Valmiera FC player memories in a snow battle against RFS

18 March 2023

The 2023 Optibet Virsliga season began with a draw – 0:0 against FK RFS. This wasn’t your usual match, one that could slide past you. The opinions may vary but for us, these will be unique memories of a game that was played in snowy conditions.

Niks Dusalijevs, Carlos Olses, Daniels Balodis, and Roberts Veips experienced it firsthand and for the first time in their professional careers. How did the snow affect the game and what was the experience like? We allowed the guys to tell us for themselves.

Niks Dusalijevs: For me personally it was the first time I started with Valmiera FC – previously I made the starting 11 during a cup match. I had expectations that I will get to play from the opening moments. During the match, the fans gave us cool emotions. I looked at the stands and saw that they were almost full. Incredible feeling.

The weather didn’t allow us to play the football that we wanted – quick-paced while also using both sides of the pitch. We were successful only partly, however, we also made errors. At the start of the match, we almost conceded a goal to then later improve our play.

The football was short-lived, maybe 25 minutes or so, and then the snow started to come down heavily. It felt like we would have to look for ice skates and put them on. It didn’t change our willingness to win and to fight for three points. It would have been fantastic, but a point is also a point.

Carlos Olses: This was a whole different game that I had never played before. At the start of the game, there was no snow and it felt like we were about to get out there and show our capabilities. As time progressed the snow got stronger and stronger. We quickly had to adapt, to change the plan of the game. We had to figure out how to react.

I never played in snow before. It was cold, really, really cold but I tried to focus on the game whilst trying to ignore everything else. It helped that I heard the fans supporting me, they chanted my name. Thank you! This was very sweet of them, especially because it was my debut.

In the second half, the opponent created goal-scoring opportunities, but those weren’t left unanswered by our team. I am very happy with the clean sheet. Now the focus shifts to our next battle so that we can earn three points. I hope that the weather won’t be as challenging because we really want to play the game the way it is supposed to be played. During the opener, the ball was often in battles.

Daniels Balodis: It was one hell of a game. The weather was tough and both teams played really aggressively. Many challenges made us realize how hungry both sides were to play football. I think that for the fans this was a fun experience. Obviously, I have to thank them for the support, I am happy to see them back in stadiums.

In general terms nothing changed, in the snow, you have to play simpler in order to direct the ball away from the goal. We had to be more careful because the ball rolled and jumped differently than usual.

From this game, we can take our willingness to fight, to play aggressively. Zero goals are something very important as well. With Roberts Veips we are in sync, and playing well we understood each other last year, so right now on the pitch, there are no issues.

The team didn’t score and that has to be changed for the upcoming game against Liepaja. You have to open the scoring. The zero has to be turned into something more pleasant.

Roberts Veips: The game against RFS was close. For us and the opponent – there were chances to score a goal. It was a game of luck, one goal on either end and someone would have gotten three points. Unfortunately, we didn’t score, but neither did they.

You can make easy errors if you slip and that could cost a lot. We didn’t try to complicate things, I played in a simple manner in an attempt to keep the ball. You have to be focused for 90 minutes. We could play positional football during the first half but then the snow came out and we had to switch things up.

In professional sports, you have to be able to adapt. You can’t allow the opponent to sway you off of your feet. Of course, you don’t have to expect that everything will work out. You gotta be able to switch from defense to offense.

Playing with Balodis – there are many positives. We communicate in the same language, we understand each other very easily. No matter who we are playing, the defenders have to follow certain principles. If we take care of our game discipline it is marginally easier to play.

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