One of the more positive things to come out of the U.S. U17 Women’s National Team camp a couple weeks back was not the development of the players, but of the new head coach.
Albertin Montoya was officially named the U17 head honcho in early August, and the camp served as his competitive introduction to the new position.
And while the results were mixed – a 2-2 draw and a 2-1 loss to Japan – the reviews were not.
To a man, or a young woman, everybody loves Albertin and it’s quite easy to see why.
The former Major League Soccer professional brings a youthful enthusiasm that jives with the age group. He’s passionate about the game and his playing philosophy reflects as much; when he critiques, he also encourages, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s not so far away from his playing days that he won’t take the pitch with the team.
So what exactly will the team learn? What is Montoya’s vision for how they play soccer?
Well, if the camp was any indication what Montoya wants above all else is aggression on both sides of the ball. He wants everyone on the field to push up, pressure and attack.
“Bringing pressure is expected from all of our players,” he said. “When we’ve done that it’s been a different game for us. I’m big on being assertive and getting our outside backs forward.”
Some U17 players took to this philosophy better than others – Lauren Kaskie, Danica Evans and Arielle Ship are a few that come to mind.
Hopefully, in time, and with a couple more camps of player observation, the squad can find the right mix and mindset needed to realize Montoya’s vision. Preferably sometime around the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifying next year.
In the meantime, Montoya is still serving as the director of coaching for the MVLA club in Los Altos, CA. He brings a diversity of coaching experience that includes his time spent as head coach of FC Gold Pride of Women’s Professional Soccer.
As a player, he himself competed for the U.S. U17s at the World Cup in Italy back in 1991.
So he has a lot to offer. And so far, everyone seems to be buying.
U.S. U17 Women's National Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Concorde Fire South; Kennesaw, Ga.), Carissa Miller (Sereno FC; Cave Creek, Ariz.), Morgan Stearns (McLean Power; San Antonio, Texas)
DEFENDERS (9): Morgan Andrews (FC Stars of Mass.; Milford, N.H.), Madeline Bauer (Slammers FC; Newport Beach, Calif.); Zoey Goralski (Chicago Botafogo; Naperville, Ill.), Olivia Hazelrigg (Sparta; Riverton, Utah), Lauren Kaskie (Heat FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Havana McElvaine (Colorado Rush; Denver, Colo.), Sydney Myers (Black Diamond SC; Park City, Utah), Elizabeth Raben (Colorado Rush; Greenwood, Colo.), Morgan Reid (Chelsea Ladies; Cary, N.C.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Joanna Boyles (Chelsea Ladies; Raleigh, N.C), Miranda Freeman (Lady Renegades SC; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Summer Green (Michigan Hawks; Milford, Mich.), Gabbi Miranda (Colorado Rush; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Arielle Ship (Real So Cal; Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Morgan Stanton (Colorado Rush; Lakewood, Colo.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.)
FORWARDS (7): Emily Bruder (Utah Avalanche; Sandy, Utah), Cameron Castleberry (Chelsea Ladies; Raleigh, N.C.), Danica Evans (Colorado Rush; Lakewood, Colo.), Darian Jenkins (Sparta; Riverton, Utah), Kayla Mills (Slammers FC; West Covina, Calif.), Amber Munerlyn (So Cal Blues; Corona, Calif.), Toni Payne (Concorde Fire; Birmingham, Ala.)