Lindsey Horan is the first professional player to win the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year award. Horan is the first American female to forego college soccer and sign a professional contact in Europe where she has found success with Paris Saint-Germain in the French Feminine Division 1. The 19-year-old is the youngest female American professional player in the world and has scored 22 times in 27 games for the club. ussoccer.com caught up with her in Paris.
: What are your initial thoughts on winning the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year?
Lindsey Horan: “I’m so honored and a bit surprised, to be honest, because I know there were four other amazing players up for the award. There have been some great players to win the award in the past who have gone on to do big things in soccer so hopefully I can keep up that tradition. Obviously, I’ve had the privilege to play with Morgan, Crystal and Cari and I’m a big admirer of them as players and people, so I’m really grateful to everyone who voted for me. We have some talented young players on our youth teams and the full national team and that makes me really excited for the future.”
How has your brief experience been playing and training with the full WNT this year?
LH: “My first cap came at the Algarve Cup last March and the whole experience was new for me. I was more shy than anything and just trying to take it all in. In this most recent camp in Florida, I just tried to get the most out of it that I could. It’s always amazing playing with the best players in the world and you just soak in so much training with them. I was so excited to get a few minutes at the end of the Brazil game and starting in the New Year and new cycle, I want to keep getting better and training with the full team is obviously going to help me. We have some fantastic forwards and just being around them you can’t help but learn and get better. I’m thankful Tom Sermanni has called me in a few times. He and his staff are great coaches and it’s been great experience so far.”
It was a big decision to head to Europe after high school. How has the experience been so far?
LH : “For me, it’s been great and I don’t regret anything I decided to do. Throughout the whole experience I’ve had a lot up ups and downs but I’ve learned so much about life as a professional and life in general, so I’m so glad I made the jump over here. Of course, college would have been great as well, but to have the experience to train with some of the best players in the world at PSG has been phenomenal. It helped me get calls into the full team and helped me prepare to play for the U-20 National Team as well so it’s been really good for me. Off the field, it’s been great as well. I think you learn a lot about yourself being in a new country and learning a new culture. I’ve been able to experience different parts of the world, make new friends from all over the world and I’ve learned from every new experience I’ve had.“
What are your goals in 2014?
LH: “Of course, I want to keep getting better for my club and my country, but the focus of 2014 will be a lot about the U-20s. Our head coach Michelle French is doing a great job with the team and I want to help us qualify for the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup and then if all goes well there help us win the World Cup. That’s a huge goal for me and certainly one of my dreams as I didn’t get to experience that during the last cycle (Editor’s Note: Horan missed the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with a knee injury). It would also be great to get called into full team for some events as that’s just the best environment to grow, and like all the young players in the program I want to have a chance to make the 2015 Women’s World Cup Team. I know that’s shooting high, but I just want to keep doing what I can to achieve that goal as well.”
What was it like training with U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year Abby Wambach?
LH : “First of all, Abby is an amazing player and person and she’s always been so welcoming to me. Watching her on and off the field, it’s been so cool for me and helped me so much. I watched the documentary on her from ESPN called “Head On” and it was so inspirational I almost started crying. It’s amazing how much work she’s put in and how much success she’s had. She’s a role model for all us young players, but I can say that for all the full team players. They are great examples of how much work it takes to be the best.”