Utah’s 02 Girls Team – U.S. Youth Soccer Tournament Blog

By Willow Collins

Photo by Adam Collins

For every state in the United States there is a soccer program within the state. The US Soccer Association decided to split these states into regions to make it easier to compete. There are four different regional championships that feed into the national championships. My region is Region IV which includes Southern and Northern California, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Eastern Washington, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska. Each of these states participate in the ODP Region IV Championships. I got the amazing opportunity to represent my state in this regional tournament. In Utah, there are many different steps that are needed to make the team. The state only allows 18 players for each team, boys and girls. The process starts with a tryout of anywhere from 50-100 players who are then narrowed down to only 44 players. During the early winter months, you do a few trainings with the 44 players, and then the numbers are narrowed down further into only 22 players. These players travel to Mesquite, Nevada for the weekend and showcase their skills. After this excursion, the coaches do the final cutting of players, and take 18 players. Before the tournament, the final 18 team practices and starts creating chemistry. I was one of the lucky players who got this opportunity. My age group is 2002 girls, so I played all the best 2002 girls in our region. My team played Oregon first, and we beat them 5-1. Next, we played New Mexico, and won 6-0 starting with my goal off of a header. After, we played Northern California as a quarterfinals to make it into the semi finals. The game was tough, and it was tied the whole game until the end. I didn’t go in until the last five minutes when it was still tied. This made me very upset, so I decided I would show the coach what I was there to do. One of our forwards dribbled down the sideline and crossed it in. I ran super hard into the box and volleyed the ball, and scored the goal that brought us to the semi finals. That feeling was truly amazing, because everyone was treating me like I was a hero. The next day we played Washington in the semi finals which was a very tough game. Both teams were competing and not letting up. However, towards the end of the second half, Washington scored, which ended the game as a 1-0 loss for us. I was very upset that we wouldn’t go to the finals, but I was proud of our team’s hard work, and proud that we got so far. Utah as a whole did very well. Out of the 10 teams, 7 made it to the semifinals, and 2 made it two the finals. The 2002 boys age group won the whole thing, which was triumphant for Utah. I was thankful for my opportunity and had a fantastic time through all of the experiences. If you train hard, and put in countless hours of hard work, you can make the team too! If you are wanted ideas for soccer training, stay tuned for my next blog will have soccer training tips in it!

Follow the quote by Alex Morgan,”Keep working, even when no one is watching.”

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