Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goodbye New Zealand, Hello Chile

The U.S. U-17 Women's National Team leaves New Zealand today with a silver medal, but also with the knowledge that they gave their best effort throughout the tournament and in overtime of the World Cup Final against a very talented North Korean team. These youngsters came up just short of making history, but the lessons learned throughout the competition will surely last them a lifetime. For those players from this team that go on to make the U-20s and perhaps the full National Team, they will look back at the month in New Zealand as a stepping stone to greater things, in soccer and in life. While these players have not lived long, they all agree it was a journey of a lifetime. Sure, there were a lot of tears after the match, but when you compete at this elite level, with so much to gain, there is always so much to lose, and the players on the U.S. team could not have done a better job of handling the pressure situations and adverse conditions over the past three weeks in such a huge competition at such a young age.

Special thanks to all the organizers of this tournament for making it truly world class and setting an extremely high standard for future U-17 Women's World Cups. Special thanks to the great people of New Zealand, who treated this tournament and our team with the respect and appreciation that was truly exceptional. And special thanks to our Kiwi team liaison Andrea who could not have done a better job of guiding us through month Down Under. Now, it's time to move the YNT Blog up a few years and focus on Chile and the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup.

So from the U-17 players to the U-20s (and especially from U-17 Vicki DiMartino to her U-20 sister Gina), good luck in Chile!

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