Osborne Keeps Climbing Ladder

Osborne Keeps Climbing Ladder

Sept. 2, 2002

By Charles F. Gardner
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

First, a national championship, gained in her freshman season at Santa Clara University.

Then, a world championship, earned on Sunday in Edmonton, Alberta, in front of nearly 50,000 fans cheering for Canada and against her U.S. Under-19 women's team.

It indeed has been a whirlwind 12 months for midfielder-defender Leslie Osborne, the former Catholic Memorial star and all-state performer. She appears to be on a fast track toward a full national team berth in the next few years, but for now Osborne is relishing the role she played in the first U-19 Women's World Championship.

Osborne played all 109 minutes in the U.S. team's 1-0, overtime victory over Canada, and again she showed her versatility by moving from the central midfield to the left back position early in the match.

After defender Rachel Buehler suffered a serious knee injury in the 13th minute, U.S. coach Tracy Leone shuffled her lineup, with Osborne going to the back line and Kendall Fletcher taking a defensive midfield role.

"It wasn't one of the best games we played," Osborne said. "Canada played nine people behind the ball and looked to counter, and our forwards had no room to move. It was the worst soccer game ever."

Osborne actually started the winning play, sending a ball from the left flank to substitute Megan Kakadelas, who curved in a ball on the ground to forward Lindsay Tarpley. The first shot attempt by Tarpley was blocked, but the ball squirted back to her and the U.S. captain converted on a second attempt from inside the 6-yard box.

"We've been working for this for two years," Osborne said. "To play in a World Cup at 19 years old is something not a lot of people can say.

"I'm glad I played in the Final Four (last fall). It helped me play in a big game with a big crowd, with people cheering against us."

Osborne played at the left midfield position early in the tourney after North Carolina midfielder Amy Steadman suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. But against Germany in the semifinals, after the U.S. conceded an early goal, Osborne moved into the central midfield.

She helped the U.S. rally for four goals and a 4-1 victory.

"I played holding mid (in a 4-3-3 formation)," Osborne said. "I really like that better. I get the ball a lot more, and I can change the point of attack and win everything in the air."

Osborne also is a strong left-sided player, however, and her versatility is recognized by the coaches in the national team program.

U.S. women's national team coach April Heinrichs was in Canada during the tournament and got a close look at all the players. Heinrichs actually served as Osborne's coach a few years ago with the U-16 national team.

"I played with her for a year," Osborne said. "She was here the last three weeks and helped us a lot with technical and tactical things, and also with other things, like handling the media."

She was on a plane from Edmonton to Seattle on Monday, and from there it was back to school in California. Osborne and her Santa Clara teammates will play at Notre Dame on Friday night.

"I will play, for sure," said Osborne, who was one of three Santa Clara players (along with Jessica Ballweg and Kakadelas) on the U-19 team. "Some of us might need a break a little bit.

"We know it's going to be a rough early season, but all that matters is the (NCAA) tournament."

At the Movies
May 23, 2003 At the Movies
Women's Soccer Clinic
May 23, 2003 Women's Soccer Clinic
At the Car Wash
April 23, 2003 At the Car Wash
Women's Soccer Tops Cal
April 17, 2003 Women's Soccer Tops Cal
Aly Wagner Comes of Age
February 13, 2003 Aly Wagner Comes of Age
Post Match Quotes
December 8, 2002 Post Match Quotes
Post Match Notes
December 8, 2002 Post Match Notes
Post Match Notes
December 8, 2002 Post Match Notes
Postgame Quotes
December 6, 2002 Postgame Quotes
Post Match Quotes
December 6, 2002 Post Match Quotes
NCAA Quarterfinal Action
November 30, 2002 NCAA Quarterfinal Action
Post Match Quotes
November 30, 2002 Post Match Quotes
NCAA Third Round Action
November 25, 2002 NCAA Third Round Action
Post Match Quotes
November 23, 2002 Post Match Quotes
Aly Arrives
November 22, 2002 Aly Arrives
NCAA Second Round Photos
November 17, 2002 NCAA Second Round Photos
Santa Clara Quotes
November 17, 2002 Santa Clara Quotes
Arizona State Quotes
November 17, 2002 Arizona State Quotes
Washington State Quotes
November 15, 2002 Washington State Quotes
Arizona State Quotes
November 15, 2002 Arizona State Quotes
Santa Clara Wins NCAA Opener
November 15, 2002 Santa Clara Wins NCAA Opener
Santa Clara Quotes
November 15, 2002 Santa Clara Quotes
Creighton Quotes
November 15, 2002 Creighton Quotes
Photo Gallery From Senior Day
November 11, 2002 Photo Gallery From Senior Day
Hawkins Steps Into the Light
November 5, 2002 Hawkins Steps Into the Light
Wagner Makes an Impact
November 1, 2002 Wagner Makes an Impact
Coaching Style
October 18, 2002 Coaching Style
Hawkins Overcomes Adversity
October 18, 2002 Hawkins Overcomes Adversity
A National Game
October 16, 2002 A National Game
Post Match Quotes
October 4, 2002 Post Match Quotes
Post Match Quotes
September 22, 2002 Post Match Quotes
Post Match Quotes
September 15, 2002 Post Match Quotes
Osborne Keeps Climbing Ladder
September 9, 2002 Osborne Keeps Climbing Ladder
Post Match Quotes
September 6, 2002 Post Match Quotes
Post Game Quotes
August 30, 2002 Post Game Quotes
Bears for Everyone
August 14, 2002 Bears for Everyone
Q&A with Jerry Smith
August 7, 2002 Q&A with Jerry Smith
Yin and Yang
July 31, 2002 Yin and Yang
The 2002 Season Outlook
July 23, 2002 The 2002 Season Outlook