staff, July 9, 2012

Emily Zurrer was a star soccer player for Illinois. After playing for Team Canada in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Zurrer is back again with Team Canada in the 2012 London Olympics. She?s also one of a handful of Big Ten names chronicling their Olympic adventures for Find more journals here.

Here's what Zurrer wrote today:

"This past year has been a whirlwind full of highs, plenty of lows, and everything in between.

Former Illinois soccer All-American Emily Zurrer is playing for Canada in the 2012 London Olympics. The three-time All Big Ten player chronicles her journey here for Read all of our Olympic journals.

"After being left off the roster for our Olympic Qualification tournament (which happened to be in my hometown of Vancouver, BC), I knew that I had an uphill battle ahead of me in order to prove myself to our new head coach and make sure I was on the roster for London.

"After plenty of tears shed (weakness leaving the body!) and a few sleepless nights (OK, maybe more than a few), I relocated my inner strength, put it in a box on a chain around my neck (hypothetically) and made a pact to myself that I was going to use the setback as motivation and work as hard as I possibly could to give myself the best chance of making the team. Not that I didn?t have motivation before, but this hurdle added a whole whack of fuel to the fire, and I was determined to use the situation I found myself in to make me stronger as a player and person, no matter whose names were called when the roster for London was announced.

"To make a long story short, after my team successfully qualified in January, I was able to battle my way back and reclaim my spot as a center back on the Canadian National Team. When the official roster was named, I felt a giant sense of relief and gratitude towards everyone who had supported me through my fairly tumultuous road to London. There are so many of you.

"This will be my second Olympic Games. It still feels surreal to say that. Being chosen to represent my country in Beijing in 2008 was one of the greatest feelings in the world, and this time I have to say I feel even slightly more honored and grateful.

"We have spent the last three months together as a team training in Vancouver, one of the most beautiful cities in the world (not that I?m biased. And now have just arrived in another breathtaking place called Crans Montana, which is a ski town in the Swiss Alps. Here's a photo:

"We are here for pre-Olympic prep during which we will also compete in a mini-preparation tournament where we will play three friendly warm-up games against Colombia, New Zealand, and Brazil.

"Sidenote: Drake was on our flight to Zurich.

"Sidenote #2: Drake is Canadian. As Canadians, we like to proudly claim ALL famous Canadian entertainers. A few of our favourites (Canadian spelling): Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Mike Myers, Bryan Adams, Jim Carrey, JUSTIN BEIBER. You?re welcome.

"Sidenote #3: I am Swiss! My grandfather was actually from Zurich, which means I am eligible for Swiss citizenship.

"Today we had our first on-field training session and the scenery was amazing. We had to travel 30 minutes to the bottom of the mountain to get to the field, but it was worth it as we were literally training in the middle of the Swiss Alps. It doesn?t get much better than that. Here's another photo:

"To top it off, it was raining a little bit which produced a beautiful rainbow between the mountains. Unfortunately it was gone by the time I made it to my camera. Maybe tomorrow there will be a double rainbow. I might hide my camera in my sports bra just in case.

"Well, I think that about sums up my first blog. Follow myself and the Canadian Women's National Team (CanWNT) as we embark on our journey to London.  Just 16 days until our opening match against Japan!  Tomorrow we will be better than we were today. Thanks for listening. Dreamin? Big ;)"

Editor's note: Look back at Zurrer's Illinois bio page at and find all of her future entries from London on her Big Ten Olympic archive page.