CHICAGO (CBS) — The timing of the U.S. Women’s National Team winning their second consecutive World Cup couldn’t be better to inspire four local high school soccer players, who are headed to Sweden to compete for Team USA in their own international showdown.
After a hot and humid practice on a field in suburban Deerfield, these four rising sophomores took a moment to decide what to pack for their trip to Gothenburg for the Gothia Cup, the World Cup of youth soccer.
Getting to this point has been a ton of hard work and dedication for Holly Deutsch, Hannah Mekky, Hannah Gryzik, and Katie Morgan. Playing together since they were young girls for Pegasus FC, they beat out more than 1,000 others from across the U.S. to make the 18-player roster for their age group with Team USA.
“I’m so excited for this opportunity to travel across the globe to play in a soccer tournament. Who would have thought that I would be given these opportunities?” Hannah Mekky said. “It’s just going to be a crazy experience playing at that level.”
“I think it’s just astonishing to think about playing with the best of the best competition, and really being with the best of the best,” Katie Morgan said.
Their local coach, Gregory Bowers, said it’s a well-deserved opportunity to compete against teams from 81 other countries.
“These kids here, they train three or four times a week year round. A lot of kids would be at lake camps now, all summer, sitting up with their feet up,” he said.
Bowers also noted the impact the U.S. Women’s team’s World Cup win has had on his players.
“You’ve got loads of women who are inspiring young athletes like these girls to go and do something on a bigger stage, and they’re going to Europe. That’s where the U.S. national team were, France, for the World Cup. They get to now do it in Sweden. So it’s got to be nothing but excitement from them,” he said.
“Hopefully we will follow by example. I feel like we have a lot of pressure following that USA just won the World Cup,” Katie said.
She and her teammates said they have to show what the youth program is all about.
If you want to keep track of how Team USA does in the Gothia Cup, the results will be posted on the tournament’s website. Their national team name is Global Premiere Soccer G15.