ECNL FL Player Journal: Gabriela Rotolo

ECNL FL Player Journal: Gabriela Rotolo
by J.R. Eskilson
January 13, 2022

During the ECNL National Events this season, one player is asked to write a journal from the event for us to post on TopDrawerSoccer. Ohio State commit and Ohio Premier standout Gabriela 'Guzzy' Rotolo wrote a journal from the ECNL National Event in Florida over the weekend. Read her thoughts on playing in the National Selection Game, enjoying her last ECNL National Event, and how she prepares for a big game. 

Gabriela Rotolo Player Journal

Saturday, January 8th

Gabriela RotoloGabriela Rotolo at ECNL NSG

Unlike showcases in the past, ECNL Florida kicked off on a Saturday this year. We could not ask for better weather. Coming from Ohio’s brutal winter to an unusually hot winter in Florida was a treat of its own. My team played at 11:50 am today; however, I was not able to participate because I was playing in the National Selection Game at 6:00 pm. Even though I love nothing more than to watch my team play, I decided to stay back at the hotel so that I could better prepare for the National Selection Game. I woke up and ate breakfast, and then went on a jog and stretch to activate my muscles. I later went on a walk with my mom to get a smoothie bowl for lunch, then went back to the hotel and rested before I had to get on the road. 

Check-in and gear pick-up for the National Selection Game was at 4:20 p.m. At this point in the day, the complex began to get less and less crowded. As soon as we got our gear and situated, we headed over to meet with our team and coaches. I appreciated the competitive yet relaxed aura that was created surrounding the game. My nerves had been high prior to meeting the players and coaches, but talking with everyone made me more excited to get started. 

The game was such a great experience. To be surrounded by such talented players and knowledgeable coaches from all over is truly something special. Being able to feed off of each other's ideas and comprehension of the game made me, and those around me, learn a lot that night. Nothing made me happier than looking over and seeing all of my teammates with signs for me. The support from my teammates and those I care about is something that will always stick with me. The sidelines were filled with parents, players, and coaches which made the atmosphere all the better! After the game, I stopped and got dinner with my parents and teammates, then went back to the hotel. Time to prepare for tomorrow!

Sunday, January 9th

Day Two of ECNL Florida is here. Once again, my team plays at 11:50 am. I absolutely loved the National Selection Game, but I am happy to be back playing with my team today. I woke up at 7:30 am and ate breakfast, went on a small walk, then began to head over to the fields. Something I do before every game is make sure that I drink Pedialyte. I am prone to cramps and getting easily dehydrated, and drinking Pedialyte has always helped. We won 3-0 and had an all-around good team performance. 

At this point in the weekend, my legs began to get tired and I felt the effects of two difficult games. Therefore, I made sure that I am taking the right measures to help my body recover. When I got back to the hotel, I made sure that I iced up, drank plenty of water, and stretched. Of course, a good dinner is vital too. My parents, friends, and I went out to eat at a Spanish restaurant. After dinner, I went back to the hotel, did some homework, then went to bed so that I was well-rested for the last day.

Monday, January 11th

Bittersweet. This is a good day to express my feelings on the last day. With it being my last ECNL showcase event ever, I was feeling nostalgic and sentimental. However, I am excited for the next chapter of my life and try to embrace every moment. Yet again, I woke up and had breakfast, went on a walk with my mom, then came back to the hotel to rest. 

My team won 4-1 today. Once again, we all played well together and most importantly, had a great time doing it. Our game was at 3:50 pm, so there was a little breeze which made the weather absolutely perfect. Thankfully, I didn’t have to catch a flight after the game, so I was able to talk with some teammates after, then went out to dinner with my parents. We ended up staying an extra night, so after dinner, we got some ice cream, then went back to the hotel. 

ECNL Florida was nothing short of amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better last showcase. The atmosphere created and the sense of comradery was unmatched. I am so grateful to be surrounded by such great teammates, coaches, and parents that make these experiences all the more memorable.

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