Q&A with U.S. Under-19 WNT Forward Kelly Wilson
Hometown: Odessa, Texas
Every few days a member of the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team will be the focus of a Question and Answer session from Canada, where the young Americans are playing in the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship. The U.S. plays its semifinal match on Thursday, August 29, against Germany at the 60,000-seat Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The match kicks off at 5:15 p.m. MT (7:15 p.m. ET). Fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics, or on Fox Sports World. Today forward Kelly Wilson shares her views on her teammates, developing her game in the remote oil country of west Texas, and the Germans.
ussoccer.com: After spending two weeks in Victoria, B.C., what do you think of your first day in Edmonton?
Wilson:"I do miss the beautiful harbor and getting to walk around and see all the street performers. I also miss being able to walk across the street for ice cream or take a stroll with my teammates, but it is great to be in Edmonton. We definitely feel like we are in the big city now and it just adds to the excitement."
ussoccer.com: What have been your impressions of the tournament so far?
Wilson:"Our games in Victoria were awesome. I love to play at a stadium under the lights and everyone in Victoria was just so nice and kind to us. We didn't get too many fans cheering for us at the beginning, but hopefully we won some over by the time we played Denmark in our quarterfinal. All the teams have been very strong and each of our opponents brought different styles to the games. It really helped us grow throughout the tournament to play against each team. I know both semifinals will be great games for the fans."
ussoccer.com: How does a girl from Odessa, at the bottom of the Texas panhandle, grow up to play for the U.S. National Team?
Wilson:"I started playing when I was four and when I got to be 11, I decided to try out for club soccer. But as it turned out, there weren't enough girls to form a team. My cousin B.J., who is three days older than me, was playing for a team and my dad asked if I could tryout for that boys team. They were skeptical, but since I was bigger and faster than some of the boys, they took me on team and I ended up playing with those guys on Force United until I was 16 or 17. It gave me a great base and a great environment to grow as a player before I got noticed in the Olympic Development Program and started getting brought to regional and national camps."
ussoccer.com: Talk a little bit about your running mates on the forward line, Heather O'Reilly and Lindsay Tarpley.
Wilson:"Like all our players, those two are just a privilege to play with. Just being out on the field with them makes me a better player. We have been playing together for a while now and that gives us great chemistry on the field. We all bring different qualities to the games, but we seem to compliment each other very well. Off the field, Heather is a bit different from Lindsay and I. She is really outgoing and we are kind shy. She is just a big jokester from New Jersey who makes me laugh all the time. Tarp is such a caring person and great captain. I feel like I can go to her for anything."
ussoccer.com: How do you see the semifinal match-up with the Germans?
Wilson: "It will be a hard-fought game. They are big, strong and technical and every one of their players is a good soccer player. It helps us that we've played them before, but we know that this game will be more emotional and intense than any other. We enjoy playing great teams like Germany because it brings out the best in us as well."
Kelly Wilson, who was the leading scorer at the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament, it also leading the USA with seven goals so far in the 2002 Under-19 FIFA Women's World Championship. The Big-12 Freshman of the Year last season for the Texas Longhorns, she will play her sophomore season in Austin after the World Championship.