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View from the End Line: Being Abroad

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Maintaining contact while overseas is proving daunting

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the end of the year, and work asked that I take one final trip to Glasgow, Scotland to help finish things up. To be honest, it also meant being able to sit in on the factory Christmas lunch, as well as crash a group’s holiday dinner one evening. And once again, it also meant scanning the fixtures to see if there would be a chance of catching some football. Guess what? There most certainly was, and it found me in a very familiar place just a 35-minute train ride from Glasgow.

We will get to that in just a bit as there is another matter I wanted to bring up with you. You might be shocked by this but it is extremely difficult to follow anything MLS while in Scotland. My work phone works extremely well in Europe, as I would expect it to. It has been professionally set up and installed within a framework of other professions with cell phones with the expectation that overseas travel will happen, and it benefits everyone if the phone transitions from domestic to international is seamless.

However, due to the fact that it is a work phone, there is only so much I can and am willing to do on it. I am a big believer in simply keeping my work and personal life separate. I like to keep them so separate that it would appear as though my personal phone does not like to work at all in Scotland, unless it is connected to a solid wifi signal.

I have been on business travel for just over a week, and what have I missed? Hopefully the list below will fill you in on just some of the things I have missed, at least in finding out when everyone else does, since this business trip began:

The movement of El-Mo and Tarek stung the most. I did not foresee either of those two players on the trade table, especially considering the level of play from them last season. Now imagine all of this happening while not only overseas, but overseas in an area that is very much into football, and when people find out that you are into football as well, they certainly want to discuss MLS and who you follow.

Thankfully, the rabbit hole I was falling into was given a bottom yesterday, as I met my friend Dougie and his lovely wife at Rugby Park to once again cheer on Kilmarnock FC. It was the first really cold day I had experienced on this trip, even snowing a bit in the morning. Some highlights of the trip were being delayed on the ScotRail train from Glasgow to Kilmarnock due to livestock on the track, Killie pies, all the pints you need, great seats, and watching Killie beat Dundee FC, 3-1 and take their place at the top of the Scottish Premier League table — at least until Celtic and Rangers make up the games in hand.

With all of the chaos back home, Killie became a welcoming place, with good friends, great conversation, and a scrappy squad looking to make its mark on the league. It makes me think of another team I know and love, but being gone for only a week and seeing only flashes of information and snippets of headlines makes everything that much more difficult. It is the off season, and the Lions are rebuilding, but being 6,700 miles away has made the instability even more chaotic, and I am looking forward to getting home in the next few days, catching up with all that is Orlando City, and preparing for the road ahead.