By: Gabe Taylor '12
Whether it is singing with her teammates or launching the ball into the back of the net, rising junior and Santa Clara forward Julie Johnston is taking full-advantage of her opportunity to suit up with the U20 U.S. soccer team.
"Playing for the U20 National team is a huge honor and being able to wear the US crest is pretty incredible," said Johnston, who was crowned the 2010 WCC Freshman of the Year.
During the U.S.'s trip to Panama this winter, the team found time to bond off the field. Soon enough, the teammates were singing in front of a camera and posting the videos to YouTube.
"We have so much fun and they are hilarious," said Johnston.
In the U.S.'s match against Mexico in the CONCACAF U20 Women's Championship, Johnston struck the ball into the back of the net to put the team up 1-0 just 10 minutes into the game. Eighty minutes later, the U.S. had claimed a spot in the World Cup after defeating Mexico by a score of 4-0.
But the team is still yet to be set in stone for the World Cup, which will be held in Japan starting August 19. Johnston has her fingers crossed that she will be included.
"I am extremely excited though that the U.S. U20 team has secured a spot in the World Cup," said Johnston, who is currently training in hopes that she will capture a spot on the final roster.
After a Bronco season in which she notched a team-high nine goals and four assists, earning her the honor of being named All-American First Team, Johnston is ready to bring her revised skills back to Mission campus.
"I learned so much in this past year and I hope to bring my new understanding of the game to our team," said Johnston. "I have really high expectations for our 2012 season, so I want to do anything I can to help."
Although Johnston's offseason has consisted of playing on the U.S. U20 team, she has devoted a large sum of her time to improving her fundamentals.
"I want to become flawless in the basics because then the tricks and hard stuff come with ease," said Johnston.
Johnston will look to string together another noteworthy season come August in hopes of leading the Broncos to their eleventh Final Four appearance. After a season in which they went 13-2-6, Johnston recognizes the upside of Santa Clara's roster.
"I think it's time the Broncos are back in the College Cup and I can't wait until we have our opportunity and embrace it," said Johnston.