Published: January 5, 2012
When the U.S. U18 Women's National Team sets foot on the Olympic Training Center grounds this weekend in Chula Vista, California, they'll be following in the elder footsteps of the U20s.
The 18s will share the venue with the 20s during their camp which runs from January 7-15, and as it turns out that won't be the only thing they'll share.
The connections through the two teams runs deep, as the U18s will undoubtedly be looking up to players they hope to emulate in the near future.
Some players will come closer to doing so than others.
For example, defenders Maya Theuer, Laura Liedle and Ryan Walker will get an early simulation of Stanford's competition level simply by looking across the field and seeing U20 Cardinal speedster Chioma Ubogagu.
All three Stanford-to-be prospects are well aware of Ubogagu and are looking forward to getting a taste of next season's training battles.
"She is definitely a college star that I look up to," Theuer said. "As a defender it'll definitely be a challenge to match up with her – she has great pace and skill. I'm looking forward to it and I’m super excited for the camp."
Other job shadowing will include Katie Naughton and Brittany Von Rueden, both of whom are on the verge of becoming Notre Dame teammates with U20 standout Mandy Laddish.
As rivalries go, Christen Westphal better get a good look at Florida State defender Kassey Kallman. She'll be trying to keep pace next season when she arrives as a defensive presence for the Florida Gators.
Virginia stars, and U20 players, Morgan Brian and Olivia Brannon can show the ropes to Cavaliers' committees Alexis Shaffer and Makenzy Doniak, while U18 player Reilly Parker is prepping to attend North Carolina where she'll join U20 members Crystal Dunn and Kealia Ohai.
And then there's U18 goalkeeper Laura Glew, who has a connection to U20 players Sydney Leroux and Julie Johnston that has little to do with college.
"We have all been coached by (SC del Sol & Sereno SC’s) Les Armstrong, so I'm really looking forward to seeing them play,"Glew said. "He has always pushed me to the highest level and I know he did the same with Julie and Sydney."
U.S. Soccer Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs will lead the U18s during a week that will include a pair of scrimmages against the Shanghai Women's Football Club of China.
Twenty-two of the players called in were born in 1994, which is the age cutoff for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, the tournament for which this group of players is working toward.
U.S. U18 WNT Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Laura Glew (SC Del Sol; Chandler, Ariz.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.), Andi Tostanoski (Pride Predator; Colorado Springs, Co.)
DEFENDERS (9): Stephanie Amack (Mustang Blast; Pleasanton, Calif.), Rachel Blauner (South Shore Select FC; East Bridgewater, Mass.), Laura Leidle (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Naughton (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Alexis Shaffer (CASL; Cary, N.C.), Maya Theuer (San Diego Surf; Carlsbad, Calif.), Brittany Von Rueden (FC Milwaukee Nationals; Mequon, Wis.), Ryan Walker (Mustang Blast; Oakland, Calif.), Christen Westphal (Cleveland Internationals SC; Brecksville, Ohio)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Rachel Conners
(Real So Cal; Moorpark, Calif.), Isabelle Farrell (Crossfire Premier, Bellevue, Wash.), Ashley Meier (Cleveland Whitecaps; Strongsville, Ohio), Reilly Parker (Mustang Blast; Danville, Calif.), Gabrielle Seiler (Concorde Fire SC; Peachtree, Ga.), Allison Wetherington (Concorde Fire SC; Acworth, Ga.)
Janine Beckie (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Makenzy Doniak (Slammers FC; Chino Hills, Calif.), Kelli Hubly
(Sockers FC; Elk Grove, Ill.), Kodi Lavrusky (Legends FC; Yucaipa, Calif.), Anna McClung (GSA Phoenix; Gate City, Va.), Courtney Raetzman (Sockers FC; Elk Grove, Ill.)