On the morning of Sunday, June 7, I woke up before 4:30 a.m. to say goodbye to my freshman year of college and Eugene, Oregon for a few months. I was so excited when I grabbed my two huge suitcases and set out for Oklahoma City with my Oregon teammates and USA Women’s National Team members Janie Takeda and Janelle Lindvall…. It was nice to have some travel buddies with me on the long trip. We had some delays in San Francisco along the way, but we finally made it to Oklahoma City Sunday night. I won’t forget the feelings I had as I walked into the hotel that night; I was about to begin one of the most exciting experiences of a lifetime: being a USA Eagle!

Each day the bus left around 8:00 a.m. and we headed to Hall of Fame Stadium to start our practices. Practice would go from about 9 a.m. until noon and then it was lunchtime. Lunchtime was one of my favorite times of the day because we really got to sit down and get to know our new teammates. It was so cool to hear about everyone’s different college experiences and their perspectives.

After lunch, we would head back to the hotel for a few hours, I would make sure to squeeze in a nap and then we would head back to the fields for practices or games at night. Towards the end of the week, the coaches would give us a morning or night off here and there to give our bodies some rest. While at the hotel, I was constantly hanging out with my teammates and getting to know them. It was so much fun to get to bond with them during this special experience.

On Friday, my team and I made our first appearance as Eagles. Both the Senior and Junior teams were announced at the OKC Dodgers (LA Dodgers Triple A) game on the sidelines before the game. Hundreds of young girls and fans came to get our autographs at tables during the first and second innings of the game. It was awesome to see how much support we got from Oklahoma City. On Sunday, we said “See ya later” to OKC as we set off on our eight-hour bus ride to Houston.

I would have to say my favorite part of this whole experience so far was getting to know my new teammates. I have been having so much fun with them that  I don’t think I have stopped laughing the whole trip. :)  I have also learned a lot of new things from the coaches to add to my game.  It is really cool to be around Olympians like Coach Tairia Flowers and Laura Berg everyday. I am trying to soak in all the new information from some of the greats of the game and the whole USA Coaching Staff. You can really tell how much the coaches love the game as it shows when they are teaching the players.  All of the coaches share their technical knowledge of the sport, but what radiates is their passion for the game. 

Sometimes, I have to touch the dirt to be sure this is real.  I am living the dream!  I love the game. I love my team. I love the coaches. I love being a part of something greater than myself and representing the ASA/USA Junior Women’s National Team.  I am so thankful for all of the opportunities this game has given me.

Go Ducks and Go USA,

Jenna #2