Midfielder Cameron Lindley Asserting Himself with U.S. U-15s, U-17s
The 14-Year-Old Former Indiana United Player Looks to Play a Big Part in U-15 BNT’s Trip to Holland
Being the only eighth grader in the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program took some significant adjusting for Indiana United Fire product Cameron Lindley, but he has adapted quickly to the move to Residency in January.
â€œGoing into my first training session, I was very nervous because here are the people you look up to and now youâ€™re taking the same field with them,â€ Lindley said. â€œBut they took me in. Theyâ€™re like my older brothers and theyâ€™ve taught me certain things to make me a better player.â€
The 14-year-old Carmel, Ind., native is suiting up for the U.S. U-15 Boysâ€™ National Team over the next two weeks as the U-15s travel to Groenlo, Holland, to play in the International Marveld Tournament.
Lindley still is the second-youngest player on the team (along with Columbus Crew Academy midfielder Ben Swanson), but his experience with the U-17s under head coach Richie Williams will play a big role for this upcoming tournament as he suits up for U-15 head coach Tony Leporeâ€™s side.
â€œIâ€™m always talking with Tony about what has been implemented with the U-17s and bringing that to the U-15s,â€ Lindley said. â€œFor example, I think weâ€™re very good as far as our chemistry and passing at the U-15s, but when we turn the ball over, sometimes we sit back. Richie is the first person that will tell you that we all have to go win the ball back. If you watch Barcelona, they will turn the ball over. But as soon as they do, they try and get it back immediately.â€
Since playing among U.S. Soccerâ€™s youth national teams, Lindley has played a holding defensive midfield role within a three-midfielder set. Earlier in his club days, Lindley was more focused on the attacking side of the position.
â€œLast year with Indiana United, I was still playing attacking midfield, but since joining U.S. Soccer they wanted to try me at defensive midfield,â€ Lindley said. â€œI did pretty well and Iâ€™m more familiar with it. Iâ€™ve accepted the role, which is an important one. You donâ€™t stand out, so you help the team in other ways. Itâ€™s the little things that you do that help the team.â€
For the U-15s and this tournament, Lindley could find himself doing a bit of both the holding and attacking roles within the midfield.
â€œIt will be the same role in the defensive midfield, but I also know that with the U-15s that I have to go forward a little bit more and create more, which Iâ€™ve always used to do,â€ Lindley said. â€œWeâ€™re very familiar in the way we play and I need to create a lot more.â€
Lindley has had aÂ busy year with the U-17s. Besides making an important decision to join Residency in Bradenton, Fla., he and the team recently met with the senior national team. Lindley traveled to France in April for the 40th Mondial Minimes tournament. And most recently, Lindley played during the U-17 teamâ€™s 3-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo U-17/18 Academy team at the brand-new BBVA Compass Stadium.
â€œIt was an amazing opportunity,â€ said Lindley, who assisted the teamâ€™s third goal in the soft opening of the Houston stadium. â€œAs soon as I walked out there, I tried to keep a serious face. But I was so happy. I was hearing nothing but great things about the stadium and there were a lot of people. It was great. That was the most amazing field that Iâ€™ve ever played on. It was perfect â€“ like playing on carpet.â€
Lindley played the full 90 minutes in that match, and he has already proved to be a consistent and vocal presence.
â€œSince the first couple of weeks, I started talking more and the guys responded and accept me as a player,â€ Lindley said. â€œYou have to communicate, and Iâ€™m not afraid to talk. I know Iâ€™m playing a very important role and I need to do some of the dirty things and be simple with the ball.â€
Mentally, Lindley says the move from Indiana to Florida has been a tough one. But once the whistle blows, he is focused at the task at hand.
â€œOn the field, you donâ€™t worry about that, but off the field you just try to keep a positive attitude and enjoy your time,â€ Lindley said. â€œFor the family, itâ€™s a big sacrifice. But they want me to get better and follow my dreams. I have good friends and family whoâ€™ve always supported me.
â€œItâ€™s always a dream to get that phone call or email to play with a U.S. National Team, represent the country and go overseas,â€ he said. â€œYouâ€™re playing for yourself, for your state and your country.â€