Aug. 19, 2006
The Notre Dame women’s soccer season officially kicks off next weekend but two sophomore members of the team – midfielder Brittany Bock and defender Carrie Dew – currently are halfway around the world, competing in Moscow with the U.S. Under-20 National Team, at the Under-20 Women’s World Championship. The U.S. opened with a 2-1 win over Congo and next will face Argentina on Monday, Aug. 21, in the second of three games during group play. Both players have compiled various diaries, journals and even podcasts that are included below.
Neither of the Notre Dame players was used in the game versus Congo, as Dew was serving a mandatory suspension (because she had two yellow cards in the final game of qualification) while Bock also did not play, as she returns to form after an ankle injury. The U-20 tournament previously was an Under-19 event in 2002 – when former Notre Dame standouts Candace Chapman and Katie Thorlakson helped lead Canada to the title – and in 2004, when current sophomore Kerri Hanks was a member of the third-place U.S. team.
Carrie Dew slides in for a tackle at the final USA training camp before departing for Russia.
Hanks also was a member of the U.S. team in ’02 (as was former ND midfieler Annie Schefter, although she was injured shortly before that 2002 U-19 World Championship). Thorlakson and current Notre Dame senior midfielder Jen Buczkowski also had the chance to play in the 2004 event but opted to focus solely on Notre Dame’s season, with each helping the Irish claim the 2004 national title (unlike the ’04 tournament, the ’06 event will overlap with just a couple weeks of the college season).
The various journal entries from Bock and Dew – who have been jointly dubbed “DewBock” by their U.S. teammates – follow below, with more to come throughout the tournament (also see www.ussoccer.com for complete daily coverage, including various audio and video offerings).
Brittany Bock – US Soccer Podcast(click on link to listen and/or check back later to und.com for transcript of comments):
Carrie Dew – Postcard From Russia(courtesy of US Soccer)
Hello from crazy Moscow! It’s so different here than San Diego or South Bend. We are in the middle of the city and there’s lots of traffic and people everywhere, but our hotel is amazing. We have our own fountain in the lobby and the food has been delicious so far, especially the ice cream. I am partial to chocolate, but the strawberry, vanilla and some sort of coffee-tasting one were all good, too.
A few of the other teams are staying in our hotel. We have tried to talk to them a little bit, but most of the time it doesn’t go that well. I think mostly because the players from the other countries don’t speak much English. We were in an elevator with the Congo coaches and they definitely said, “The USA is very, very big.” I do admit that I was taller than the coaches.
I think a few of our players have talked to the Mexican and German players. We definitely win the “most friendly team” award as the other teams certainly have not gone out of their way to chat us up.
After training on Monday, we went to the famous Red Square where we saw St. Basil’s Cathedral, also known on the U.S. team as “Cupcake Castle.” If you’ve been here or seen a picture, you know what I am talking about. I think there might be a few pics in the ussoccer.com photo gallery, so check that out. We tried to go into the cathedral, but a Mass was about to start so we opted out for the time being.
While we were in line to get tickets (and before we found out about the Mass), we met a Notre Dame grad who had read about Brittany Bock and me on the Notre Dame website. Am I famous? Well, have you ever been recognized by a total stranger in Red Square? We’ll leave it at that.
After wandering around Red Square for a while, we went into a huge mall that really didn’t look like a mall from the outside, or the inside really, but it was very pretty and even more importantly, air-conditioned. Most of the stores were a bit too high-class and expensive for this college student, so we went out to the street stands in front of Red Square and bought ridiculous Russian fur hats. But if you see me wearing it at Notre Dame in January, you will be super jealous as my head will definitely be warm.
Carrie Dew relaxed a couple days before the opening game by creating this wave painting.
It is important to rest before such a big tournament, so with our morning off on Tuesday, my roommate Joanna Haig [who will play this year in the BIG EAST, at Louisville] and I had an arts and crafts hour. Amy Rodriguez got Jo a paint-by-numbers thing, so Jo painted a unicorn and I painted a wave on these little pieces of canvas. I must say that we are quite talented. If you took out the numbers, it might be different, but for now we are thinking about asking the Moscow Museum of Art if they would like to display our works … on loan of course.
