Albertin Montoya’s U17 Women’s National Team is about to depart for Guatemala where it begins play May 1 at the CONCACAF Championship, which is the qualifying tournament for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup taking place in August.
Like all teams, every player on the roster has a unique story. This week we’re chronicling each of those, as told to us by the players. Part 2 of 4. Read Part 1 HERE.
Jane Campbell, Kennesaw, GA, Goalkeeper, Concorde Fire South
She could have been a dancer.
Jane Campbell, the starting goalkeeper for the U17 Women’s National Team, had been involved with dance since before she started kindergarten. The Atlanta-area standout was an avid student of jazz, ballet and pointe dancing (if you don’t know want pointe dancing is, don’t worry, Jane explained it to me and I still don’t get it – RZ). As she started to grow in her love for soccer around age 11, too many schedule conflicts were occurring and she had to pick one.
Luckily for American soccer, she went with the beautiful game, but it turns out all that time practicing twirls and leaps helped her become a top goalkeeper.
“I never necessarily thought it helped me before, but I definitely do now,” she told TopDrawerSoccer.com “It really helps with flexibility and balance and leaping off one foot. As a goalkeeper all of these things are helpful.”
Campbell started her club soccer with NASA and then switched to Concorde Fire south a couple of years ago. She has been a regular with the U17 WNT since the cycle began and is excited at the team’s prospects at the CONCACAF event. She cites togetherness as an important attribute of the team.
“Eight or nine of us have been together since the U14 ID camp. All of us are definitely really close,” she said. “When a new person comes in to camp, everyone is very welcoming and by the end of the first day we seem like we have known each other all our lives. The chemistry is really good on and off the field.”
Emily Bruder, Sandy, Utah, Forward, Utah Avalanche
Emily Bruder, like her inspiration Abby Wambach, is a handful for any defender.
She is strong on the ball, dynamic in space, and always looking to score.
“She is just so strong and powerful,” Bruder told TopDrawerSoccer.com about Wambach. “She can hold the ball so well and is an extremely dangerous scoring threat at all times.”
U17 Women’s National Team coach Albertin Montoya has utilized the forward from Utah on the wing, which is a terrifying thought for outside backs.
The prolific scorer, who already has her high school record for career goals, cited playing for the national team as her top soccer achievement so far.
“My proudest moment is soccer is having the opportunity to represent my country on the U17 national team,” Bruder said. “(I’m) looking forward to qualifiers in Guatemala next month and hopefully moving on to the World Cup this fall!”
Elizabeth Raben, Greenwood, Colorado, Defender, Colorado Rush
Elizabeth Raben moved to the Rush about a year and a half ago and is a rock solid defender who loves playing in the back line.
A talented communicator, Raben is involved in speech and debate and is often cited by teammates as one of the more talkative members of the squad, a trait she doesn’t deny.
Raben said good communication is a key ingredient to the team’s solid chemistry.
“We’re all in touch with each other a lot,” she said. “Between Facebook and Twitter we stay in each other’s lives even when we are not in camp.”
Raben, whose club teammates Gabrielle Miranda and Morgan Stanton are also on the U17 WNT, twice lived overseas due to her father’s work as a physician, playing in Italy as a 7th grader and more recently in England for six months as part of the Manchester City Ladies Team.
“It was a very different style of play,” she admitted. “You have to seek out elite players in order to train well, but once you get there, the soccer is actually pretty good.”
Carissa Miller (aka Cassie), Cave Creek, Arizona, Goalkeeper, Sereno FC
It may be 2012, but U.S. U17 Women’s National Team goalkeeper Carissa Miller is still living in 2004.
“Before I play, I must listen to "Yeah" by Usher,” Miller told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I have just been doing it for as long as I remember and I still do every game.”
The song that launched Lil Jon’s career eight years ago apparently gets the Arizona native up for the game.
She also has other rituals that she abides by before taking the field, citing always tying her left cleat first.
The superstitions have worked, as the keeper is on the verge of realizing her dream.
“Going step by step through this process has been an extraordinary journey and to represent the US and my team to qualify in the World Cup is just a feeling you will never be able to understand after working your whole life for this one dream.”
Morgan Reid, Cary, NC, Defender, CASL Chelsea Ladies
If there were any doubts about how tight the U17 Women’s National Team is, Reid puts those to bed when asked about the looming tournament.
“I am really looking forward to spending a couple of weeks with some of my best friends while developing as a player and representing my country,” she told TopDrawerSoccer.com about the upcoming tournament.
Reid is part of what head coach Albertin Montoya has highlighted as two of the team’s strengths heading into Guatemala – its unity and its defense. She usually occupies an outside back spot.
Those two strengths are going to be put to the test but the CASL Chelsea defender knows that this group is ready for it.
“This upcoming tournament should be a great experience; we have been preparing for over eight months now and have really come together well on and off the field,” she said. “I know we will get everybody’s best shot down in Guatemala, but I think our preparation will have us more than ready for our upcoming qualifying games.”