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Getting to Know U.S. U-17 WNT Forward Courtney Verloo

U.S. U-17 WNT forward Courtney Verloo arrived in Trinidad ready to play. The tenacious forward scored twice and dished out two assists in the opening match. She hasn’t committed to a college yet, but one thing she knows for sure is that she will continue to play. Verloo, who was named a 2008 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year for soccer in Oregon, took some time to talk to Center Circle about her experience in Trinidad, her secret affinity for playing the guitar and DREAM, a mentoring program she is trying to start at Tualatin High School to teach elementary students about the dangers of drugs.

Center Circle: How are you enjoying the trip so far?

Courtney Verloo: “I’m having a lot of fun. We had a great start to the tournament yesterday so everyone is really excited about that and it’s just been a really good experience so far. The trainings have been going really well and it’s great to have that first game under our belt.”

CC: You’ve made so many sacrifices throughout the past year, training all across the U.S. How does it feel to finally be here and start playing a tournament that really means something?

CV: “It just felt amazing. We’ve all put in so much work to get to this place and, before the game, everyone was just talking about how this is what all of our hard work has come up to so it was really exciting and a proud moment to be able to pull on a U.S. jersey and start actually playing.”

CC: What was your reaction to being named Gatorade High School Player of the Year for the state of Oregon?

CV: “That was a really cool award. It was a big honor from Gatorade and I was really proud to have won that award.”

CC: Who was the first person you told?

CV: “I think my parents. My coach called me in one day and told me about it and I called my parents a little bit later on that day and told them about it.”

CC: Walk us through your pre-game rituals.

CV: “I really don’t have a pre-game ritual in regards to how I dress but obviously in warmups I like to make sure I do the same things. I like to get a lot of touches on the ball. Shooting, always. I don’t really have a specific ritual.”

CC: Moving away from soccer a little bit, we noticed that you go to an International Baccalaureate school. Most people don’t know what that means. Can you explain it a little bit?

CV: “The IB program is kind of an AP (Advanced Placement) class, an advanced class. They’re just a group of accelerated classes that you can choose to take throughout high school.

CC: The whole idea behind that is that those credits are valid in any country. Are you planning on using that at all, for example, going to college abroad?

CV: “Right now, no. I have thought about it for the future. I don’t want to start out going to another country but I think it would be cool to possibly study abroad at some point.”

CC: Have you given any thought to where you’re going next year for school?

CV: “I’ve given it some thought but I haven’t committed anywhere. I’d like to stay on the West Coast.”

CC: What are you looking for in a school?

CV: “Obviously soccer is really important to me. I’m looking for a good match there, but I’m also really looking for an all-around good school, academically, and a place that fits me personally in all areas.”

CC: We noticed that you’re involved in a lot of clubs and extracurricular activities. Can you tell us about DREAM?

CV: “When I was younger, in elementary school, I was in a program called DARE, which was Drug Abuse Resistance Education but the police force now doesn’t have enough manpower to continue on with the program. I was talking to a family friend that was on the (parent-student organization) in our community and she was talking about how we didn’t have this program, so we just thought it would be a great idea to start up this program called DREAM where students, Seniors right now, would take the training and learn the curriculum and then go into elementary schools and teach fifth graders drug resistance education. We’d call it Drug Resistance Education Awareness Mentors. So it’s basically the same thing, just with high school students teaching it.

“We haven’t actually started it yet. We’re presented a proposal to Oregon Partnership, which is the group that we’re working with to raise the money for training, because that takes a while. We’re still building it up. We’re hoping to start this year but it might be later rather than sooner because we still have to go through the training.”

CC: What inspired you to take time to do something like this?

CV: “I just thought it would be a great thing. My little sister is going to be a fourth grader now. I know she and all of her friends don’t have the same curriculum that I had as a student and I just thought that it would be something beneficial to them and our community.”

CC: Tell us a little bit about the guitar lessons. How are those coming along?

CV: “I’m not actually taking lessons. It’s just something that I like to do by myself in my free time. I’m really not very good at all but it’s just something that I really enjoy. My mom has a guitar and we just having it lying around the house and I like to pick it up every once in a while and try and play. I took piano lessons and stuff like that. It’s nothing serious or anything. It’s just for fun.”

CC: So, do you ever play Guitar Hero?

CV: “I do! My little sister actually has Guitar Hero. It’s a fun game.”

CC: Back to the tournament a little bit. The first game is under your belt and you still have two more group games. What are you looking forward to?

CV: “I’ve been just looking at it as one game at a time. I’m just excited to step out onto the field for every single game and work hard and try to get through (to the next round) and play my hardest every single game and work for the team.”

CC: Tell us a little bit about being on the ninth floor. The rest of the team is on the seventh floor and you and your roommate, Kate Bennett, got stuck on the ninth floor.

CV: “Yeah. We came a little bit late and got stuck on the ninth floor. It’s not too bad though. It’s a little quiet up here. We kind of miss out on some of the calls and we might miss a memo every now and again but it’s not too bad. We got into Miami a little bit late. Our connecting flight was a little bit delayed and we tried to rush to make it on the flight with the rest of the team but we weren’t able to make it so we ended up staying in the hotel for that night. We were all kind of bummed to miss the flight out with the team but it wasn’t too bad. We were able to get an early flight out the next day.”