Senior Emily Smith played in the 2016 FIFA U17 World Cup in Jordan. For two months, she represented her country as a defender on the U17 Women’s National team and played against the teams from Paraguay, Ghana and Japan.
Q:How different are the club and international levels?
A: While there are certainly talented players at the club level, but what stands out among the national team is the overall skill level. Some of my teammates can do some spectacular things with a soccer ball. And you can tell each player is really passionate about improving their game.
Q: How does it feel to be able to represent your country?
A: It’s always an honor to represent the United States. But it becomes real when you put on a USA jersey, and then stand for the national anthem. It’s a really humbling experience, and one that I’ll remember forever.
Q: What have you learned from playing internationally?
A: Playing internationally has taught me two things. It has given me the confidence to travel the world and take care of myself. And now I know that I’m able to compete against the best players from different nations. It’s certainly motivated me to keep improving my game.
Q: How did you and your team prepare for the World Cup throughout the year?
A:We were given “gap plans” to follow, when we were back home, which outlined in detail our conditioning. It was up to each player to continue to work on their game while playing for their club team. As a team, we played many other nations in friendly matches to prepare ourselves for the intensity and rigor of the World Cup game.
Q: What is next for your soccer career?
A: With regard to soccer, I’ve never really has a long term plan. I just really try to focus on the moment. After finishing my soccer career at Leigh with hopefully another league championship, I will join the women’s team at UC Berkeley. I also hope to continue representing the US as a member of the National Team.