|Gaby Carreiro at the U17 Women's|
World Cup Soccer Championships
During this week's "Feature Friday" I am sharing the accomplishments of junior Gabriella (Gaby) Carreiro. Gaby is no stranger to anyone who's enjoyed the chance to follow Nipmuc soccer over the past few years. A standout forward on our varsity girls' soccer team, Gaby has also established herself as a nationally recognized player by making the United States U17 Women's National Soccer Team.
Over the course of the past year, in particular, Gaby has been on a tremendous journey through her soccer playing. In June she began traveling each month to Florida and California for week-long training sessions. In October she and her teammates went to Jamaica where they competed in the World Cup qualifying tournament. Gaby had the chance to shine at that tournament when scoring on a penalty kick in her game against Guatemala. I recently had the chance to ask Gaby a few questions about her accomplishments. Included below are some of the questions and answers.
Q: What was the most exciting part of this accomplishment?
A: The most exciting part of this journey was the fact that I had the opportunity to play for my country. Every time you put on that jersey, every time you wear the crest, you carry with you a sense of pride for your country, for USA. It is a feeling not many people ever get the chance to experience. As you walk out onto the field, your can hear the CONCACAF [Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football] [music] playing and a huge crowd roaring behind you. You line up facing the stadium and in the midst of all the excitement you can see a small section of the USA fans where your proud parents stand. The USA national anthem plays, bringing a rush of chills down your spine and tears which fill up in your eyes. At this moment, you begin to understand how important this game really is and that your are playing for something much bigger than yourself, your country.
Q: What was the most challenging part of this experience?
A: The most challenging part of this experience was being away from home for 2 weeks. Although I had my parents in Jamaica with me, I missed my friends and other close family very much. You don’t understand how long 2 weeks can be until you actually experience it. Also, while I was in Jamaica parents were only allowed to visit during specific visiting hours which were usually every two days... Even with the challenges, this experience was completely worth the sacrifices.
Q: Beyond your experiences with soccer, what will you take away most from this experience?
A: Beyond the soccer aspect of this journey, I will take away from this experience the many friendships I have made with people all across the country. A national team pulls together the best group of girls throughout the country no matter where they come from. I now have friends from Idaho and Kansas, places I would never have expected to meet new friends. It was amazing getting to know girls who are just like you, have the same goals as you, have the same drive as you, and are willing to do anything to play for this team and represent the Unites States. They understand the 3 mile runs at 5 am before school or the extra hours you spend working after practice has let out; they understand the sacrifices you have had to make to reach this one goal of making the national team. We came together in the beginning of 2013 and embarked on a journey together. A journey that consisted of a lot of missing school, missing friends, and missing family. All sacrifices we were willing to make to stand on that podium in Jamaica at the end of the year. This experience we all shared created the strong friendships that we now have walking away from this journey.
Q: What are your future plans regarding soccer and academics?A: In the future I am hoping to play D1 soccer in college and become a teacher. I committed to Providence College as a sophomore and am very excited for the new memories I will make with that team. I also love working with children which is why I hope to become a teacher and a coach. Throughout my final year of high school and my four years in college, I hope to continue playing for the national team if I am given that opportunity again. The U20 World Cup is taking place in two years and it would be an honor to be a part of that.
Congratulations, Gaby. Thank you for representing Nipmuc and your country so well!