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08 Aug 2019
"We are excited, honoured and ready for more"
The US Women's National Team captain, Megan Wharton explains the sensations of playing with the National jersey for the first time
The USA Women's National Team played their first ever international competition in this last World Beach Games Qualifier El Salvador. The Stars and Stripes could not get the win they were longing for, but their presence in the competition, their international debut, was a huge triumph in itself, the victory of the determination of a group of players that have been training hard, dreaming for that day to come.
Megan Wharton, the team's captain, is one of the examples of how the passion for beach soccer and the determination to follow a dream. This Graphic designer from Columbus, Ohio, is a regular on the National Sand Soccer Championships in Virginia, where she played for Shoreline BSC this season. But behind that there is also a story of hard work, training in hard conditions and a sacrifice ethic. A hard world that was finally rewarded.
Asked about the feelings of the team when representing the national team jersey for the first time, Wharton explains that it was a mixture of joy and responsibility. "We felt extremely excited, honoured, and ready for more. We are really hungry for more top-class beach soccer, and can't wait for the next step. We are really determined to keep working together and grow the sport."
The thing that surprised her the most when playing at international level for the first time was, a part from the level of the competitors, and their strength in the game, the amazing atmosphere, and how it helped the motivation when hitting the sand. "The high energy you could feel in the stadium is just awesome. You don't get that kind of crowd when playing at a national level. It becomes a whole new game, it makes you step out of your comfort zone and become a better player".
Ther e was much more that playing and trying to win involved in this first ever international experience for Eddie Soto's girls, but that did not became an obstacle for Wharton and her teammates to make the most of this opportunity: "We felt a little bit of extra pressure for being wearing the US Soccer and representing the country, but we felt it in a positive way. We wanted to lay a good foundation for the years to come. This is the first ever US Soccer Women's team and we wanted to start it off on a good note".
So what's next now for the US Women's National Team? The answer is clear: "We have to continue training together, getting to know each other even better, understanding how we play and grow the team from there".
Despite her deep background as a eleven-a-side football player, she focuses on keeping improving on beach soccer because of its specifics: "The most difficult thing about beach soccer I would say is the unexpectedness of where the ball can land, you have to be agile and ready to react, and, especially, that most of the time the game is aerial. Everything is up in the air, your touch has to be delicate".
When asked to choose a player she tries to mirror to grow her game, she chooses a teammate: Lauren Leslie. "Because of her passion, her skill, but most of all because of her hard-work ethics".
Precisely, hard-work is what the US Soccer Women's team will not be short on in the coming years, to see the team grow stronger. They will not be in the World Beach Games Qatar, but they look forward to their next International experience. Without a doubt, and seeing the passion with which they play and train, they will be even stronger this next time.