It has been over a year since I’ve been invited to the last National camp. This was a huge struggle that I went through mentally. Seeing all my other teammates getting invited while I am here working my butt off and getting no reward made me realize how much harder i had to work. I used this obstacle to only work harder. Not getting invited, made me work harder and harder each and everyday.
I made the sacrifice to leave my family and friends back in Grand Blanc, Michigan, and move out to Philadelphia to play soccer. I lost many friends in this transition, but I did it because of my love for the game and my aspiration to go pro. I stayed patient and kept working with everyone back home supporting me.
This year, I’ve had the opportunity to be moved up to the u18 academy team while being only 16. After earning a starting position and performing well, they moved me up with the USL team. I knew that I was improving everyday and putting in the work that was needed.
After practice one day, my coach came up to me and said, “You did it, you’ve been invited to the u17 USA national team camp.” Words couldn’t describe the emotions that went through my head. He knew how bad I wanted to go and how much it meant to me. He told me that I deserved it a spot on the team to represent the club.
In that week I was able to prove what kind of player I was and why I deserved to be there. Everyday I would wake up, eat, train, eat, rest, eat, and finally sleep. That was my schedule everyday from Friday February 24th, till Tuesday March 2nd. The coaches gave us an off day on the Wednesday and took us to the beach for a regeneration session — stretches, yoga, running, foam-rolling — to help us feel fresh for the next training.
Once the camp ended, I was proud of myself and what I had accomplished throughout the week. Nervous and shaky, I started the week by stepping onto a field with all the best players in America, but I ended it with confidence and the thought: “I know I belong here.”
This is only the beginning.