Postcard from Charleston, S.C.

Jan. 12, 2002

Every several days, a player from the U.S. Women's National Team will send out an e- postcard during the three week road trip that will take the American women from Charleston, S.C. to Guangzhou, China for the Four Nations Women's Tournament featuring the USA, China, Norway and Germany. The USA begins the four-game stretch tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 p.m. ET at Blackbaud Stadium against Mexico. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

Today's postcard is from midfielder Aly Wagner:

Height: 5-5
Born: August 10, 1980
Hometown: San Jose, California
College: Santa Clara University

Well, I was able to attend one day of class at Santa Clara before I had to come to Charleston, South Carolina to join national team camp. Each teacher I told about the possibility of missing the first month (out of three) of this quarter STRONGLY suggested I drop the class. Since I want to graduate sometime before I hit menopause, my choices were to drop Organic Chemistry and enroll in "Intermediate Swimming: Staying Afloat in the Pool," or gut it out in my Combined Sciences major. I decided that I'll just have to play catch up and do my best. Although, mom and dad, in case you do read this, I AM actually going to drop O-Chem. It's just too painful. Sorry. I love you guys. Jerry Smith is paying for it anyway.

Training has been very competitive the last four days. The majority of players are professionals and the eight college players are awesome. That combination, and the fact that everyone is competing for spots on game rosters has made for an intense environment, but also fun and exciting. I found out tonight that I made the 18-player roster for the Mexico game tomorrow. It always encouraging to make any roster for the U.S. National Team, but I know this is just one small goal I've reached and I still have very far to go to make an impact on this team. I don't know if I'll get to play tomorrow, but if I do, I will focus all my mental and physical energy to do what is asked of me to help the team win. I have only played 15 times for the full national team and each game was special. I hope if I get the chance to play tons of games like the veterans on the team, that that feeling will always be there. I think it will.

One last note on Brandi Chastain. Brandi was my assistant coach at Santa Clara and my idol when I was growing up. I always tried to emulate her on and off the field, but there is one area where I might be able to influence her life. She called me before we left for this trip and asked me what I was packing. I answered, 'the bare know, a few sweatshirts, some t-shirts and I'm debating a pair of jeans.' The opportunities for us to 'dress up' are few and far between on road trips...unless you're Brandi Chastain. She brought three pains of jeans, a leather jacket, her suede jacket, a puffy jacket, I don't know how many pairs of shoes (but I haven't seen her wear the same pair twice) and a full compliment of accessories, hair products and cosmetics. Her severe case of over-packing has no bearing on the fact that she wants to, and often does, buy something in every store we walk into.

Well, if you're in front of your TV tomorrow at 7 p.m. Eastern time, flip it over to ESPN2 and watch the U.S. Women. Hopefully, we'll put on good show. And hopefully you'll see number 10 on the field. That's me.

Take Care, Aly

Aly Wagner had a dream season for Santa Clara University in 2001, scoring 17 goals and dishing out 20 assists from the midfield in leading the Broncos to their first-ever NCAA Championship. Her 17th and final goal was the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over UNC in the title game. She was named Offensive MVP of the Final Four. Wagner, who was a member of the USA's residency training camps for the 1999 Women's World Cup and 2000 Olympics, has 15 caps for the U.S. National Team and extensive experience with the youth national teams, having represented the USA on the U-16 and U-21 levels.