Everyone was really looking forward to our first game against Congo. We didn’t know much about them but we had seen them around the hotel and they seemed like some serious girls that were ready to play. Unfortunately, I got a red card in the final qualifying match and had to watch from the bench on suspension. That was really tough. I thought I might need to get a seatbelt. Does FIFA allow seatbelts on the bench?
Anyway, maybe sitting out will give me even extra motivation for our second group game. I know I will be trying to help my team the best I can, after missing the Congo match.
I guess that’s it for now. It is warm in Moscow, but not too hot, and we are hoping it stays this way for the games!
Bock and Dew strike a pose in front of Red Square domes that are different shapes and colors than the one at their beloved Notre Dame.
Goodbye from Russia,
Brittany Bock – Pre-Tournament Journal Recap
“It’s amazing how far I’ve come, how far this Under-20 National Team has come since our first camp in January. The mega camp in 2005 was just a big pool for the coaches to get a look at a bunch of players to start their recruiting for our team. But qualifiers in Mexico in January was our first real test as a team (well a large chunk of our team).
“It was probably when we had our Germany trip in the middle of May that I really realized how good we were getting. It was unfortunate that I got hurt that camp, May 11 vs. the German U-21s to be exact, but I was able to sit back and be a spectator of our team. As I sat the bench for the rest of the trip, I really couldn’t believe how good our team was looking. We were a whole different team than the team that won qualifiers back in January. We strung together passes like nothing. I was amazed with some of the things our team was doing.
“Of course, we had some ups-and-downs through our training camps, but soon what used to be ‘unbelievable’ to us just became our expectations. Every time we got together, our level or expectations was pushed higher and higher. Our coach Tim Schulz always made sure we did not become complacent with our play. He always reminded us that there is so much more in us, individually and as a team.
Brittany Bock (#11) celebrates with a teammate during a spring game with the Under-20 National Team.
“As for my play, I know I have improved a lot. Tim has taught me and the rest of this team so much about soccer, and even life in general. He introduced us to many details of the game that has made a world of a difference. When I think back at my first national team camp, I am amazed at how much has changed.
“Players have come and gone, but there is still the core group. It’s interesting to see the players who are on this team today. For some, this is the first national team they have played for, yet most of the girls have been on previous teams. I was fortunate to be recognized as a youth player, but now it is all up to me to stay in this program. Many times I look back at how it all started for me and realize how lucky I am to be in this program. Millions of girls dream of being on the national team or with the national team programs. Now everything stands in front of me.
“Ever since I have been pulled up into a national camp, I have been playing center midfield. The systems have changed through the years – 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-5-1 – but I always have just stayed in that center mid spot. With the U-16 and U-17 national teams, I played more of a defensive mid in the 4-3-3 because of my qualities as a player. Now we play in a 4-4-2 and I will hold down the fort in a 4-flat midfield, but I still have the freedom to make runs up the field. Every once in a while, they will put me up top as a forward, but for the most part center mid is my position. I really enjoy in the middle.
Carrie Dew and Brittany Bock reportedly have enjoyed every minute – including this visit with the “policia” in Mexico – of their experience playing on the same national team for the first time in their careers.
“One thing that I am really happy about is that they changed the age group for this tournament from U-19 to U-20. Because of that, the whole 1986 birth year is able to play with us. Even though both Carrie Dew and I have been on the youth national teams, this is the first time we ever have played together (I am a 1987 birth year and Carrie is ’86). It’s pretty exciting to go through this whole experience with one of my best friends. During this past spring, it was nice to have someone else going through the same things I was, and try to laugh off all the stress we had.
“We just finished our last training camp in California at the Home Depot Center and rested up at home for a few days before heading off to Russia. That was my first camp back playing with the team since the ankle injury in Germany back in May, so I was pretty pumped to play. I was playing well before the injury, so hopefully it won’t take long to get back into the flow with the team.
“Looking back on this entire year, it has been a pretty crazy spring and summer for me and Carrie, starting with the challenge of combining our second semester at Notre Dame with training with the Under-20 National Team.
The CONCACAF qualifying included a victory over Jamaica.
“We started the year by going to the first U-20 camp (besides the mega-camp the spring before) in Los Angles, at the Home Depot Center – which serves as the main training facility for all of U.S. Soccer. We didn’t have much time to prepare for the CONCACAF qualifiers that were later that month in Veracruz, Mexico. We missed the first week-and- a-half of second semester, but that didn’t keep us from having a great time with the team.
