Making the roster for CONCACAF qualifying in Mexico is the main focus of all the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team players who began training camp today on the beautiful, lush fields at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
But for several of them, there are visions of different kind of football swirling in their heads. Football to be played on another expanse of gorgeous, green turf located just 26 miles away at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
You see…it’s all about school spirit. Forward Amy Rodriguez and defender Meagan Holmes are freshmen at two-time National Champion USC. They bleed cardinal and gold. Defenders Stephanie Logterman and Kasey Moore are freshmen at football-mad Texas, and have burnt orange running through their veins.
And that makes them natural enemies, at least for one night.
On a cool Wednesday evening this week, the eyes of the national will be focused on an historic stadium that sits nestled at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains as the Trojans and Longhorns lock helmets in the “Grandaddy of’em all” as the annual Rose Bowl doubles as the BCS National Championship Game.
The four young players took time out from fútbol to tell ussoccer.com why their school’s football teams will be lifting the trophy under the bright Pasadena stars (well, the smog-obstructed stars).
No word on whether the losing players will have to wear their opponents school colors at practice the next day, but suffice to say, one pair will be standing much taller and smelling the roses.
Hometown: Lake Forest, Calif.
The Skinny: A-Rod is good friends with USC freshman red-shirt QB Mark Sanchez (who mimicked Vince Young for the scout team during practice leading up to the game). They went to the same high (Santa Margarita) for several years and he will be battling for the #1 quarterback spot next year.
Soccer Position: Forward
Position if she played tackle football: Tailback (You ever seen her play soccer? ‘Nuff said).
A-Rod on why USC Will Win: “Two words: Reggie Bush. There is no way Texas has any chance of stopping him. I want the best team to win, but really, I feel sorry for Texas. Just saying his name gives me the chills.”
On Campus Brush with Matt Leinart: “I’ve seen Matt in the training room a few times. One time he was getting treatment on his knee and he had a ball of athletic tape in his hand. He went to shoot it in the garbage can and he missed. And I said, ‘You play quarterback?’ He laughed.”
Hometown: Timonium, Md.
The Skinny: Missed her high school powder puff football game while in Thailand playing for the U.S. U-19s in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship
Soccer Position: Defender
Position if she played tackle football: Quarterback (Because she’s a “playmaker.”)
Holmsie on Why USC Will Win: “First of all we have the best quarterback in the nation in Matt Leinart, the best running back in Reggie Bush and I know the 34-game winning streak will become 35. I talked to a few of the guys on the team. For them, this game is about fun. They love a challenge and don’t see it as pressure. That’s why they are going to play well and win. Put simply, our school is ‘the bomb.’”
On Campus Brush with Reggie Bush: “Reggie came up to me at a party once and started talking to me like he knew me, but I had never talked to him before and haven’t spoken to him since.”
Hometown: Austin, Texas
The Skinny: Logterman is a born and bred Longhorn, coming onto this earth in Austin, Texas in 1986. One of the first songs she learned as a little girl was “The Eyes of Texas.” She had yet to see a Texas football national championship in her lifetime, until, according to her, now.
Soccer Position: Defender
Position if she played tackle football: Cornerback (A shutdown corner at that).
Logs on why Texas Will Win: “Two letters: VY. If you think he’s going to throw, he’ll run. If you think he’s going to run, he’ll throw. He’s like having Reggie Bush at quarterback, except with a much better arm and much bigger. Plus, our fans are the best. They are totally crazy. I had friends buy airplane tickets to Los Angeles last August. Practically my whole soccer team is going to be there and hardly any of them have tickets to the game.”
On Campus Brush with Vince Young: “I was in the training room and was wearing some Nike running shoes that he liked. He said, ‘Girl, I like your shoes, where’d ya get them?’ I said, ‘Oh, they are team-issued.’ Not a very good response, I know. I wish I could have come up with something better.”
Nickname: None that she knows of…
Hometown: Mission Viejo, California
The Skinny: Like USC quarterback Matt Leinart, Kasey Moore hails from Orange County. That doesn’t mean she’s rooting for him. Moore may be a California girl transplanted to Texas, but she’ll be rooting just as hard as Austin-born Logterman come Jan. 4.
Soccer Position: Defender
Position if she played tackle football: Free safety (because she likes stopping people from scoring and loves to tackle).
Kasey on Why Texas Will Win: “I think Texas will win because they are stacked all over the field. They have Reggie Bush, but we have Vince Young, who has scored almost as many touchdowns. We have Jamaal Charles at running back and Kasey Studdard at guard. Not like I am a big fan of O-Lineman, but our names are spelled the same and he gets it done. They have weapons and we have weapons. I think it will be close, but we’re going to pull out.”
On Campus Brush with Vince Young: “Every time he’s in the dining hall, you cannot say a word to him because he’s ALWAYS on his cell phone. I have no idea who he’s talking to, but my friends and I always wonder. Then one time we were in weight room and he finished doing the bench press and I had to throw a few more plates on there before I went. Okay, I could probably barely bench the bar itself. That dude is ripped.”
ussoccer.com is the official website of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.