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Almost There: U.S. U-19s Talk about Departing for World Championship

The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team leaves Tuesday, Nov. 2, on the long, long flight to Phuket, Thailand, for the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.  The USA will open its tournament against South Korea on Nov. 11.  For four players it will be their second youth world championship, for most it will be their first, and for U.S. forward Amy Rodriguez, the only uncapped player on the roster, the games will mark her first-ever U-19 internationals. 

On the eve of departing for the biggest tournament of their lives, one taking place on the other side of the world, several players shared their thoughts, emotions, aspirations and a few daydreams.

Midfielder Jen Redmond: EMOTIONS ARE FLOWING
“It’s almost surreal to get to this point.  You’ve been thinking about this for two years and now it’s only weeks away, but I think we are all so ready and prepared.  I’m excited to walk into the hotel in Phuket and see the other teams and know the World Cup is about to start.  It’s just a completely new experience all across the board, a new country, a new climate, and a world championship. I don’t feel like I can really prepare myself for how I am going to feel when it finally comes. There’s like 10 million different emotions we are feeling…anxious, excited, nervous.”

Forward Megan Rapinoe: SHE CAN’T WAIT
“I can’t wait to hear the national anthem before our first game and just know that everything we’ve been working toward for two years is here.  I can’t wait for that first kickoff.  I know I will have chills.” 

Midfielder Angie Woznuk: TAKING NOTHING FOR GRANTED 
“I have been thinking about this for the past five months, everyday. Who ever thought I would be going to Phuket, Thailand?   Our team has come so far and we are such a different team than the one that played at qualifying.  We have really started to play good soccer and come together and everyone knows how each other plays.  I am nervous and I hope that we don’t play down to another team’s level and continue to be intense and play at a high level.”

Forward Meghan Schnur: HIGH EXPECTATIONS
“It has come up so fast.  The team has come together so well and everyone knows that we have a common goal.  We are willing to do whatever it takes for the person standing next to us in order to win.  We have high expectations.  I’ve also thought how about long that plane ride is going to be.”

Midfielder Stephanie Kron: INSPIRED BY 2002 CHAMPS
“I always think back two years ago at the regional competition in Boca Raton when (former U-19 head coach) Tracey Leone showed us a highlight video of the World Championship in Canada.  It inspires us to know that we have an opportunity to win a gold medal at the age of 19.”

Defender Rachel Buehler: THE WORK HAS BEEN WORTH IT
“I just think back to walking out and seeing fans in the stands and singing our national anthem.  That’s one of my favorite parts.  I think about how much we have trained for this, all the camps and all the practice sessions and all of the fitness sessions.  Oh my gosh!  It’s been a lot of work.”

Forward Amy Rodriguez: A BIT OVERWHELMED
“I never thought I’d have a chance at this World Cup. I thought if I made one, it would be the next one.  I don’t know if it’s surprising, but it is overwhelming.”

Goalkeeper Laura Comeau: READY FOR AN ADVENTURE
“I can’t wait to see the beautiful beaches and go shopping. And try adventurous foods.”

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn: SWEET DREAMS
“I daydream about sleeping on the long plane ride home with a gold medal around my neck.”

Forward Jessica Rostedt: GOING AFTER IT
“I think about winning.  I think about scoring goals and celebrating with my teammates.”

Midfielder Alexa Orand: SOCCER IN PARADISE
“I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I know it will be different than anything I’ve ever experienced.  My grandparents visited there and showed me some pictures, and it was very beautiful, so I am definitely looking forward to seeing a tropical paradise.” 

Defender Stephanie Lopez: POSITIVE VISUAL IMAGING
“I definitely think of positive things, of shutting down other teams and taking on more responsibility and maybe getting involved more offensively.  We need to really impose our game on the other teams and take control physically.”

Midfielder Yael Averbuch: FROM THE STANDS TO THE FIELD
“I went to watch in 2002 at the World Championship in Canada, so I can picture us doing the same thing as the last time around.  It’s so exciting, but we know that all the little things make such a big difference.”