US SoccerUS Soccer

w/U-20 Defender Amanda Poach

Amanda Poach certainly looks the part of a California girl, so it was no surprise when the athletic blond left the hustle and bustle of Metropolitan DC and her hometown of Bowie, Md., for the sun and calm of Santa Clara, Calif. It also helped that she was called in to her first National Team camp when she was 14 years old and, therefore, was no stranger to the West Coast or to being away from home. And even if relocating had been more difficult than learning to adapt to sunny California, Poach is certainly not one to back down from a challenge after tearing her left ACL not once, but twice, and managing both times to come back in stellar form…


National Team(s):
U-20 WNT, U-19 WNT, U-17 WNT, U-16 GNT
Hometown: Bowie, Md.
Birthdate: 7/25/87
Height: 5’6”
Club: Santa Clara University, Freshman, Center Midfielder

In the Spotlight

1. When did you get invited into your first camp? What was your reaction?
My first camp was when I was 14 to play with the U-16 National Team and I was really excited but nervous because I was going in to play with girls that were two years older than me. It ended up working really well and I got called back again. With the U-20s, I got called in for the Mega-Camp when Tim (Schultz) was the new coach and I was really excited to have the chance to play for this world championship team because I was in the pool last year and got injured so it kind of set me back. I’m just glad that I got a second chance.

What injury was it?
An ACL. I did it twice actually, but the other one was a few years ago. Same leg. Left side.

2. What did you learn most in your first national team camp?
Just to play the way you know how to and just playing with older girls and the best girls in the country really helps you become a better player.

What did you learn from having come back from injury twice?
Just, if you work hard at something and you really want something in life, you can achieve anything. I always thought that the first time, it was hard work. When I first did it, I thought, “Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine if I ever did this again,” but I did. Soccer is my life and I couldn’t imagine ever not playing so I knew I’d just have to work really hard to come back and make the national team and go to a good school. I just worked really hard on my therapy and now I’m here.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years…I have no idea. Hopefully I’m still playing soccer somewhere. Maybe get a shot at the full team but I know that’s a high goal to set. Maybe, since I’m taking a quarter off school right now, I’ll be finishing up school, but hopefully I won’t be in school that long. I’m not really sure. I’d like to continue soccer, but if not, get a job.

4. What are you going to school for? What kind of job do you want to get?
I’m undeclared right now but probably something with Communications, like sports broadcasting. But not an office job or anything.

You said you’re taking a quarter off?
Yeah, a lot of girls on the team, in our schools, we have trimesters, so we have fall, winter and spring quarters. With having camp every other week, it’s really hard to keep up in classes so we’re all fortunate enough to have this time off and focus on training with the team.

5. What’s your best soccer moment?
My best soccer moment would have to be winning the Golden Boot at Nationals three years ago.

What club were you playing with at the time?
Bethesda Excel.

6. Who’s your favorite U.S. National Team player and why?
I’d have to say Michelle Akers because she was just really inspiring to watch and I know that she overcame a lot of obstacles. I just really respect her a lot and she really inspired my game.

7. Being from Maryland, you literally went across the country to Santa Clara. What influenced your decision to go so far away from home for school?
Well, I’ve been traveling all over for, like, three years now, so staying East or going West, the location wasn’t really a factor. It was just about going to a good school, academically, and going somewhere where I’d knew I’d grow as a player. I visited Santa Clara and felt that it was the right place for me. I took everything into consideration, I love the school, I love the girls and I knew that even if I stayed home, all my friends were going off to school too so we’d all get to see each other on breaks. My family, too, they’ve come out a few times, so, it wasn’t really a big factor that I was going West. I’ve been out here so many times before so I’m not really a homesick kind of person.

8. What is the biggest difference between Bowie, Md., and Santa Clara, Calif.?
Just the location of where I live and the people. It’s just a slower, calmer way of life out here.  It’s less crowded. In Maryland, I kind of lived close to D.C. so there was always a lot going on. Here it’s just really relaxing.

9. What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekends or when you’re just hanging out?
My favorite thing to do is probably, I love to shop but I hate it because I can’t go to the mall without buying something. I don’t know, I kind of just like hanging out. I like the movies and bowling. I really don’t do anything but just hang out on the weekends because usually I’m tired from the week. But, if I’m bored, I can always go shopping.

10. What type of music do you listen to, and do you have a favorite band?
I listen to everything. Well, not like jazz or stuff like that, but I like country. I like R&B, pop, rock, punk. Anything and everything. I like Rascal Flatts.

11. What’s the one thing you can’t leave home without?
My iPod. I love to sing everywhere I go. If I’m in the car or the shower or the airplane, I’m always singing and I love music so I’m always listening to music.

12. Favorite soccer team in the world and why?
I would have to say Real Madrid because they’re amazing and so are their players. I really watch watching the Champions League. Watching them helps me understand the game better.

13. If you weren’t playing soccer right now, is there another sport that you would be playing? Or, what else would you be doing?
If I didn’t play soccer and had to play another sport, I’d like to play, tennis. But if I wasn’t playing tennis then I have not idea. I’d probably be at a smaller school, close to home. But if I wasn’t playing soccer, I probably wouldn’t have come West and tennis is something that I’ve always loved but am not really good at.