Published: August 20, 2009
Sharpening their focus for this week’s U.S. U15 Girls National camp may have been more of a task for Laura Liedle and Reilly Parker than most of the other stars present at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
That’s because each is still trying to come down from the high of capturing US Youth Soccer National titles with their respective clubs last month.
Mustang Blast's Reilly Parker
For Liedle in particular, it was an especially dramatic moment as she helped U14 Mustang Blast, of Northern California, win its first ever championship.
“It was a huge surprise and an amazing way to end the season,” said Parker, whose Blast teammate Stephanie Amack
is also present at the week’s national camp. “Toward the beginning of the season our team wasn’t clicking so we were losing games that we should never lose. But after the high school season we really came together and played amazing as a team.”
The Blast defeated CASL 1-0 in a thrilling match for all the marbles, getting a goal from Amack in the 26th minute.
Parker is a speedy midfielder who is a lot of fun to watch. And though it’s clear she still is on Cloud Nine, it didn’t appear to affect her performance during a Monday intra-squad scrimmage amongst the U15 national camp group. Parker fought for every ball and showed off her left foot a little.
Liedle was equally unflappable while playing at left back and marking some of her most dangerous teammates. She competed well and made it extremely difficult for opposing offensive players to get balls past her. Athletic and skilled, Liedle’s focus couldn’t be penetrated, until, that is, she was asked about her title winning U15 San Diego Surf squad.
San Diego Surf's Laura Liedle
“Oh man, I love my team,” she gushed. “It was a really big deal, very special. It was our last year with our coach before we transition to our head club coach so it was very rewarding; a great experience.”
For the Surf, winning on the US Youth Soccer grand stage was much more confirmation than surprise. The Surf had already won the US Youth Soccer National League and was a juggernaut of a group featuring players like Alexandra Bailey, Cassie Collins and Katie Perry. The Surf ran into the Dallas Texans for the national title and after a 0-0 tie through regulation it took 11 penalty kicks to settle the score.
Both Liedle and Parker can build from their treasured experience as they lock horns alongside other national teamers: Ashley Spivey, Haley Washburn
, Sarah Cox, Katie Naughton and Rachel Price.
“It gives me more confidence than I had before, knowing that I’m a national champion so I can play at the highest level,” Parker said. “I love coming in here and playing. I can always bring back the things I learn to my club team and other teams I play on.”
As for the enthusiasm of a national champion … that, she’ll take with her everywhere.