Two years ago Lindsey Horan (CO Rush) and the U17 National Team cruised through group play during World Cup Qualifying in Costa Rica. The Americans outscored their three opponents (Haiti, Cayman Islands and Costa Rica) by 32 goals. Lindsey broke the CONCACAF scoring record by netting nine goals in those three games. Then the unthinkable happened… Canada was upset by Mexico, which sent them to the USA’s side of the bracket for the semi-finals. Since only the top two teams from CONCACAF qualify for the U17 World Cup, this meant that one of these two powerhouses would not be heading to Trinidad and Tobago for the World Cup. Despite a dominating performance by the Americans, the game ended in a 0-0 tie and went into pk’s. Canada won the shootout and ended Horan’s dreams of playing in her first World Cup.
Since that loss, Lindsey has emerged as one of the top female youth soccer players in the country. She was a fixture on the U18 National Team, received a full ride scholarship to University of North Carolina, and was offered a professional contract to play for Olympique Lyonnais (France) before her senior year in High School.
Last week, Lindsey received some of the best news of her life. She would be getting another shot at a World Cup. This time with the U20’s. After two solid weeks at the last U20 Training Camp, in which she scored a goal and assisted another against Chinese Shanghai, Horan was selected to play for the US U20 National Team for their World Cup Qualifying campaign next month in Panama. Horan (born in 1994) will be competing with and against players that are two years older (born in 1992). She is one of only two players on the US team that is still in high school. Click here to see the U20's Qualifying Schedule.
Wes Hart, Colorado Rush- Director of Academy, had the privilege to sit down and talk with Lindsey about her journey back to World Cup Qualifying.
1. Describe the feeling of being knocked out of the U17 World Cup Qualifying. After such an impressive first round of games, this had to be a complete shock to you.
It was a complete shock to our whole team. I don't think we thought twice about not making it to the World Cup... and then all the sudden we were in PK's against Canada. I re-live that moment all the time and it was awful. It was one of the saddest experiences I've ever had with soccer.
2. What was your reaction when you heard you were selected for the U20’s for World Cup Qualifying? Was this something you expected?
No I did not expect to make the team. There were 30 girls in camp and 20 girls made the team. All 30 girls at camp were very good, which made it even harder. I did everything I could to do my best and then hope for the best in the end. I never expected to make this team. It is an honor to be on it. And once I heard the news I was extremely excited, I could not have been more excited.
3. You have managed to achieve many of the goals you have set out for yourself (US Youth National Teams, scholarship to the most recognized school in the history of college soccer, etc…). Please describe what it took for you to achieve these goals. What does a typical week look like for you? What sacrifices have you given up in order to get where you are today?
Achieving all of these goals has not been easy. I have given up a lot to get where I am today. I had to work every single day, doing technical work, playing, training with older teams, training with boys, watching games, training individually, etc. A typical week would be:
Monday: Center training (7:30AM) and training with my team
Tuesday: Center training, Individual work, teams training (mine, boys or other).
Wednesday: At least 2 trainings, if not I will work by myself
Thursday: Center Training and then two other trainings.
Friday: 1-2 Trainings
Saturday: Game or I will find a Training
Sunday: 1 Training by myself or with a team
4. There are a lot of young Rush girls that look up to you. How does it feel to know that you are a role model to so many kids at such a young age?
I am just happy knowing I am a role model to so many kids. I remember growing up and having a few role models in this club and I still do have role models in this club. It helped me a lot as I was growing up and it gave me a lot of inspiration to do the things that I've done, so I hope I can do the same for young kids. It is very cool seeing little 10 and11 year olds having the same kind of passion about the game.
5. This is your last year with Rush (as a youth player). What has Rush meant to you? What will you miss most about playing here? What will you miss least?
I can admit one of the saddest things about leaving next semester will be leaving the Rush. I hate to even think about it. Rush has given me so much I could not thank the club enough. I would not be the player I am today without this club. There is no other club like us. I honestly could not say one thing that I will miss the most about playing here, I will miss everything. This club is a family and will be very hard to leave. But I will be very excited to come back for alumni week and to come back to play for the Rush W-League team in the summer.
6. Where do you see yourself in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?
I am not quite sure yet where I will be in 2 years yet, but I hope in 2-5 years I will be playing on the Full National Team and hope to be playing professional.
7. Tell me something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know. Are you passionate about anything besides soccer? Is it true that you tried out for The X Factor?
I'll tell you something interesting, I bet Wes $50 that Chris Rene would make it further than Drew on X Factor and I won. And Wes has yet to own up to the bet and pay me. I find that very interesting.