United States Soccer Federation officials invited Mackenzie Smith to the Under-19 Women’s National Team training camp held this week, and no one was more surprised than the Bath senior.
“It was a honor be invited,” Smith said by phone in Carson, Calif. “I was so excited. I didn’t think I would be invited until I got to college.
“This has been my goal to get invited to one of these.”
Smith is one of 24 players working with national team coaches at the camp that ends Oct. 10. The camp is one of a set to help shape U.S. Soccer’s roster for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papau, New Guinea.
Her performances with the Olympic Development Region 1 1997s team last Thanksgiving in Boca Raton, Florida, helped secure the invite to the national team camp, according to Smith. The center back/midfielder also was a co-captain in an international tournament played last year in Croatia, where a select United States age-group team took on women’s national teams. Smith has a verbal commitment to play at Clemson University in South Carolina.
The current U.S. Soccer U-19 national team camp is run by Jitka Klimkova,
“It’s honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had,” Smith said. “We have April Heinrichs here as our technical adviser. (Tuesday) we had an inter-squad game.”
United States National Team members Whitney Engen and Christen Press stepped in to fill out the roster of players for the inter-squad match.
“No one expects to (play against them)!” Smith said. “Oh, we were all scared that we would look bad, but it was fun.