You recently went to Northern Ireland with the U-18 women’s national team. What was that like?
It was kind of life changing because I never thought I would go on a trip like that, especially for the national team. Seeing the different play in Europe was super amazing.
Were you competing in a tournament there?
It was called the International Cup with USA, France, England and Northern Ireland. I was there for almost two weeks. We only played three games.
Were you the only person from Oregon?
So you’re arguably the best female soccer player in Oregon at your age level. How does that make you feel?
It’s pretty exciting because I never thought that I’d be the one to represent Oregon or represent the United States in a different country.
How did your team do?
We lost against England. And then we played France, and we won. That was a really good game. Our last game, we played Northern Ireland and won.
How did it feel competing at the international level?
It’s definitely nerve-racking playing in big stadiums and having crowds. I’ve never played in a game with such a crowd before … And also just flying out there and thinking, “Oh my god, I’m going to Northern Ireland. This is actually real. This is actually happening.”
When did you start playing soccer?
I do remember my first game, and I really didn’t want to play. It was rainy. I didn’t want to go and get muddy, but my parents made me go. They were like, “You’ll have fun. Just go see and if you don’t like it we won’t force you to keep playing.” Finally, I went and had so much fun. I remember asking, “It’s already done? I don’t have any more games?”
When did playing soccer become serious for you?
As I got older, I changed clubs. I stuck with (Northeast United) for a couple of years, but my team was just not really into it. And so I changed clubs to THUSC (Tualatin Hills United Soccer Club). They were the best team in the state. I just thought I would go to their tryouts and see how it goes. I never thought I would get on. But I made it, and I’ve been with the same team ever since, although it’s not THUSC anymore, it’s Crossfire United.
You fly around the country for tournaments and even for ordinary weekend games. How does soccer balance out with the rest of your life?
I do miss a lot of school for soccer, especially lately. It’s hard, definitely. I have to bring schoolwork with me when I travel so that I don’t get too behind. But when I travel, it’s really hard to do homework because you are either playing soccer or are super tired from playing soccer or traveling. But I have to make myself do it because school is important. I try to get good grades.
Have you ever wanted to quit?
There’s been periods of time where I haven’t hung out with friends for two or three weeks in a row, and that sometimes makes me want to take a break. We have practice three to four days a week, and we have games on the weekends, and so my week is just occupied always.
So what drives you then? What keeps you going?
I really enjoy playing soccer. I always set goals for myself, and I love seeing myself improve and grow into those goals. When I first started with my club team, I barely had playing time and now I’m consistently a starter in every game. It feels good to see improvement.
You’ve already committed to the University of Oregon, a Division I school, for soccer. Are you hoping to play professionally one day?
Yes, that would be awesome, but I’ve never thought about it that much. Yes, it would be cool to continue playing soccer at high levels, but I don’t know. I’m just going to see how well I play in college. I still need to figure things out. ◆