Belmondo Diary

Belmondo September 2019

him on The Tifo Project and you can now buy his new book, Belmondo Diary: Year One via this link

MONDAY September 2nd, 2019

I’m getting paychecks from the United States soccer federation but I have no idea what work I’m supposed to be doing. Maybe I should be scouting players for the squad in case we ever play a game. I guess the Olympics must be next year, right? Oh well, the money is good and the work load is how I like it.

SC Cambuur asked me about signing Jimmy Smits today. They said they could offer about $300,000, but I told them they’d need to go closer to a million. They said okay. So…

FRIDAY September 13th, 2019

The international break is over and Ajax just lost another game. After a near-perfect season last year, they are imploding.

SUNDAY September 15th, 2019

Game day. N.E.C. v VVV

With all of the Trujillo love in the boot room, I brought him straight back in to lead the line. He repaid me with a goal inside the first 25 seconds. Olaza sent a low, long cross into the box and Alexis darted between two defenders to tap it home. Olaza tried exactly the same move twenty-two minutes later. It didn’t work, but it warms my heart to see those two working so well together. A minute after that, Vela and Fetfatzidis copied the move from the right side. It worked. This was getting too easy.

VVV got their first shot in the 43rd minute. Naturally it was a goal.

In the 52nd minute, Diarra was way offside for his flicked goal from a San Francisco Jackson bullet pass. The linesman missed it, so we went ahead 3-1. Trujillo got his brace in the 73rd and we cruised home.

We’re really firing on all cylinders lately. Apart from that loss to Groningen. Next up is the first European test.

TUESDAY September 17th, 2019

Zelalem was injured in training today. He’s out for at least a month. Pablo Perez injured himself two days ago, also in training. He’s out for six weeks. Luckily I have more central midfielders than I know what to do with. I may need to talk to Olivier about the intensity at training.

THURSDAY September 19th, 2019

Game day. N.E.C. v Panathinaikos. Europa League Group D.

I brought Rooney back in for this big game. Not sure Alexis Trujillo is up to this kind of pressure yet and I know Wayne has had some biggish games in his career. Jackson came in for Zelalem.

We had three good shots in the first ten minutes, but nothing stuck. There wasn’t much more in the half apart from a Greek shot from the half way line. Not from my Greek, though. Fetfatzidis and Lemar were playing brilliantly in the wide forward positions though. The same could not be said for Rooney.

With the scoreline still lacking a number greater than zero, I took Rooney off for Trujillo in the seventieth minute. He scored from a corner four minutes later. He got a second from a Vela pass in the eighty-second. This boy is going to be good… We won 2-0 in the first match of the group. Inter won the other game.

SATURDAY September 21st, 2019

Ajax drew today. They’ve already lost more points this season in nine games than they did in all of last season. New coach in how many weeks, I wonder?

MONDAY September 23rd, 2019

Oh. It has begun. I have to pick a squad for the Olympics qualifying rounds. I didn’t realise I’d be picking players. I just thought I’d have to coach them on game day. How am I supposed to pick a team of young American players when I only know one of them? The media has announced that Dale Griswold is available after injury. So, I guess that’s one player to pick. Now, I need to head to YouTube. I‘ve also been told a game called Football Manager has a good database for this kind of thing. I bought a copy, but it is completely indecipherable. Going to try FIFA instead.

WEDNESDAY September 25th, 2019

Golla injured himself lifting weights yesterday. Brilliant. He’ll be out for three weeks. I’m not even going to write anything about today’s Dutch Cup match against the Go Ahead Eagles. Neither team was able to go ahead and I blame that purely on the one foul per five minutes effort from the Eagles.

Unbeknownst to me, we had two halves of extra time tacked onto the end of the game. Diarra scored two goals and Kian Hansen got his first goal for the club to give us a 3-0 win that no-one was happy about. Well, maybe Diarra was happy with it.

SATURDAY September 28th, 2019

So, I picked a squad. I’m going to play a pretty attacking formation because it appears that my home country only produces attacking players. It used to be goalkeepers, but now it’s apparently forwards. I thought you could pick three players older than 23 in an Olympic squad, but that was frowned upon as I listed names. Naturally, the best player available to me was Gedion, who is injured for another month. I have one central midfielder in the squad.

Game day. SC Heerenveen v N.E.C.

I forgot to give the team a rousing speech before the game as I was still watching YouTube clips of some of my American players. Whoops. They went out a bit confused and that showed when we gave up a free kick goal within ten minutes. A bit later, Sekulovski took the ball on a long run down the left, made a heavy touch and lost control of the ball, got it back when the defender missed his interception, and finally sent in a cross that Lemar ate right up. Tied up.

Sekkers (as he likes to be called, though I’m not a fan) set up a second goal for us too. A silky dink into the running Diarra who sent in a curving shot that eluded everyone. Diarra is our leading goalscorer this season. I’m liking it.

We had a scare towards the end of the first half when Arno Joosten back-passed poorly. That was bad enough, but then Van der Heijden inexplicably ran away from the ball instead of cutting it off. That led to a one-on-one with Van der Hart, but luckily the shot was way wide. Defenders… can’t live with ‘em, can’t kill ‘em.

And we won. Sekkers was man of the match. He’s got potential, that’s for sure. But he’s Australian, so I have my doubts.

The press said there were no surprises in my U-23 squad. That has to be a good thing. We’ve got a match next week, so while there may be no surprised for the press, I expect every player is going to be a surprise to me.

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