The U15 Girls US National Soccer Team will compete against some of the top Division 1 collegiate soccer teams at Stanford this week. The young team will compete on Wednesday, April 16th at 7pm against Stanford University, on Friday April 18th at 4:30pm against Oregon State University, and on Saturday, April 19th at 9am against Washington State, and 10:15am against USF. All the games will be held at Cagen Soccer Stadium on the Stanford University Campus.
Two local soccer standouts, Abby Dahlkemper from Menlo Park, and Kelsey Foo from San Jose, are members of the US National Team and the local MVLA (Mtn View-Los Altos) Avalanche U15 Girls Soccer Team.
Dahlkemper, a powerful and prolific goal-scoring forward for her MVLA Avalanche club team, immediately caught the eye of Tad Bobak, the US National Team coach. Bobak placed her as a center defender on the National Team where she can use her size and speed. She was invited to join his U14 Girls US National Team Camp last September, but could not attend due to some back injuries. It took Abby nearly two months to recover and rebuild her fitness and strength. A lot of focus, determination and hard-work was needed to attain her top competition form.
Foo was very tired at the July camp last year after months of soccer tournaments and ODP Camps, and did not show well in front of the National Team coaches. She returned from camp and kept working on her soccer game. A second chance came last September when her Regional ODP Coach asked Kelsey to guest play with his club soccer team, and to compete against the very U14 Girls US National Team she wanted to join. She flew to Los Angeles and played a great game controlling the tempo of the midfield, and even scored against the US Team. Her performance caught the eye of Coach Bobak and she was finally on his radar screen.
The journey to reach the US National Team took three long years of intense tryouts, hundreds of soccer games, travel across the country, and thousands of miles commuting to and from soccer practice. They started their journey back in 2005, when they competed against 120 of the top soccer players in the Bay Area, and were selected to the local District ODP Team. The following year, they were invited to tryout for the Cal-North State ODP Team, where six of their MVLA Avalanche teammates also made the selection over 120 of the best soccer players from Northern California. In June of 2006, they competed against 140 of the top soccer players from the Western United States (13 States from Colorado west to Hawaii), and made the 30-player pool selection for the Regional ODP Team. Last July, they traveled to Cal-Poly Pomona to compete and tryout against the Top 100 players in the United States.
Last January, both were called into the U15 Girls National Team Camp at the Home Depot Center (home of the US National Team, along with David Beckham and the LA Galaxy) and spent the week training and trying out for the US Team.