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Athlete’s Voices: Kendall Johnson, Episode 3. A NY/NJ Experience

by Guest | Posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 has partnered with some local athlete’s to develop this great column titled, Athlete’s Voices. In this column, some of your favorite local athletes will share their lives with you, both on and off the playing surface. Each athlete will post a blog, once a month, updating you on their latest happenings. Today’s post is by Kendall Johnson, a member of Sky Blue FC, New Jersey’s professional women’s soccer team. Follow Kendall as she will post a blog on the 15th of every month…

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Welp, it looks like my World Cup predictions were a bit off, to say the least, but such is life. One estimate that I hit out of the ball park was the jam packed excitement throughout the entire tournament; from USA’s victory against Ghana to Suárez biting his opponent to Neymar’s heartbreaking back injury, all the way down to Palacios braided rattail. I was thoroughly overjoyed with everyone’s enthusiasm for soccer this month and can only hope that the hype lasts until the end of time.

This month has whizzed right on by in lightening speed. I swear each year of life passes by exponentially faster than the last. I asked Christie Rampone, our eldest and hence wisest team member, and she confirmed my inclination. And that’s why I’m a huge proponent of making the most of every day. One of my absolute favorite past times is exploring new places. With the beach, city, and mountains, all in relatively close quarters, New Jersey offers an exceptional place for adventurers. Whenever we have a team practice or event in a new location, I always make an effort to plan my day around it.

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NYC is one of the best places to grab a great meal.

A week ago, I helped out with a soccer clinic in Staten Island. I’m not familiar with that area, but I heard from various people that “Staten Island is just not a place you go visit.”  Well to them I said, when there’s a will, there’s a way! I ignored these haters, and headed north early in the day to allow for adequate exploration time. My first stop was Fort Wadsworth, where I came across a beautiful view on the water overlooking the city and Verrazano-Narrows. After soaking in this view, I navigated to my next location, the Greenbelt Conservancy. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I am a sucker for nature, and this place met my high expectations. I went on a luxurious stroll through tunnels of vibrantly green trees and it was magical.

A few days after this event, our team had the privilege of ringing the opening bell for the NASDAQ. I recently took an interest in investing and was particularly thrilled about this opportunity. Despite having to explain the significance of the NASDAQ to our international players (and a few U.S citizens), we all had a fabulous time. After this event, we had the entire day to ourselves in New York City. Whenever I come here, I ALWAYS plan my day around food. Few things in life get me more excited than a mouthwatering meal and the city offers an unreal amount of places to satisfy my soul.

With food as my main prerogative, I take a very methodical, yet flexible approach to navigating the city. Essentially, I walk around wherever the wind takes me and use my phone to yelp eateries in the “current location”. Every few seconds, I refresh the page to assure that I’m not missing out on any good places near by. It usually takes me about an hour to settle for a place, but my choice never disappoints. This yelping pattern causes my phone battery to reach near death about every two hours, which naturally forces me to yelp a coffee shop to go charge my phone. Of course it’d be rude if I used their power outlets without purchasing anything, so I indulge in a delightful beverage.  Once my phone has enough juice, I take the streets to repeat the process. This flawless method always leaves me training back to Jersey with a full belly and happy heart.

One of my favorite things about Jersey is that it’s an easy train ride into the bustling city, but if you in the mood for a relaxing day, the beaches are even closer. Just yesterday morning our team met up in Point Pleasant for some fitness on the boardwalk, followed by some soccer on the beach, and finished off with an “ice bath” in the ocean.  I’m not a fan of running, but if it has to be done, it doesn’t get much better than doing it oceanside. The only complaint I had was the wide array of undesirable smells we inhaled mid workout. In the midst of our 800 meter runs, we would get wafts of a nice cool breeze, but that draft would also be accompanied by a lethal combination of seaweed, dirty sand, and wet diaper. The natural response I’d have to these scents would be to plug my nose, but turns out that’s not the most effective move while running. Scents aside, it was a rather enjoyable experience.

With only a little over a month left until the season’s over, I have gotten to experience some pretty awesome things. If you have any suggestions of places I must see or eat before the season’s over, please let me know! In the mean time, our team only has two home games left and I’d love to see you out there!


Until next time,


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