Abby Smith selected for U.S. U-20 Women's National Team
Aug. 2, 2012
CHICAGO, Ill. -- Texas Soccer incoming freshman goalkeeper Abby Smith was one of 21 players selected for the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team, according to an announcement by the organization Thursday afternoon. Smith and the squad will travel to Japan to take part in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup from Aug. 19-Sept 8.
"This is such an honor and so exciting. I do not have the words to describe this opportunity," Smith said. "The whole package of being together, in Japan, playing in the World Cup is going to be awesome."
Smith is one of three goalkeepers named to the U.S. squad by head coach Steve Swanson. She most recently spent July 15-30 in Bradenton, Fla., for an extended training camp with Swanson, as he trimmed the roster from 24 down to 21 for the World Cup.
"I'm very excited for Abby and the opportunity that is being presented to her," Texas head coach Angela Kelly said. "I firmly believe, and I'm sure the Olympics can attest to this, that there is nothing more special in athletics than to represent your country. Abby now has that opportunity."
Earlier in 2012 with the U.S. national team, Smith took part in the March 2012 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Qualifying Tournament in Panama City, Panama. She was also selected to travel with the U-20 club to La Manga, Spain, for the Four Nations Tournament from Feb. 3-15. The Plano, Texas, native earned the invitation after participating in the 2012 U-20 World Cup Summer Camp in January. Smith had been involved with the U.S. U-18 and U-17 National Team camps and made her first international trip in December 2009, traveling to Argentina with the U-17 squad.
"This is really exciting that we finally get to go and that the World Cup is finally here," Smith added. "We've been counting down since there were about 180 days left. We've been training for so long, but now these games are actually here and in front of us. It's going to be so worth it."
At Plano West High School, Smith was a three-year varsity starter who graduated a semester early, allowing for full travel with the U.S. club. She was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Youth All-America selection in 2010 and 2011 as well as a 2010 Parade Magazine All-America honoree. She earned District 8-5A Newcomer of the Year and Dallas Morning News SportsDay Newcomer of the Year honors following her rookie campaign.
ESPNHS ranked Smith as the No. 5 prospect nationally. Smith was also a four-star recruit, according to TopDrawerSoccer.com, and was tabbed by the publication as the 13th-best player in the country and the second-best player in Texas.
Smith will become the third member of the Longhorns' program to play for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup (until 2006, tournament was for under-19 age group), joining Kelly Wilson (2002) and Stephanie Logterman (2004, 2006). Current Texas assistant coach Keeley Dowling was a teammate of Wilson's on the 2002 squad while Dowling was at the University of Tennessee.
"We couldn't be more excited to have Abby here at Texas," Kelly said. "Our Texas Soccer family will be her biggest fans. We want to ensure she is prepared physically and emotionally to pursue excellence. Nothing will ever replace the experience and knowledge that she will gain at the World Cup."
The U-20 club kicks off World Cup action Aug. 20 at 2 a.m. CT against Ghana in Hiroshima. The U.S. has two more matches in Group D before the tournament stage begins, facing China PR on Aug. 23 at 5 a.m. CT in Hiroshima and Germany at 2 a.m. on Aug. 27 in Miyagi.
U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team Roster