M. Lee (U-14 GNT)

Washington forward stands out amongst U14 GNT

(2010) - Every soccer player has the aspiration to be the best, and there is no better way to measure that, than by playing with the best. And there’s no better place to play with the best than at a youth national team camp. Last week, 36 of the best 14-year old girls gathered at the Home Depot Center for a week-long U.S. training camp.

Daily training and five scrimmages later, there were a handful of girls who stood out above the rest. One of those players was forward Mariah Lee. A native from Covington, Washington, Mariah plays for the Girls U15 Washington Premier Football Club’s ECNL team.

Mariah may not be an intimidating player as first glance, but as her head coach, Scott Halasz, points out, it’s the qualities that you don’t see that make Mariah very lethal.

"She came into the club about two years ago, and she was on the shorter side. But she is very astute of the game, and can apply the information that we give her very quickly. Which has allowed her to progress very well," Halasz said. "Plus, as of yet, I have not seen anybody that can match up against her strength and speed."

It was that strength and speed that she displayed at the U.S. national team camp, which helped her climb to one of the best players on the field. But Michelle French, who was in charge of the camp, placed Mariah as an outside back position at the start.

"When she went to the U.S. ID Camp in the summer, she was being played in the back," Halasz said. "So we prepared her to play as an outside back. During training camp, she called me and told me that they shifted her up front."

This wasn’t because Mariah couldn’t perform as a defender. On the contrary, she did a marvelous job taking on forwards, breaking up chances, and driving up and down the flanks. She used her speed to beat strikers on clearances and used her strength to knock players off the ball.

However when French decided to move her forward, Mariah hit her comfort zone. It was clear she felt more comfortable, her vision was remarkable and her footwork broke through defenders very effectively.

"When I spoke with her after the camp se told me that most important thing was adjusting to the speed of play," Halasz explained. "The demand is a lot higher."

The highest amount of demand would come in the last scrimmage of the week, when Mariah faced off against one of the best defenders in camp, Annia Mejia. Mariah wasn’t able to score, but showed flashes of how much of a danger she can be, using her speed to beat Annia and get crosses off. 

For Mariah the magnitude of her first U.S. national training camp is something she hasn’t taken lightly. She sees it as a launching pad for progress.

"She always wants to know how she can get better. For her, the training camp was very beneficial because she enjoys the competition," Halasz said. "You can tell she has that motivation to come back and work hard."

Mariah’s experience is also a benefit for Washington Premier FC. Her experience resonates to her teammates in a degree that no coach can, as Halasz puts it.

"She is the leader of the team and the girls look up to her. She is humble and a key component to our team," he said. "She can be a motivational tool. We can only tell the girls how prepared and how ready they have to be, but when a teammate tells them where exactly they need to be to compete at that level, then they listen."


(September 21, 2010) - The first day of scrimmages got underway for the U14 GNT training camp, as it hosted South Bay Force and Real So Cal here at the training fields of the Home Depot Center.

It would be hard to expect perfect soccer from this group of girls, who are experiencing a national team training camp for the first time and have only been training together since this past weekend.

Nonetheless, both squads showed cohesiveness and awareness, stringing together good passes and creating several chances at net.

The first match, against South Bay Force showed a tentative U.S. defense that found itself out of position in the first half.

"Three of four [players] don’t play in the back, that’s why the defense was all over the place," explained Michelle French, who is running this week’s camp.

The player from the U.S. Red Team that stood out the most in the back was Mariah Lee. She was strong and able to hold on to the ball very well, timing her runs up the flanks very well and using her strength to strip the opposing forwards of the ball.

After halftime she was moved up front and then showed her attacking prowess, slicing through defenders and using her speed to create space for dangerous crosses.

"She was more effective as a forward because it was her natural position," said French. "As soon as she got into her comfort zone she was able to make a lot of things happen."

Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kelsey Dossey (Zionsville; Plainfield, Ind), Abigail Pyne (Black Bear United; Dixmont, Maine)
DEFENDERS (7): Michaela Abam (Albion FC; Sugarland, Texas), Victoria Bowman (Dallas Sting; Colleyville, Texas), Hannah Coy (Magic Jacks; Boca Raton, Fla.), Delaney Fechalos (Atlanta Fire; Suwanee, Ga.), Monica Flores (SDFC Lynx; Livingston, N.J.), Mariah Lee (Washington Premier FC; Covington, Wash.),Annia Mejia (Arsenal FC; Bloomington, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Madison Burdick (Atlanta Fire; Alpharetta, Ga.), Jordan Di Biasi (Colorado Rush; Littleton Colorado), Maddie Huster (Ohio Elite; Cincinnati, Ohio), Hannah Lopiccolo (West Coast FC; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Haley Pounds (Challenge SC; Spring, Texas), Amanda Shorin (PSV Union FC; Palo Alto, Calif.)
FORWARDS (3): Jorian Baucom (Sereno SC; Scottsdale, Ariz.), Sarah Chase (West Coast FC; Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), Gabriella Kaplan (MVLA Lightning; Emerald Hills, Calif.)


(September 8, 2010) - WPFC ’95 ECNL Mariah Lee has been selected to the U.S. U-14 Girls’ National Team which will be in training camp from Sept. 18-25 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as 35 players, all born in 1996, come together for training and several scrimmage matches.

The U.S. U-14 Girls’ National Team will be in training camp from Sept. 18-25 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as 35 players, all born in 1996, come together for training and several scrimmage matches. Former U.S. international Michelle French, who has been working with the U.S. U-14 program for several years now, will run the camp in the absence of Mike Dickey, who selected the roster from this past summer’s U.S. Soccer U-14 Girls’ Identification Camp in Portland, Oregon. An additional player may be added before the camp begins. The U.S. U-14s will play several matches against local club and possibly ODP teams during the week. 

U.S. U-14 GNT Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (4): Kelsey Dossey (Zionsville; Plainfield, Ind.), Casey Murphy (PDA; Bridgewater, N.J.), Alexandra Nicholas (Pleasanton Rage; Pleasanton, Calif.), Abigail Pyne (Black Bear United; Dixmont, Maine)

DEFENDERS (14): Michaela Abam (Albion FC; Sugarland, Texas), Emilia Bladin (Seattle United; Seattle, Wash.), Victoria Bowman (Dallas Sting; Colleyville, Texas), Hannah Coy (Magic Jacks; Boca Raton, Fla.), Schuyler Debree (Match Fit Chelsea; Fair Haven, N.J.), Delaney Fechalos (Atlanta Fire; Suwanee, Ga.), Monica Flores (SDFC Lynx; Livingston, N.J.), Sabrina Flores (SDFC Lynx; Livingston, N.J.), Shelby Fredericks (Massapequa Stars; Babylon, N.Y.), Eva Gordon (Empire United; Syracuse, N.Y.), Chloe Hemmingway (West Coast FC; Irvine, Calif.), Mariah Lee (Washington Premier FC; Covington, Wash.), Annie Mejia (Arsenal FC; Bloomington, Calif.), Meaghan Mulligan (PDA; Freehold, N.J.) 

MIDFIELDERS (11): Betsy Brandon (Colorado Rush; Littleton Colorado), Megan Buckingham (Michigan Hawks; Novi, Mich.), Madison Burdick (Atlanta Fire; Alpharetta, Ga.), Jordan Di Biasi (Colorado Rush; Littleton Colorado), Maddie Huster (Ohio Elite; Cincinnati, Ohio), Hannah Lopiccolo (West Coast FC; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Noel Rilka (Michigan Hawks; West Bloomfield, Mich.), Shannon Patterson (Oregon Rush; Bend, Ore.), Haley Pounds (Challenge SC; Spring, Texas), Josie Thurman (Carmel United; Noblesville, Ind.), Amanda Shorin (PSV Union FC; Palo Alto, Calif.)

FORWARDS (6): Jorian Baucom (Sereno SC; Scottsdale, Ariz.), Sarah Chase (West Coast FC; Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), Mikaela Harvey (Lonestar SC; Liberty Hill, Texas), Gabriella Kaplan (MVLA Lightning; Emerald Hills, Calif.), Gracin Palmer (CASL Spartan Elite; Clinton, N.C.), Pilar Torres (San Diego Surf; Encinitas, Calif.) 

Mariah your teammates, coaches and WPFC family are very proud of your accomplishment, your hard work is paying off!