This is the first time that I have had guests on Hella Offsides.
Today, my two friends Kaitlyn Griswold and Matija Pavlek decided they would come and talk a little bit about themselves, their backgrounds and experiences with soccer both in the United States and Croatia.
Kaitlyn trained with Matija’s uncle in Ohio who inspired her with the idea that she could come to Europe to play soccer after graduating from Butler University. In this way she was able to start her dream of always wanting to play professional soccer.
Kaitlyn journeyed over to Europe not knowing Croatian or anything about Zagreb and spent the first few months just getting used to being in a new country where she didn’t understand what people were saying around her. At the same time she was also acclimatizing to playing soccer in the 1st Croatian Women’s soccer league for Dinamo – Zagreb. She has very many positive things to say about her experiences in Croatia so far.
Matija, who is born in Zagreb and has lived there all of his life, has recently become a trainer for Dinamo youth girls team. His father is the goalkeeper coach for the Dinamo women’s side and his two uncles are both coaches – one in Austria and one in Ohio. His family is very soccer oriented (obviously) and he falls very comfortably into the position of being a coach because he has a lot of support. He played soccer himself until he suffered from a knee injury and his sister, who played in Dinamo before, recently made a transfer to play in the first Austrian women’s soccer league for Sturm Graz.
Working with girls has changed Matija’s perspective for not only women’s soccer but also soccer in general. He talks a little bit about how it fulfills him even though he always pictured himself coaching boys and not girls.
Soccer really brought the three of us together and helped us create a bond as friends that can last forever. Soccer bonds and usually some of the strongest, all of my best friends came one way or another from soccer.
Much thanks to Kaitlyn and Matija for being a part of Hella Offsides, and there are several more videos to come with them including penalty shootouts and juggling competitions!