Avery Clark, a member of the Tennessee Soccer Club’s TSC 2004 ECNL Girls team, has received her first invitation to be a member of the US Youth National Team.
She recently sat down and discussed what it has meant to receive this honor, what’s like to be a part of the team and how it may impact her game and her life:
TSC: What was your first experience with the US Soccer Youth National Team (USYNT) like?
Avery Clark (AC): It was different than what I expected. I knew the speed of play would be fast, but it was REALLY fast! It took me a couple of days to get used to that and at first it was hard to keep up with some of the players. Once I got used to that I felt much more comfortable. Also, so much time was spent recovering from our training or game. The coaching staff and training staff talked a lot about taking care of our bodies in between sessions so I formed some really good habits.
TSC: How do you feel you played during the week of camp?
AC: I feel like I played well overall. I was able to contribute in training sessions and in the two games we played.
TSC: Did being with the USYNT give you perspective on where you are as a player compared to the other best players in the country?
AC: Yes, definitely. I knew I wouldn’t be one of the best players at the camp so came in with the mindset of simply wanting to contribute and improve. I feel like I did that.
TSC: After spending a week at camp, what aspects of your game do you feel you need to work on?
AC: My touch definitely needs to continue to improve.
TSC: And what aspects of your game do you feel you are doing really well, even at that high level?
AC: My movement off the ball created a lot of opportunities for me and / or my teammates, especially in the final third.
TSC: There were 36 total players invited to this camp. Did you know any others before camp started?
AC: I played against four others in various competitions over the last several years but did not know any of them personally.
TSC: What was the typical day like at camp?
AC: Ultimately, they wanted us to maximize our energy on the field and focus on recovering off the field, whether on training days or game days. Time off the field was pretty low key. We had player meetings and/or team meetings every day. A lot of focus was on our hydration and recovery when we were off the field so that we would be feeling good for training and games.
TSC: Talk to us about the award you received at camp.
AC: I was given the “Three Yard Award” on our last day of camp. It is something he players and coaches voted on, which made me feel really good. The point of the award is to recognize someone at camp who has a positive impact on everything within three yards of them. It can be on the field and making good decisions with the ball or making your teammates better. It also could be picking up trash at the training field or in the hotel. I started crying when the coaches announced my name because it felt really good to be recognized for making a positive impact and having a good attitude all week long.
TSC: What was your favorite part of the week ON the field?
AC: Scoring my first goal with my first touch of the game was my favorite moment. I came on as a sub at start of the second half. Ten seconds into that half we won the ball in our attacking third of the field and a teammate crossed into the box and I was there to finish it. It was awesome!
TSC: What was your favorite part of the week OFF the field?
AC: I really enjoyed meeting all of the other girls at camp. I made one great friend in particular from New York City Football Club. She was a GK and we really got along well.