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Baby on Board

Morgan Brian is the youngest player on the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Team. In case she didn’t know it, she’s gets constantly reminded by her teammates.

There have to be some positives for being the youngest player on the U.S. U-17 Women’s World Cup team, but at this moment, Morgan Brian can’t think of any.

Probably because it seems that the 15-year-old’s youthfulness is one of the favorite topics of humor for her teammates.

Consider the following:

She always has to sit in the middle seat on van rides.

When the team starts a game of 5v2, guess who is always one of the two in the middle to start?

“Do you still ride a tricycle?” they may ask.

She’s often charged with small chores. “Morgan, can you get me another apple crumble?,” was a one dinner time request.

When she told one of her teammates not to look at pictures on her iPod as they were from eighth grade, they said, “You mean last year?” (Truth be told, it was just two years ago).

“Had any fun play dates lately?” someone asked the other day.

Such is the life of Morgan Brian, who is the only 15-year-old on the team, but due to that distinction, certainly one of most talented 15-year-olds in the country as well. And the good-natured ribbing? She takes it in stride.

“I have to admit it does get under my skin a little, but I still laugh every time because they always get me good,” said Brian, who hails from St. Simon’s Island on the coast of Georgia. “Sometimes I feel like I’m a little sister, but it’s cool to have a bunch of big sisters.”

Brian got a late start on her journey to make the U-17 Women’s World Cup team. She didn’t start getting called into U.S. U-17 camps until May of this year and even then she admittedly struggled.

“The first two camps were very tough,” said Brian, who despite her teammates’ jokes, is quite mature and level-headed for her age. “The soccer was hard and all the girls had been together for a while, so it took a while to get to know everyone socially. For the first camp, I had gone to Costa Rica with the regional team for two weeks, came home for two days and went in with the U.S. U-15s at Stanford for a few games. Then I thought I would get a nice break. But three days later I went straight in with the U-17s. That was really tough. It was a month away from my friends and parents.”

Brian persevered and started doing well in U-17 camps, eventually playing well enough to earn a spot on the 2008 Women’s World Cup team. She started and played 90 minutes against Paraguay on Nov. 2 in her first Women’s World Cup action.

Despite the soft jabs, her teammates respect and appreciate her accomplishment of making the team as the youngest player. While slight of frame, she’s tough and skillful and even won the “hit the crossbar” game one day at training in New Zealand.

“She’s only 15-years-old and she’s good enough to make a team that has girls one and two years older than her,” said teammate Mandy Laddish. “It’s something to be proud of and something she’ll always have in her soccer career. We make fun of her, but everyone loves her.”

Brian is the only player on the U.S. team who is still age-eligible for the next U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be held in 2010 in Trinidad & Tobago. While she certainly can’t predict how her game will grow in two years, she’s dedicated to continuing the process.

“I’ve learned a lot and it has been a great experience,” said Brian of her time with the U-17s. “If I’m blessed enough to make the 2010 U-17 team, the experience this year will for sure be a major asset to my development as a player.”

But if she does make the next World Cup Team, and there is a 15-year-old on that team, will the jokes now be coming from Brian?

“I probably won’t,” she said with a laugh. “But if she has the sense of humor I do, maybe I would. It’s all in fun and we have a great time. I would hope that since I’ve seen how it is to be the youngest player, that I would be able to make her experience as good as mine or even better.”

Next up as far as life milestones after the World Cup is finishing her sophomore year of high school and celebrating her 16th birthday next February. What does she want for her birthday?

“A new bike?” asked Laddish.

No, like any teenage girl, she would love a car. She’s hoping for a Honda CRV.

“Maybe light blue or black?,” she said.

And no, she won’t need a car seat to drive it.