Aislynn Crowder of Hawaii Rush recently returned from camp with the U16 Girls National Team in San Diego. Aislynn is the first player in Hawaii Rush history to be invited to a national team camp. Hawaii Rush Technical Director Arian Hoxha said, "Aislynn is an up and coming player that truly represents Rush in every aspect, on and off the field... she is a true 'RUID' generation player."
After the camp, Aislynn's first with the National Team Program, she took a few moments to reflect on the experience and answer some questions:
Rush: First off, Aislynn, congratulations on this fantastic honor and experience! Can you tell us a little bit about when you first started playing soccer and when you joined the Rush?
Aislynn: I was 4 years old when I first got my foot on the ball with AYSO and started really love the sport. My dad was a volunteer coach for my teams. I wanted to play competitive soccer when I was 5 years old and joined a club which merged and is now Hawaii Rush.
R: How did you find out that you were called up to a National Team camp?
A: I found out through an email sent a week before Christmas but had to keep it confidential until U.S. Soccer announced the official roster on the website. It was such a huge surprise and a blessing. It was like a dream.
R: What was it like being able to play and train with that level of competition?
A: Going into the camp at that level, EVERY player is super talented. It was exciting seeing what everyone can bring to the playing field. Training was intense and really challenging me to push my limits. Everyone, players and staff were all supportive. It didn’t take long for the team to build chemistry.
R: What best prepared you for your National Team experience? What about your game makes your play special?
A: Preparation came in different ways. Physically, I tried to train on my own outside of Club and school training. I worked on conditioning and eating better. Mentally, I prepared myself by staying positive and working hard. I try to make the most of every experience, win or lose I can always learn what it takes to be a better player. Last, I think traveling alot and being exposed to many programs (Rush Select, ODP, school and Club) and coaches helped mold me and give me new perspectives of the game. I think what makes my play special is that I am adaptable to many positions and very much a team player. I am competitive but I would like to think I am very “coachable” and am fearless under pressure
R: Who have been some of your influences with your soccer?
A: My biggest influence would probably be my big brother, Rusty, because to me he was one of the reasons I started playing soccer in the first place. I was always trying to keep up with him and training with the older boys when I had nothing else to do at the park instead of just waiting and watching. He was also part of the 99 Select team and I looked up to them.
R: Your brother Rusty is a goalkeeper. Is it nice to have a GK in the family so you can always have someone to shoot on?
A: It’s really good to have him as a keeper not only for shooting on but helping me work on my touches. Sometime he’d punt the ball or work on his goal kicks forcing me to work on my first touches or controlling how I trap and settle the ball.
R: Do you have a favorite team? Who is your favorite player (one men’s, one women’s) and why?
A: My favorite team is Barcelona because I love the way they play. My favorite women’s soccer player is Carli Lloyd because of her skill and leadership. She is a huge factor and always impacts her team. My favorite men’s soccer player is Lionel Messi because he has a really good foot. I like that he is super humble but a very intense player on the field. He is probably one of the best if not the best player in the world.
R: As you know, Rush has 11 Core Values. What one is your favorite or helps you most in your soccer?
A: Well, I don’t have a favorite one because I think all of them are really important. But the one that means the most to me is unity. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for always having unity in my team. I think it is the base of what you need to be successful and to be champions.