A Postcard From Victoria, B.C.

A Postcard From Victoria, B.C.

Aug. 23, 2002

Every few days, a player from the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team will send out an e-postcard from Canada, where the U.S. is playing in the FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship. The USA swept through Group C going 3-0-0 while scoring 15 goals and giving up just one and will play Denmark in its quarterfinal match on Sunday, Aug 25, at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C. Kickoff for the match is 7 p.m. PT and fans can follow the action live on www.ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Phillips Electronics.

Today's postcard is from midfielder Leslie Osborne

Height: 5-8
Born: May 27, 1983
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wis.
College: Santa Clara University

We've been in Victoria, B.C. for 12 days now and we love it. It's a perfect place for us to spend two weeks. The city has some great energy to it, but it's also peaceful and quiet and certainly beautiful. We couldn't have asked for a better place to play a world championship. There are just enough things going on to keep us occupied, but not enough to distract us from our focus for the games.

Our second group game against Australia was an all-out war. It definitely helped them that almost all of the fans at the game were cheering for them. But we had a small pocket of parents and friends who were yelling just as loud. My nickname on the team is Ozzy, as is Oz, as in Osborne. At the beginning of the game, I heard a chant go up from the crowd that sound like the fans were yelling "Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy!!" over and over. I was kind of embarrassed for second until I realized that they were chanting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!! for the Australians. I later found out that everyone on the bench had a good laugh about it in first couple of minutes as well. Unfortunately, somehow, Megan Kakadelas missed the joke. About 15 minutes into the game, during a lull, she said to no one in particular, "hey, how come they are still cheering for Ozzy?" But that's just Megan. Everyone on the team calls her Phoebe, as in Phoebe from "Friends." Now you know why.

The day after the Australia game we didn't practice and instead took a nice, leisurely team jog through the streets of Victoria. Well, it wasn't so leisurely for me. We were running on the sidewalk and I swear a big, scary monster jumped out of a crack and grabbed my ankle because somehow I ate it and ended up skinning my knees on the ground. Everyone on the team saw and it burst out laughing, temporarily halting our jog. No one seemed surprised that I was the one who fell, though. After I recovered gracefully, we ate lunch on the beautiful big lawn outside the Legislative Building here in the capital of British Columbia. A couple of the girls were throwing the football around before a cop came by and told us to stop. Apparently, you can eat there, but they don't want anyone getting pegged with a football. And the way some of our girls throw, we were a bit dangerous.

One thing we have learned here at the world championships is that because our games are being shot for broadcast, the camera could be on you at anytime. After I scored against England in the first game, they had a field-level camera on me as I was running back up the field and you can clearly see me say a profanity. It was so embarrassing to watch on the tape because it's pretty much a close up of my face. But hey, I was excited! You don't get to score a goal in a world championship to often. But I got off lightly as compared to an unnamed U.S. assistant coach who was caught picking his nose for like five seconds and then looking around to see if anyone had seen him. Little did he, umm... I mean it could be a she, know that Sportsnet Canada had a camera on him the whole time. Let's just say we'll see that clip in a few team meetings.

We found out last night that we play Denmark on Sunday in the quarterfinals. We've never played them before, but from our tour of Europe a few months ago, we know how tough all of the European teams are. We have a lot of respect for all of those teams because they are great soccer countries, but right now, we are mostly focusing mostly on ourselves and what we need to do to get ready. Knowing these girls, we will be.

Bye for now,

Leslie Osborne has been a member of the U.S. Under-19 National Team for two years. She was a key member of the USA's CONCACAF Qualifying team in Tobago, where she scored her first international goal. Osborne doubled her goal total in the first two games of the 2002 FIFA Under-19 World Championship, scoring against England and Australia. A midfielder for the national team, she played mostly forward during her freshman year for the Santa Clara University and scored 13 goals with 17 assists to help the Broncos to the 2001 NCAA Championship.

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