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Atehortua Heads To Netherlands For Some International Soccer

John Nash

 

Sofia Atehortua is starting her summer vacation a little earlier.

Having just wrapped her freshman year with the Dragons girls soccer program, where she rewrote the school record book for goals in a season, Atehortua is headed for the Netherlands after being selected as part of the 20-member United State Women’s Soccer U15 National Team.

That team will be holding an international camp from June 6-16 and include a pair of friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany as the squad prepares for the 2022 U15 World Cup.

Team USA will face the Netherlands on Friday, June 10, in Schalkhaar (which is about 70 miles east of Amsterdam) and then face Gerhman on Wednesday, June 15, in Nordhorn.

“Sometimes it feels unreal and for periods of times it feels as though I am dreaming,” Atehortua said shortly after receiving the news she was one of the 20 players selected. “It was something I had dreamed of being part of from very young.”

In began, in fact, when Atehortua was just eight years old and she attended a U.S. Women’s National Team Game at the She Believes Cup in Pennsylvania.

“I promised myself one day to be part of this team representing a great nation,” Atehortua said. “It hasn't been easy at all, because along the way you encounter challenges, and if you don't overcome them, you won't grow.  What I am experiencing is beautiful, a great dream come true.”

She was invited to train with Team USA, but making the 20-person traveling squad for a pair of international competitions raises the stakes that much more.

“Reaching this goal means everything to me and ratifies that all my efforts have paid off,” she said. “Many coaches, teammates, family members, and grandparents of teammates predicted, and verbalized ‘I will see you on television one day.’ Teammates have asked me to sign t-shirts and cleats. They asked me for autographs to sell later and I laugh. It all creates this emotion and adrenaline within my body that motivates and challenges me to continue fighting and working towards my dream and ultimate goal.”

Atehortua exploded on to the GFA girls soccer scene this fall, arriving as the kid sister to JP Atehortua from the boys team.

She quickly found her own footing, though, finishing the 2021 season with a school-record 36 goals. She broke a 20-year-old record of 31 goals set by Ali Rago in 2001.

The one thing Atehortua won’t do is rest on her laurels.

She knows a trip to the Netherlands in June of 2022 is not the ultimate goal, but a spectacular stop on a journey that doesn’t always seem real.

“The next step is to continue working hard to stay here, improve every day, and continue to represent my country,” Atehortua said. “I hope to be an example for girls, inspire, and make this great nation proud. Soccer is passion, training, discipline, determination, emotion, a sport that unites, transforms, and inspires.  I have found everything in it.

Dreams come true. Never stop believing.”