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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.

“Going into my first training session, I was very nervous because here are the people you look up to and now you’re taking the same field with them,” Lindley said. “But they took me in. They’re like my older brothers and they’ve taught me certain things to make me a better player.”

The 14-year-old Carmel, Ind., native is suiting up for the U.S. U-15 Boys’ 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 Lepore’s side.

“I’m always talking with Tony about what has been implemented with the U-17s and bringing that to the U-15s,” Lindley said. “For example, I think we’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.”

Since playing among U.S. Soccer’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.

“Last year with Indiana United, I was still playing attacking midfield, but since joining U.S. Soccer they wanted to try me at defensive midfield,” Lindley said. “I did pretty well and I’m more familiar with it. I’ve accepted the role, which is an important one. You don’t stand out, so you help the team in other ways. It’s the little things that you do that help the team.”

For the U-15s and this tournament, Lindley could find himself doing a bit of both the holding and attacking roles within the midfield.

“It 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 I’ve always used to do,” Lindley said. “We’re very familiar in the way we play and I need to create a lot more.”

Lindley has had a 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 team’s 3-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo U-17/18 Academy team at the brand-new BBVA Compass Stadium.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” said Lindley, who assisted the team’s third goal in the soft opening of the Houston stadium. “As 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 I’ve ever played on. It was perfect – like playing on carpet.”

Lindley played the full 90 minutes in that match, and he has already proved to be a consistent and vocal presence.

“Since the first couple of weeks, I started talking more and the guys responded and accept me as a player,” Lindley said. “You have to communicate, and I’m not afraid to talk. I know I’m playing a very important role and I need to do some of the dirty things and be simple with the ball.”

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.

“On the field, you don’t worry about that, but off the field you just try to keep a positive attitude and enjoy your time,” Lindley said. “For the family, it’s a big sacrifice. But they want me to get better and follow my dreams. I have good friends and family who’ve always supported me.

“It’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,” he said. “You’re playing for yourself, for your state and your country.”