Sunday, February 17, 2008

Camp Closes

The U.S. Women’s National Team finished camp this morning with an 8:30 a.m. training so that players could catch mid-day flights. It was the earliest practice in recent memory on the WNT and evoked memories of the days of youth soccer when the players were playing early morning tournament matches and eating orange slices at halftime. Still, the sun was out, practice was sharp and intense, and the training featured some one-v-one drills and ended with a five-v-five tournament and some finishing. All-in-all, it was a fantastic two-week training camp to prepare for the Algarve Cup and Olympic qualifying after that, giving head coach Pia Sundhage and her staff a hard look at almost 40 players during the two weeks. The Algarve Cup roster will be released on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The USA’s next match is March 5 against China to open the tournament. It will be the second consecutive match the USA has played China, also facing them last Jan. 20 in the final match of the Four Nations Tournament (a 1-0 win). This once again brings us to a Blog break, but we’ll start up again when the team arrives in Portugal for the Algarve Cup, always one of the players’ favorite trips…for the beautiful location, great food and great competition.



Surfin' USA

Young Tobin Heath, the USA’s 19-year-old flank player, loves the beach. Although she’s from New Jersey, this kid definitely should have been born in Huntington Beach, Calif., due to both her appearance and laid-back attitude, as she could easily have been a surfer instead of a soccer player. (Does anyone remember that she was voted Best Tan on the U.S. U-20s?). Anyway, Tobin actually went surfing for the first time during training camp on the USA’s day off. She caught one wave, actually stood up, and was hooked. In fact, packing up this morning for her flight back home, Heath was carrying a large surfboard that she bought this past week. While she may have very little time to hit the waves with all the soccer she’s been playing (she still age-eligible for this year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup as well), and there is no surf in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she goes to school, count on Heath hitting the ocean again as soon as she get another chance.


I chipped My Toof

Last week Heather Mitts took a well-hit ball off the chin and chipped a couple teeth, including one of her front lower ones. She went to the dentist, got some small braces on her bottom front four teeth, and as it turns out, she has to have a root canal! She’s having it tomorrow. We wish Heather well in the chair. We hope teeth chipping is not an epidemic on the WNT as India Trotter also chipped a tooth last week. She didn’t need any major dental work, though. It was a small chip on one of her upper teeth and she just got it fixed. Seems like it’s those defenders who are always getting hit in the mouth, huh?