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Postcard from Heather O'Reilly in San Jose, Costa Rica

Every so often when the U.S. Women’s National Team plays out of the country, a player will write an e-postcard, filling in the fans back home on the happenings of the team, off field activities, and anything else on their mind.  Today, 19-year-old forward Heather O’Reilly shares her thoughts on her Internet classes, how training has been going so far and skin care in the tropics as the USA gears up for CONCACAF Final Round Olympic Qualifying.

Hola!  I must say I am enjoying my time in Costa Rica, mostly because I have a great roommate for this trip…Christie Pearce, whoops!  I mean, Christie Rampone.  (Just so you know, it’s pronounced Ram-POHN, not RAM-PONY).  Christie and I are both Jersey girls so we have spent some time reminiscing about our glory days at the Jersey shore.  Of course, my glory days were just last summer and hers’, well, they were a little farther back.

I think I might be bugging Christie a bit though, because I’m still on “college hours” while Christie goes to bed early.  She is also a bit of an early-riser, while I on the other hand am not known to be too chipper in the morning.  I have been staying up to study as I am trying to keep up in school with some online classes to avoid the infamous “seven-year-plan” at UNC.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to be having these experiences traveling around the world playing soccer at such a young age.  In all honesty, I could be stuck in an 8 a.m. geology class right now, but don’t let the nickname “rocks for jocks” deceive you.  It’s actually kind of a difficult class.  Trust me, there are lots of different kinds of rocks.

Instead, after a hard morning of training, a great lunch of rice, chicken and fresh fruit, I am able to get an hour by the pool in attempt to even out the dreaded “shin guard tan.”  The team has been really focused down here and the practices have been going well.  We have been running quite a bit, trying to get our overall fitness levels up to prepare for the exciting year ahead, and there are definitely some tired legs on the team.  But we feel like we’ve put in some quality work during the first part of our training period and now we are ready to taper down for the Olympic qualifying games.

If I get to play, this will actually be my third CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament.  I played with the U.S. Under-19s in Trinidad & Tobago in 2002 and I got to play one game in qualifying for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, and it’s always so exciting when there is great prize at the end of the competition -- a place in the Olympics!

I have to give a “shout out” to all my buddies back in Chapel Thrill and to all the kids at the best on-campus living quarters in the land - Carmichael Dormitory.  I was definitely settling into the college life this Fall, and it was sad to have to leave again, but there is no place I would rather be than with this team trying to qualify for the Olympics. 

Tomorrow is our second and probably last day off here in Costa Rica, and the team is going to a small island off the Pacific Coast.  Note to self: Don’t forget the 45 SPF sunscreen!!  I am definitely not the best bronzer on the team. Well, that’s all from San Jose, Costa Rica!

Hasta Luego,