Working with the US Women’s National Soccer Team
I recently returned from training camp with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. I had the honor of travelling with the team to Denver for a week-long training camp to prepare for two friendly international games against China. With the qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup on the horizon later this year, every game offers valuable preparation for the challenges ahead.
The camp consisted of 24 players who were looking forward to the challenge of facing a historically difficult opponent like China. Twenty-one of the 24 players play in the new women’s professional league – the National Women’s Soccer League — and were in the middle of their pre-season training, meaning there were some sore bodies and tired legs coming into camp. Three members of the U.S. WNT play for one of the top women’s professional teams in Europe. They are currently in the semifinal of the Women’s Champions League, the most prestigious competition for female footballers in Europe.
The team was supported in Colorado by a highly-skilled sports medicine staff. It has been a pleasure to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team alongside our head athletic trainer/ physical therapist, massage therapists and performance coach. Our goal is always to provide the best level of medical care possible for all players, and to maximize the performance of the team as a whole.
After a tough week of preparation and training, the U.S. earned a 2-0 win against China in their first game, with goals from Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe, one either side of halftime. Before the game, U.S. midfielder Heather O’Reilly, a native of East Brunswick, N.J., was honored for earning her 200th cap in the United State jersey. In their second game against China, which took place in San Diego, the team again defeated China, this time by a 3-0 score.
The players now look towards the kick-off of second season of the NWSL which kicked off last weekend. Three members of the U.S. team, captain Christie Rampone, goalkeeper Jill Loyden, and defender Kelley O’Hara, play for our local team here in New York, the New Jersey Sky Blue.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working with the U.S. Women’s National team. I was impressed by the professionalism, athleticism, and the technical skill of each player, and am excited by what the future holds for this talented group.
Aisling Toolan is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.