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Center Circle Halloween Extra: 'Tis the Season in U-19 Camp


The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team finished up a week-long training camp at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif. yesterday, but not without a bit of Halloween revelry. The U.S. team ran through an hour morning training before finishing the camp with an 80-minute scrimmage in the evening, but the a.m. practice was not your normal pre-game walk through. World champion head coach Tracey Leone (a member of the 1991 Women’s World Cup Champions and coach of the USA’s 2002 U-19 World Champions) conducted the entire training session with the players, and Leone and her coaching staff, fully outfitted in Halloween costumes. 

Midfielder Brittany Klein was dressed as a nun, and unfortunately her hat flew off several times in training.  Defender Amanda Poach, replete with shocking silver hair, was an Evil Cheerleader while 5-foot-2 perky Long Islander Lorraine Quinn was a Team USA Cheerleader.  Midfielders Marti Desjarlais and Ashlee Pistorius were a hit as Raggedy Ann and Andy, and won the “Most Work on Costume” Award.  Goalkeeper Kelsey Davis won the “Most Appropriate Costume Award” as the Southern California product with a sweet-disposition dressed as that famous fairy Tinker Bell, despite her 5-foot-11 frame.  There was a Cow (midfielder Yael Averbuch), a Bee (defender Nikki Krzysik) and a Hula Girl (defender Kelsey Moore), but top honors for “Best Costume” went to veteran U-19 goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who dressed as the ultra-popular kid’s cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.Said Harris, who pitched a 1-0 shutout against Canada as the USA won first FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in September of 2002: “We don’t have much to do in between trainings, so I had a lot of time to think of a good costume.”

A quick trip to Target helped Harris gather the appropriate accessories for her costume, which didn’t stop her from diving around the goal during the U.S. training.  “I got kind of scratched up.  I don’t think Spongebob SquarePants would make such a good goalkeeper,” said Harris.

Leone dressed as a witch, which Harris described as “sort of a very tiny, not so scary witch” and put the USA through a training that featured a sort of Gaelic Football game, some 2 v. 2 heading and a shooting game.

The U.S. U-19s will next get together in late December after Christmas.  Perhaps along with their cleats and shin guards, the U.S. players should pack Santa Claus, Elf and Reindeer costumes just in case.

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