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U.S. WNT Flashback - 20th Anniversary of First-Ever Match: Ann Orrison

Ann Orrison did not play college soccer at the University of Virginia. Why? They didn’t have a team! UVa. didn’t start playing intercollegiate soccer until 1985. She was on a field hockey scholarship for the Cavaliers and also played lacrosse, but would keep her soccer skills sharp by going home to McLean on the weekends and playing for her club, Arlington United. Self-described as “not a very flashy player,” Orrison was nevertheless extremely competitive and strong technically. One of the older players on that first team, her last game was seventh ever played by the USA. She still coaches, coaching her daughter’s team for years, and works in the Virginia ODP (with former U.S. WNT player Pam Baughman, now Cornell, who was also on the first team but didn’t play in the first match). Orrison-Germain currently coaches a U-15 girl’s club team for Arlington United.

More on the first-ever U.S. WNT match: OOOSA! | First Goal | Players Reflect

Career caps/Goals:
National Team Career:  1985-86
Hometown: McLean, Virginia
Position played in first match: Sweeper
College:  University of Virginia (1979-83)
Last WNT game: July 9, 1986 vs. Canada (3-0 W)

What she’s doing now: A civil engineer doing land development in Fairfax, Va., she has three children, the oldest of which – Kimberly – is a freshman on a soccer scholarship at James Madison. Son is a senior and younger daughter is a sophomore at Langley High School, Ann’s alma mater. She is still playing Over-40s with the Northern Virginia Majestics. She actually played against first-game teammate Tucka Healy in the Over-40 Women’s National Championships last month.

WNT Career Highlight: “There was no one event, it was just a highlight in general that we were there in Italy, and that it had gotten to that point. Kids these days grow up and have goals of playing in college and for the national team, but I don’t think any of us had those goals because it just wasn’t there. It was always just taking the next step, whether it be a regional camp or Olympic Sports Festival. When we got $10 a day meal money, that was a great step for us. Mike Ryan picking a team was another step, then we had a flight to Italy, and then we were actually playing a game. Those were the real highlights.”

Memories of the first game: “I don’t remember a whole lot, honestly. Nothing about the game really stands out. I remember quite a bit about the trip, though. I remember going to New York to get our passports and we took pictures on top of the Empire State Building. I remember stupid things like sitting in the hallway and talking with my teammates.”

Thoughts on how women’s soccer has grown: “The philosophies have changed so much, the game has evolved technically and tactically so much, even on the men’s side. Maybe the women’s game has evolved even faster than the men’s game because it had so far to go. As far as opportunity, it has evolved so fast now that women may have even more scholarship money than men in soccer. I was one of the oldest players on the team, and even being that couple of years older, the other kids were starting college and we were ending it. We had picked a career path. I knew I was going to do engineering.  If I was maybe two years younger, and played when college programs were expanding, things might have been different. I got pregnant in 1986. Back then, it was a forgone conclusion, if you’re pregnant you’re done. The way things are looked upon now is so different.”

Thoughts on the 1999 Women’s World Cup: “I watched the tournament in 1999, but my family went to the Olympics in Atlanta and we were at the gold medal game. The kids had a blast, there just wasn’t anything like it. Many women’s soccer fans don’t know Mary Harvey, Debbie Belkin or Linda Hamilton, even though they know Michelle Akers, who was on that first team. Ann Orrison is just another name who happened to be there at the beginning, but it’s fun to be a part of it.”

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