Sept. 28, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior women’s soccer forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) has accepted an invitation to participate in a training camp with the United States Under-23 National Team next week at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The camp, which features 24 of the nation’s top college players and young professionals, will take place from Oct. 2-7, and will be jointly overseen by U.S. Soccer Women’s Development Director Jill Ellis, U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs and U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage (pronounced SOOND-hah-guh).
Sundhage will be at the camp to evaluate players for possible call-ups to U.S. National Team camps heading into next January’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, and potentially for the run to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“Experience is important,” Sundhage said. “In order to make the Women’s National Team, you must be able to play with different players and sometimes coming into a training camp, you have to adjust your game. It’s not the same teammates in college or club and you have to perform for a week in every single practice. Some players embrace that and get inspired, and for some of them, it takes a bit longer, not only one camp, but maybe two or four or five, so each camp with a national team is very important.”
“This is a tremendous honor for Melissa and one she has worked very hard to earn,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We obviously know what a gifted and remarkably talented player she is, and now we believe that U.S. Soccer will see those same things at next week’s camp. The National Team has had a strong recent history of opening doors for younger players to make their mark, and Melissa has a great opportunity in front of her to be the next in that line. We couldn’t be prouder of her.”
Henderson is no stranger to U.S. Soccer, having played with age-group national teams since 2006, including the past three years with the U-23 National Team. In that program’s most recent cycle, which concluded this summer, Henderson scored five goals and added an assist, including three goals at the Four Nations Tournament in Leicester, England, in February/March 2011, leading the United States to the tournament title.
On the college circuit, Henderson ranks second among all active goalscorers with 63 career goals, good for sixth in school history, while her 147 career points (63G-21A) are 11th in the Notre Dame record books. This season, Henderson leads or is second in the BIG EAST, and ranks among the 15 in the nation in goals (11 – leads conference/seventh in NCAA), points (25 – second in conference/10th in NCAA), goals per match (1.0 – leads conference/10th in NCAA) and points per match (2.27 – leads conference/15th in NCAA). What’s more, she is among an elite group of just eight players nationwide who rank in the top 10 in the NCAA rankings for goals, points and goals per match (and nine players who rank in the top 15 of those three categories plus points per match).
The recipient of the 2010 Honda Sports Award for women’s soccer, as well as the first runner-up for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, Henderson was a consensus All-American last year, as well as the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, earning her third all-conference citation along the way. The veteran striker also was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the 2010 NCAA Women’s College Cup after leading Notre Dame to its third national championship.
Henderson and her Fighting Irish teammates will be back on the pitch Friday when they play host to Connecticut at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium in a contest that will be televised nationally by ESPNU. The Notre Dame players will be wearing specially-designed uniforms for the match, with those jerseys currently up for bid through an on-line auction (UND.com/auctions) that continues through Oct. 17 — the proceeds will go to the Steve Emrich Fund, which is helping to defray medical expenses for longtime Fighting Irish supporter Steve Emrich, who has been hospitalized since late May (see UND.com/emrich for more details or to learn how to help).
Tickets for that match are available by contacting Notre Dame’s Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356; UND.com/tickets) or by visiting the Alumni Stadium ticket windows beginning one hour prior to kickoff.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (@NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.
— ND —