The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team recently secured a place in the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup by becoming CONCACAF champions for the fourth-straight time. The team, comprised of young ladies from around the country, scored late in the 2nd half against their Canadian counterparts. San Diego’s own Marley Canales spoke to SoccerNation.com about the experience and how San Diego’s soccer scene is worth watching in the coming years.
Marley and the rest of the team traveled to Honduras prior to the tournament back in October to get acclimated to the humidity and field conditions among other things. Having familiarity with the region proved beneficial for the ladies as they clinched the championship on December 12. In addition to the obvious elation from the team win, she enjoyed being in Central America to play the game she loves. “Soccer is like a religion there”, said Canales, “you can feel the energy on game day as soon as you step out of the hotel.”
In 2013, the U17 team had squandered advancement in the tournament vs. Mexico. Canales stated that despite expecting to advance, losing “drove me every day in training to keep working hard” all the way up until this year’s tournament. “Living here is a great place for me as a player to develop and grow up learning the game,” said Canales. California has produced a number of quality female players, San Diego especially, and Canales attributes her success to her coaches. Perfecting her skills and learning from her coaches by playing with San Diego Surf throughout the years has provided her the guidance and model needed to be a better player. It also provides her a chance to influence the younger girls who look up to the women’s stars. When Canales is not training for the U-20 Women’s World Up next year in Papua New Guinea, she spends time reflecting on her success. “Having grown up in a very close family, it gets difficult to spend quality time when I’m traveling weeks at a time”. She understands the sacrifices needed to be successful but looks forward to the challenge. 2016 will be a busy year for Canales as she starts at UCLA in August.
To follow her soccer journey representing San Diego in next year’s women’s world cup tournament, follow her on Twitter.
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