Spartana

Not Just For Kicks

Emmalyn Meyer, Writer

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Have you ever dreamed of being able to play your sport for Team USA? Would you like to travel around the world doing something you enjoy? Would you like to accomplish those goals while you’re still young? As only a freshman, Amelia White (9) has already checked those three goals off of her bucket list.
White currently plays for the the United States’ national soccer team in her age group as a forward. While she was not born kicking a ball like many naturally gifted players, she grew up watching her brother play soccer and eventually decided to give it a try.
“When I was six years old, I saw my brother playing soccer,” White said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t stick with it, but I saw him doing it and it looked really fun, so I decided to join in. I ended up being pretty good.”
The connection to soccer within her family extends to her other sibling. Her twin sister, Sophia White (9) also plays soccer for Fort Wayne United. Being sisters results in a bit of rivalry between the two. Although they play opposite positions – Amelia being a forward and Sophia being a defender – they often play against one another in their free time.
Many people look at the young White’s career as some sort of dream because she has been able to travel to Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and China; however, not many know how much her education and mental health are impacted by tournaments abroad and lengthy training. She spent her first week of high school at a tournament in China.
“It used to be really hard to keep up with school, but I’ve gotten a hang of it by communicating with the school to figure it all out,” White said. “That’s gotten a lot better, but mentally, it can be difficult, like missing the first week of high school – it was hard to come back, but I adjusted eventually.”
Although she gets to travel abroad to memorable locations, most of her time is spent preparing for the game or playing, so she does not get to truly experience the country she is in. This is one sacrifice she has to make for the team.
“We mainly just play, but we do get out once a week and either go sight-seeing or go on walks or to museums,” White said.
One reason that playing soccer on the national team requires so much commitment from the players is the intense training. Travel and time are required in order to ensure the team’s success.

“It’s all year long, and we’ll meet usually once every two or three months and we train for a week,” White said. “We train twice a day and they’re usually pretty intense practices, but the coaches understand that you can’t go one hundred percent all the time, so we do have some easier and lighter training.”
Despite the challenges, White and her teammates are willing to sacrifice whatever’s necessary for the end result – the excitement of a goal and a win.
“There’s always sacrifices that you have to make to do something like playing on the national team,” White said, “but when you add up all of the things that you have to sacrifice and then you compare it to the moments where you score the last goal with a minute left of the game, it’s an amazing feeling, and it makes it all worth it.”
However, the sacrifices were worth it when White scored her first international goal in Germany. She carries that special memory like a badge of honor on her sleeve. She dribbled the ball down the field during the first five minutes of the game, beating each player until she kicked the ball to the back of the goal, defeating the goalkeeper.
Having an experienced player like White helped the Homestead varsity team in their victory at sectionals because of her knowledge of the sport.
“Overall, Amelia’s been a great benefit for the team, because she’s so diverse in the way she plays and her style is so complex,” Morgan Halliwill (12), who plans to play Division-1 college soccer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said. “Her way of thinking has helped our team develop and get so much better.”
There are many great things in store for White, including the World Cup for her age group in 2020, so 2019 will involve a lot of training for the big event. It may be hard, but White is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do well.
“The training will increase, so it’ll be hard to keep up with school, but I’m willing to take on the challenge,” White said.

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