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The 2001 Santa Clara women's soccer team was a special group of young women. They accomplished something every team at every level wants to do: win a championship. Through hard work, determination and a lot of support from each other the Broncos hoisted the College Cup championship trophy over their heads in Dallas, Texas in 2001. Lana Bowen (LB) started every game that season and added a goal and three assists. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) recently caught up with Bowen to reminisce about that magical run.
SCB: What have you been up to recently?
LB: I am living in Kristiansand, Norway. I have been playing out here for the last three years. I have also been traveling when I have free time between seasons, which is my favorite hobby. Last year I traveled to Thailand and did some Trekking in Nepal, a place where my dad and I have been a few times now after so many amazing experiences. I've been teaching some yoga and enjoying exploring Norway for the past few years that I've been here.
SCB: Are you still involved in soccer?
LB: The team I play for now is the professional club called Fotball Klub Amazon and we are in the Toppserien here in Norway. I have dual citizenship so its easy for me to work and play here. The soccer is very different but its been fun to be able to continue at a high level and still play.
SCB: How would you describe the team chemistry on that 2001 team?
LB: We had great team chemistry on the 2001 team. I think you have to in order to go as far as we did. There were exceptional leaders all over the field who really lead by example by demanding the highest level of play at all times. They passed on to us freshman the legacy of Santa Clara and I felt honored and determined to carry it on. Our past held high standards and that is absolutely what was expected of us and I was so proud to be a part it. Whether it was practice, meetings, games or white water rafting, the competition was extreme and then some, at all times. The quality of players and the desire to win was really special with our group. We didn't only work hard for ourselves, we worked hard for each other. We literally bled and sweat for each other. We worked so hard and focused to get the fundamentals of our game down, so that by the time we stepped on the field, there were no ifs about how we would play. From there, our creativity and confidence could flow, knowing that everyone was on the same page and we had the tools to really control the game.
SCB: How would you describe the moment that the timer ended and you were a national champion?
LB: I remember checking the clock a few times as it got closer to the end of the game and I just thought, "come on, we got this!" I was not nervous, I just couldn't wait to celebrate. Not only did we score a great goal, we played fantastic and that energy and intensity did not let up for one minute. The more frustrated and rushed they got, the more controlled and confident we played and that felt amazing. To know that we were about to upset the reigning champions, a solid, strong and talented team, was incredible. The better team won that day and anyone who saw that game would agree.
SCB: What characteristic of yours do you feel most contributed to helping the team win?
LB: I think that as a freshman I had my ears and eyes open the whole time. I did not take for granted that I had masters of the game around me, with so much to teach me. I am proud that I was able to step up my level of play and fit into a very specific and special tactical style of play. Along with everyone else, our hard work paid off. That's what I remember most; working hard all the time.
SCB: What was the atmosphere like upon returning to Santa Clara after the game?
LB: Sure we didn't win the Rose Bowl, but everyone around us, fellow students, friends and family, knew how big a national championship was. Not many people can say they have won a national championship and without bragging too much, I did feel like we had stepped to a different level as athletes. To say you were the number one team in the entire country, among hundreds of team, was beyond cool and well deserved. We had great receptions by the media and all our fans around us. I still have friends who call me "The Champ."
SCB: What do you miss most about playing for Santa Clara?
LB: That is so easy. I miss Jerry's coaching and all the girls! I will never find another team that plays so well together and with a style that I love so much. I miss the high level of competition that was demanded of us. Everything clicked and we played such smart, organized, creative, confident and fun soccer. To have played with my teammates at that high level was an honor and from what I hear, our experience was quite unique.
SCB: How do you think the experience of being a national champion has effected your life? What has it taught you?
LB: I have no doubt that our national championship changed my life. Not just that single moment but the entire framework around it. I know that I am a passionate, driven, athletic, hard working, analytical, successful, determined, strong willed and well rounded person, all of which was nurtured and maximized at Santa Clara. It was a priceless education for the person I was and have become, and I am thankful and lucky to have been a part of it.