travelling supporters make the long trip as well. It’s always great to hear familiar chants when you are far from home! From what I read on Twitter, the victory made your trip home go by a little bit faster as well. It is very rewarding as a player to be able to earn victories for the fans, in return for their support.

In the lower tiers of American soccer, there isn’t the same amount of travelling support. This is partly due to logistical reasons (like 10 hour bus rides and oftentimes flights), but it also goes to show the grassroots, community based foundation which most clubs are built upon in England.

While soccer in America has grown and improved significantly over the years, the US leagues are, in general, still working hard to obtain that kind of core support.

I’ve been training with the side for over a month now and am impressed with the quality of the players in the side. Not many Americans are familiar with anything below the football league and probably would not expect it to be such a high standard of football in the 6th tier. I will definitely be doing my best to spread the word about it.

The important thing right now is that the team continues to win and can build up momentum heading into the 2nd half of the season.

I find that the best teams are versatile and find various ways to get results. For instance, we beat Bradford (PA) on boxing day thanks to a determined defensive effort; we beat them again New Years in a tough battle in poor conditions; we beat Bishop’s Stortford with quality and style; and we beat a determined Corby back line with patience and sharpness.

It is difficult to stop a team with quality and versatility.

Onwards and upwards! We are Guiseley!

Sean O’Reilly

Follow Sean on twitter @seano55 and check out his blog at www.headfirstfootball.com