SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Earlier this summer, Morgan Marlborough and Meleana Shim shared with us the experiences they had through playing on the U.S. U-23 National Team in Norway. Below, Shim (MS) shared with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) more insights on what she has gained through this experience and what she is looking forward to about the upcoming season here at SCU. Santa Clara opens its season on Fri., Aug. 17 at 7 pm at Stanford, the defending National Champion. The Broncos return home Sun., Aug. 26 vs. UC Riverside after playing at Cal on Thurs., Aug. 23.
SCB: What was the best part of your experience playing for the U-23 National team?
MS: My whole life I have wanted to play soccer at the highest level possible. My goal of playing on the full U.S. women's national team has been in me from the age of 6. Getting invited into the U-23 camp two months in a row was a huge step for me. I didn't come through the youth national team program, so I was just hoping that I would get the opportunity to play at that level someday. Putting on the jersey and wearing the USA crest was the feeling I've been longing for since the thigh juggling days. Better yet, the feeling surpassed what I had ever expected it to be.
SCB: What was the most difficult part of this experience?
MS: Adjusting to the speed of play was a little challenging at first. Everyone plays quickly on the national team, and most of them had played together before. Being the new girl at camp is always an adjustment, but the girls were very welcoming and made it easy for me.
SCB: What will you take from this experience?
MS: There is a lot that I can take from playing with the national team. I feel like I developed a lot as a player in both camps. There are things that I will bring back to our team at Santa Clara; most importantly the intensity and high level of play. Professionalism was another thing that stood out to me. From the way the girls took care of their bodies to the way they trained and interacted with each other on the field, I am really looking forward to applying the simple things that make a team sharp and professional.
SCB: How will this experience influence you for this upcoming season?
MS: Playing at camp reminded me of how much life there is in the game. I truly feel lucky be able to get out and play every day. Now that I've had the opportunity to play at the national team level, I will hold my team and myself to a higher standard. Developing and finding my niche as a player is an ongoing process, and I feel like I've taken a huge leap in the past few months.
SCB: What are you most excited about this upcoming season?
MS: I'm so excited for game days. Competition of any kind is what drives me, and between soccer and fall quarter, I am living a competition bubble! It's so invigorating. To sum it all up, I'm looking forward to doing very well as a team this year and having a fabulous time doing it!