Incoming freshman Katie Pratt-Thompson's trip to Maryland for the USYS National Championships culminated in a U-18 title for her Beach FC Ingrassia team on July 27.
Pratt-Thompson, a defender, helped her team keep a clean sheet in all five of its games, contributing to a 3-0 sweep in pool play before a 2-0 win over Braddock Road Youth Club from Virginia in the semifinal and another 2-0 win over Cleveland United White from Ohio to take the title.
The Braddock Road team included fellow incoming freshman Natalie Larkin and is the same program that produced a U-19 national title in 1984 with Princeton head coach Julie Shackford and current U.S. Women's National Team coach Jillian Ellis on the squad.
The Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland, played host to the event and is also the home park for the Washington Spirit, the pro team on which Diana Matheson '08 plays and on whose W-League team rising senior Melissa Downey played. The Spirit's W-League side went 10-0-2 in league play this summer and advanced to the championship final, also held July 27, with the L.A. Blues, a team which which Downey's classmate Lauren Lazo trained, taking the W-League title.
"My experience on the Washington Spirit Reserves has been awesome," Downey said. "It was a great group of girls that clicked both on and off the field. Many of them came from top soccer programs such as North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Duke as well as various youth and full national teams. Occasionally, we got the chance to practice with pro players, which was very cool. The girls definitely helped push me to be a better player and were a lot of fun to train with as intensity and focus was always high. Summer teams can really be a toss up and I totally lucked out."
|Melissa Downey (front row, second from right) with her Washington Spirit W-League team|
The Tigers will begin training for the upcoming season in mid-August with the opener set for Sept. 5 on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium against Rutgers.