SEATTLE – Washington coaches Lesle Gallimore and Amy Griffin recently participated in the U.S. Women’s Soccer U-23 camp as they continue their work with the national teams. The U-23 age group is not a World Cup age, but an excellent opportunity for players who are hoping to receive full team callups later in their careers.
"It’s a huge honor to be involved in any capacity with U.S. Soccer and to be asked to coach with one of our National Teams is even more flattering,” said Gallimore. “The U-23 group is a terrific age group to work with because it includes so many mature and experienced players.”
“It isn’t a World Cup age group, but it is hugely important. These are the college upperclassmen and recent graduates that need to continue prepping for potential professional careers and full-team call-ups. It has been fun to be around this group this week. Many of them will be in the next U-23 camp in July which we are hosting at UW. It overlaps with the U-20 camp and will be great because the 20’s will be in their last preparations before the U-20 World Cup in Canada which begins in August.”
From a player side, the Dawgs were also represented by goalkeeper Megan Kufeld. The All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention selection was participating in her first camp for the U-23’s.
“It is such a thrill for me to see Megan at this U-23 camp,” said Griffin. “She has handled the process how much work it takes to improve to heart and it certainly has paid off. I think many good players don't realize how difficult it is to get to the next level. It's the toughest jump in athletics -- building a foundation is the easy part. Going from good to great is sweat, focus, hard work over long periods of time and Megan has been diligent on this front. To see her head out to training wearing the U.S. Soccer crest is awesome!”
“Megan has done an excellent job showing why she was invited, and that she is ready for this level. With the National Women’s Soccer League Goalkeepers in the middle of their season; it opened up a window of opportunity to open up the goalkeeper pool of players to a few more. Kufeld certainly has received valuable game experience with many big games with the Huskies that has helped her prepare for this level.”
Gallimore agreed on Kufeld’s impressive camp and how it can be a stepping stone to further involvement with the National Team.
“The U-23 group is a great indication of where the full U.S. women’s team will be in a few years,” said Gallimore. “There are several players who I feel are the future of the U.S. Women’s National Team and these camps for this “gap group” really provide an opportunity to train and evaluate a larger pool and see players that have been recommended by college coaches throughout the country.”
While Gallimore remains committed to the Huskies in preparation for the 2014, which has growing expectations after a strong spring, she also revels in the opportunity to provide support for the national team.
“I’ve always had a vested interest in seeing our U.S. Women’s National Team succeed and to be able to take part in the process is a real joy for me.”
“Coaching and evaluating at this level is a ton of fun because the players are focused and committed to being the best. As a coach you should always be learning. Being around a group like this is a great environment for a coach to learn and I being here will benefit my players at UW.”
“I’m grateful to Steve Swanson for the opportunity. He’s the head coach of this age group and has won a World Cup with the U20s. He was called into full team camp with Jill Ellis and asked me to join the 23’s. Janet Rayfield, a longtime friend, colleague and head coach at Illinois, is leading this group in Steve’s absence. She and Amy were both with Steve when the 20’s won the World Cup in 2012. They are a great staff to learn from because their care and organization is top-notch.”