U17 CONCACAF Qualifying


03.20.12 - 17s in spainThe Colorado Rush is proud to be sending Morgan Stanton (M), Gabbi Miranda (M), and Lizzy Raben(D)  to play with the Under- 17 Women's National Team as they try to qualify for the World Cup at the  2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship that  takes place May 2-12 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. 
To be able to send one player to represent the club is a great honor, but to be able to send three players to represent the Colorado Rush is outstanding! (At right: Lizzy, Morgan and Gabbi in Spain earlier this year.)

In their opening round game against the Bahamas, the US scored 10 on the small island nation with Miranda assisting on the first and ultimately game winning goal. 

The US take on Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday.

The ever inquisitive Colorado U11girls Nike team prepared a few questions for their "sister teammates" as they head  to Guatemala:

1. "How far away is Guatemala?" Riley Haussler

Guatemala is to the south of the United States. There's 1919 miles between Denver and Guatamala City, where we're staying. But it's the same exact time as Colorado, so we didn't have to get used to a time change!

2."Since you're playing at a different altitude, do you have any advantage or prepare for the games differently?" Alana Schechter

Although Guatamala City is at a pretty high altitude, it's still lower than Colorado, so I guess we have a slight advantage. But it's a lot hotter and more humid than Colorado, so it evens out. We play all our games on turf, so that's been a little bit of an adjustment. We also came out a week early before our games to get used to the field and conditions, so that's been a big help. 

3. " I recently saw a picture of Alex Morgan sitting inside of her team locker with her eyes closed, visualizing  her game. Do any of you have a pregame ritual?"  Macy Clem

"I put my black Nike sweatband over two bracelets on my wrist that I've worn forever and that have a lot of meaning for me. I never take them off, so wearing the sweatband lets me play with them on my wrist during the game. I also put all of my stuff, cleats, socks, etc. on the same way every game." -Gabbi

"I don't have a specific pregame ritual, but whenever I feel like I'm not doing well or I get nervous, I tie my shoes tighter." -Morgan

"Just like Gabbi, I have a black Nike sweatband that I put over bracelets that have a lot of meaning for me. It lets me play with them during the game, which is really important to me. Before leaving for big games, I also read a note that I wrote to myself before my very first national camp. It just reminds me how much I love what I do, and what kind of player I want to be on the field." -Lizzy

4. "What do you like most about traveling for soccer and what is the most challenging part of traveling?" Laryssa Hamblen

We all agree that traveling for soccer allows us the most incredible opportunities to go places, meet people, and do things that we would never have been able to do without soccer. Among the three of us, we've been to places like Sweden, Costa Rica, Spain, London, and now, Guatemala. Even traveling within the United States is a wonderful and unique experience. The best part though, beyond getting to go amazing places, is traveling and playing with some of your best friends. It really doesn't get better. Obviously making up all of the school work while your gone can be very demanding, and it can be hard to be away from your friends and family for such a long time. But the experiences you have while your gone are very worthwhile, and not one of us would trade those experiences for the world.  

5. " Do you get to do anything besides soccer when you are there?" Riley Haussler

We get to sleep and eat! And that's pretty much it. Just kidding. Occasionally we'll get whole days off for recovery sessions, where we do things like pool workouts, ice baths, and use foam rollers to loosen our muscles. Towards the end of big international trips, sometimes we get to go into town and get a taste of the area we've been staying in. But mostly we have a lot of time to relax in our rooms, and do homework (or in Morgan's case, sleep). On this trip though, we did a team bonding activity where we all decorated our own wooden sticks with a word we each thought the team needs in order to win. Keeping the Rush core values in mind, Gabbi's word was "tenacity," Lizzy's was "passion," and Morgan's, although not a core value but extremely important, was "consistency." Ultimately, we're going to bundle up all of the sticks and keep them under our bench during games. The idea is that a single stick can be broken, but a bundle of sticks is much, much stronger and harder to break, just like players on a team. It was a lot of fun for everyone and an important lesson!

6. " What are your favorite foods and do they have it in Guatemala?"  Alania Schechter

"My favorite food is fruit snacks, and I made sure to bring them on the trip. My other favorite food is Ramen noodles, but those would have been harder to make! I always try and bring a bunch of food on trips just in case. We also get really hungry on trips, so it's nice to have a lot of food!" -Morgan

"My favorite food is pizza! And no, they don't have it here. The food's been great so far, although we mostly get pasta and chicken wherever we go. There's a lot of good rice here though!" -Lizzy

7. " What teams are you going to play in Guatemala?"  Macy Clem

There are eight teams in the tournament, and the top three teams qualify for the World Cup in the fall. In group play, we play the Bahamas first, then Trinidad and Tobago, and then Mexico. We have to finish top two in our bracket to move on, so hopefully we're able to do that. 

8. "Besides being awesome players, what is something else that you are really good at doing or something interesting about you that most people don't know?" Laryssa Hamblen

"Anyone on my team would be able to tell you that I love to sing. I sing all the time, on car rides, in the locker room, and definitely in the shower. Justin Bieber especially. I also read almost as much as I sing. I read all the time, in and out of school. My favorite book is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." -Gabbi

"I have a fear of swimming and haircuts. I got my hair cut a couple weeks ago for the first time in a few years. It was terrifying. I hate getting my hair cut. I made sure they cut off as little as possible, but I still think it's too short. I'm also obsessed with my four dogs, Nike, Mia, Lily, and Koda. I miss them so much when I go on trips." -Morgan

"I'm on my school's Speech and Debate team! I really like speaking in front of people, and just like Gabbi, I absolutely love to read. I also lived in Italy for six months when I was 7, and I lived in England for six months when I was 12 for my dad's job as a cancer doctor. I've traveled a lot of places with my family, and so I'm used to being on a plane for long amounts of time. I also have a movie quote for nearly every situation." -Lizzy

The U-17's are hoping to qualify for the 2012 Women's World Cup, a feat they narrowly missed in in the 2010 qualifier. The 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup had just two qualification berths to that tournament.The U.S. team lost in the qualifier in a semi final shootout against Canada (5-3) after playing to a scoreless draw in regulation and OT. Canada and Mexico claimed the only two spots and the U-17 Women’s team did not secure a place to compete in the Women's World Cup.

 Good luck Morgan, Gabbi &  Lizzy!

Click here to see some of the pre-tournament festivities. 

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