You were a member of the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup Team, but didn’t get to play in the tournament. You are likely to play a much larger role this
time around. How did that 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup prepare you for this World Cup?
Stephanie Amack: “It definitely helped me learn how to be a good teammate. I studied how (outside backs) Crystal Dunn and Molly Pathman played. I saw how they dealt with situations on the field and I could hear the coaches on the sidelines. I took it all in and combined it with my own observations and I put myself in those situations and it’s really helped me prepare during this cycle. I also learned a valuable lesson on how big a role every single person on the team can have. Just saying something positive and supporting from the bench to the players on the field can make a big difference.”
What was it like to be a part of the team that won the U-20 Women’s World Cup two years ago?
You are currently choosing an engineering major at Stanford, which is going to be a tough road no matter what direction you take. How do you balance
your soccer and academics?
SA: “I’m currently trying to choose between chemical engineering and bio engineering. It’s been really challenging, but I’m almost there. There are a lot of factors I’m considering, but either way is going to be quite a journey. As far as my academics, when I see the opportunity to be productive, I’m very productive, but as an athlete, I honestly can’t study until all hours of the night, so I just have to be very organized and I maximize EVERY part of my day. Ten minutes at lunch? I’m studying. I did have to sacrifice some social things my freshman year, but it’s been worth it. Also, coffee is my friend.”
What’s your philosophy of attacking as an outside back?
SA: “I love to get forward. Having the field in front of you all the time gives you freedom. Especially in our formation, you have a responsibility to get the attack going. So trying to work forward and get crosses off and still getting back on defense is a big responsibility and I love that. Every position has that, but maybe it’s a bit more intense for an outside back.”
You scored three goals during the Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament, which was probably pretty fun. Is that part of your game you are trying to
SA: “That was very fun! And I am trying to improve that part of my game. I’m tall so I want to try to improve my aerial presence and be in the right place at the right time in the penalty box. I played a lot of defensive mid in college, so my responsibility was more to hold, but any chance I can get to attack I really enjoy.”
You’ve ridden horses most of your life. Even though you are from Pleasanton, California, do you consider yourself a country girl?
With the intense schedule of school and soccer, you don’t have too much time to just relax and recharge. But when you do, what do you do?
SA: “I love to go hiking. I walk ‘The Dish’ all the time. It’s a four-mile walk in the hills of Palo Alto and you can see the entire Bay Area. It’s really pretty. I love camping and I go on trail rides whenever I can. Anything outdoors suits me. I even study outdoors. I can’t be inside for too long.”
Your two brothers attended the Air Force Academy and your older sister is in medical school at UCLA. You have a pretty high-achieving family?
SA: “Yeah, my older brother Andy is an ER doctor for the military, my brother Brady is an F-22 fighter pilot and my sister is in her third year of med school and I think she’ll end up doing some kind of surgery. I want to take advantage of all the opportunities I’ve been given and great experiences my family has had to do something important in my life as well. But for now, soccer and school are my main focuses and that takes up most of my time. Well, all of my time.”
Can you tell us about your family housing foster children?
SA: “They’ve been doing it for over 15 years. I don’t want to take a stab at how many kids they’ve had, but being a temporary foster care home, we can have a child anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks to over a year. We’ve had babies to teenagers and you don’t know how long the kids are going to stay, but we always try to provide them the same love and support as any of our kids until their family situation stabilizes or they find a good home. It’s taught me how to very quickly accept a person and treat them like one of our own and it’s really helped me empathize with people and learn how to put yourself in their shoes.”
You are a fraternal twin. Can you give us some examples of some really “twin” type things between you and your sister?
Would you say you’re a person who is a bit shy, or maybe you just like to be in the background and laugh with your teammates?
SA: “I guess I am a bit shy, but mostly I just like to sit back and observe. In small groups, I’m more outgoing. You just won’t find me dancing and singing like a lot of the other girls on the team, though. I guess I pick and choose my moments. A lot has to do with being the youngest of five kids. Sometimes I say things and people just don’t hear them, but I know my time will come.”