“We beat Canada 3-2 in the championship game that ended the amazing trip. Along the way, we played Surinam, El Salvador, Jamaica and Mexico (in the semifinals). Every time we pulled up to the field, it was amazing. There were so many people standing outside the gates asking for autographs and pictures – something we don’t experience as much in the states.
“We did plenty of site-seeing which our coach (Tim Schulz) encouraged us to do. When we had free time, we would often walk around the town just to check out the culture. That’s one thing I really enjoyed during all the foreign trips: exploring. During our time off, we also went to old Mayan Temples, visited several towns (one in which we met the mayor of the town), went to a Flamengo Dance, went to a cigar factory to see how they are made, went down into a pastry shop (where we got to make our own and eat what we wanted) and played around in a park.
“We had the month of February off, which Carrie and I used to get back to school work and training with our Notre Dame team. At the end of the first week in March, we left for Texas for another training camp and several games. Straight from there we had our spring break. I stayed at my cousin’s house in Florida with my sister and Carrie went home to San Diego.
Brittany Bock frolicks in a Brazilian rainforest during some time off from training with the U-20s.
“After that, we came `home’ to help out at a Notre Dame camp for a couple days and then it was off to California for another weeklong training camp. When we came back from this vacation, I forgot we were even in school and our friends would constantly make jokes about us never being home. Through the years I’ve kind of gotten used to it.
“We had to skip out on the next camp in Portland, Oregon, because we had to catch up on our classes. However, luckily we were able to go on the next trip which was to Brasil! That is the once place in the world that I have wanted to visit the most and I was finally getting the chance.
“We had a blast in Brasil! We won the tournament that was a round-robin with Brasil and Canada. Once again, we did a ton of fun activities – we went to the beach (Ipanema, right next to Copa Cobana) and some of the team played soccer with some locals. We went to a rainforest national park, went up to the huge statue of Christo Redentor, visited a children’s orphanage and gave them our old soccer clothes, went to a church on Easter Sunday (the whole thing was in Portuguese), had a fake prom for the two high school girls on the team who were missing their prom at home, and we played practical jokes on our teammates in our spare time (all on video camera).
The famous Christo Redentor statue was one of the many sights seen by the U.S. team during their training trip to Brazil.
“The next camp in California, we had to skip out on again to catch up with schoolwork and play a game or two with our Notre Dame team. We didn’t really get to see our Notre Dame girls that much in the spring, because of all the traveling and catching up, but we tried to make the most if it when we were together!
“Once again, we packed our things and left school for Duisburg, Germany. In Germany, we went to a symphony, drove over to Amsterdam after a game and went to a Bayern Munich game. This trip was a bit more soccer-oriented but still was just as fun as the other trips.
“With the cooperation from all of our professors, we were officially finished with school at this point. The next two camps were in California at the Home Depot Center. We had plenty of games and training sessions on these trips, but we also had some time to relax and watch the World Cup games. We visited a Children’s Hospital in L.A., hit golf balls at the driving range, visited Hollywood and watched X-Men in the Chinese theatre.
Brittany Bock poses on the set of Good Morning America.
“In the New Jersey camp, we were on Good Morning America, walked around Time Square, went to a Broadway show (The Producers), went out to dinner at a nice restaurant, walked around Coney Island and had some New York pizza – even though I like Chicago pizza better. Then, near the end, Carrie, I and two other teammates and our coach (Tim) and his son went jet-skiing and walked on the boardwalk on the Jersey shore.
“For the Fourth of July, we went to one of the player’s house for a barbeque (we actually went a few days early because we had a game on the 4th). At her house, we played basketball, football, soccer, bike riding, went on her ATV (four wheeler) and ate plenty of food, and of course we had to fit in the World Cup games. At this camp, we played the China U-20s twice, beating them both games.
“I was not playing for a while due to the ankle sprain suffered during the Germany camp. I still was able to go to the camps to be around the team and rehab. I decided not to go to Finland because my ankle was still shaky and I really wanted to get healthy. I stayed home to really focus on rehabbing so I could be ready for Russia and our Notre Dame season. I was ready for the final camp before leaving for Russia.
“Carrie and I will be checking in with all the Irish fans at und.com later in the tournament, reporting on what hopefully will be more triumphant results and a great all-around experience for the U.S.”