Every few days, a player from the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team will send out an e-postcard from Tobago, where the U.S. is playing in 2002 CONCACAF Under-19 Qualifying Tournament for the FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship. The USA will open the tournament against Suriname on Tuesday, May 7, at Dwight York Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Phillips Electronics.
Born: July 26, 1983
Hometown: Carlsbad, California
Hello from Tobago. Do you know how tough it is to actually get to Tobago? I had to fly from San Diego, to Houston, to Miami (where I stayed the night) to Trinidad and then to Tobago. That last flight was on a small propeller plane. I'm not going to say it was scary or anything, but one of our midfielders Lori Chalupny didn't say a word for the entire flight. She was sweating profusely and had white knuckles from grabbing onto the armrests so tightly. We hit a bit of turbulence on the way and I had to hold Leslie Osborne's hand to make sure she stayed calm. Me? I was so cool I could have landed that baby on a short, dark runway.
Did I mention it was hot here? How hot? It's hotter than a goat in China. Now, I've never been to China and I'm really not sure how well goats deal with the heat, but let's just say it really, really hot. It is so humid here that when you walk outside you break out in a sweat. Our hotel is right on the beach and it is really beautiful. I was just talking with my roommate Manya Makoski about how lucky we are to be having this experience. You can hear the waves crashing on the shore as you are falling asleep. It reminds me of home in San Diego.
We have been getting a bit of beach time, but only for an hour or so as we are being very careful not to get too much sun. We went snorkeling and saw a lot of beautiful fish. We saw a bunch of squid and a small shark. Sarah Huffman saw the squid and got scared and starting swimming away and I had to drag her back. I mean, has anyone ever been bitten by a squid? They weren't even giant squids. They were small inch-long squids.
It rained yesterday for the first time and our training in the afternoon was very wet. It was the perfect time for our coaching staff to have "emergency goalkeeper" tryouts to pick a third goalkeeper from the field players on the team. Allison Graham, a midfielder by trade, tried out and if you've ever seen Ernie from Sesame Street play goalie, that was her. Graham is only 5-foot-3 and let's just say she had trouble with the high balls. On one shot, Leslie chipped her and we were like, "Ooh Leslie, you chipped her." And she said, "How could you not?"
We are having a lot of fun here, but I know no one is losing sight of why we are here, and that's to qualify to for the Under-19 Women's World Cup. This is a special team. Everyone is so united and focused on reaching our goals. Our trainings here have been crisp and intense. We are ready. Our head coach Tracey Leone said to us yesterday after practice, "All we need now is for May 7 to come." We can't wait.
Megan Kakadelas has been a member of the Under-19 National Team Pool for the past year and a half. She has played in nine full international matches at the U-19 level and has scored four goals. A slick and fearless dribbler, she is one of a powerful quintet of strikers at head coach Tracey Leone's disposal. She played eight years for the San Diego Surf club, winning seven state titles and one national title. She was the 2001 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season at USC.