Joins Head Coach Rudy Meredith On Trip
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Meredith Speck made an immediate impact on the Yale women's soccer team in her first year. Now, she will have a chance to shine on the international stage. Speck, who earned first team All-Ivy recognition as a freshman for the Bulldogs last fall, has been named to the United States Under-23 Women's National Team that will travel to Norway for a Three Nations Tournament that features the hosts and Sweden.
"It's the chance of a lifetime and an honor to be invited to compete with the U23 national team," Speck said. "I definitely think it will help me improve as a player for the upcoming [Yale] season. By playing with the best players in the country, I hope to learn as much as I can from them and do what I can to bring that same intensity and high level of play to Yale soccer."
Speck will join Yale head coach Rudy Meredith on the trip. Meredith is serving as an assistant coach.
"Rudy's involvement as an assistant coach will definitely benefit me," Speck said. "As of now, I'm not familiar with many of the other girls on the roster, and Rudy will help me feel as comfortable and confident as possible. From a soccer perspective, Rudy and I are already on the same page when it comes to tactics and other areas of the game, so his role on the coaching staff should smooth any adjustments I will have to make to fit in to the team's playing style."
Meredith played an instrumental role in Speck earning a spot on the team. At the training camp in California last month, head coach Randy Waldrum felt the team needed a left-footed defender. Initially reluctant to suggest one of his own players, Meredith finally mentioned that Speck might be a good fit, and Waldrum agreed.
Speck enjoyed an outstanding rookie season at Yale. Splitting time between forward and defender, she started all 17 games and finished with four goals and four assists.
The USA will face the Sweden U-23s on Friday, June 15 followed by matches against Norway's U-23s on June 17 and June 19. All the matches will be played at Overlands Minde in Stjordalen, Norway.
The USA roster is made up of top college players and recent graduates who are playing in the U.S. amateur leagues and semi-professional leagues around the world. The roster includes forward Sarah Hagen, who is scoring consistently for Bayern Munich in the German Women's Bundesliga and recently helped her club to the German Cup title.
Oklahoma State goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who recently spent some training time with the full U.S. Women's National Team during a camp in Princeton, N.J., is also on the roster. Five players on the roster have experience playing for the USA in a FIFA youth Women's World Cup, including Amber Brooks, who captained the USA at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in New Zealand and also played at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Germany in 2010. Defender Elli Reed and midfielder Christine Nairn were on the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity