I was selected to play for Region IV ODP and represent rage being the only player from the area to go.My trip to Costa Rica was truly an experience that I will never forget.Being selected for this trip was an honor because playing at the highest level is what I aspire to do.The environment we were in was as if we were the U.S national team,we all worked very hard to get onto this team and we wanted to win the tournament.My team had practice every day twice a day from the day we landed.We had a morning training,then lunch and off to our afternoon session.It was an amazing experience to play in a stadium for an international tournament.The competition was very hard and talking to some of the players after the game on the other teams was eye opening.They are all different ages ranging from 15 all the way to 34.

Once our game was over the teams choose who the thought the best player was on the other team,I played the whole game against our hardest competition and kept a shut out and had 7 game defining saves.The best feeling is knowing after the game when the other team was asked who the best player was and i hear them all say “la portera!” knowing they were talking about me.Being recognized like that was a huge honor coming from a professional team from another country.These players are good competition to play against, they deserve to be on the professional teams they are on.

On our day off we went to help people in the community so we bought toys for some kids to play with at a school for struggling families.We spent and hour playing with kids who’s families are going through rough times and need help whether it be a single mom or drinking problems at home, the school helps the parents recover and the child get a good education.This was the highlight of my trip because seeing those kids faces when they walked out jumping in excitement.They don’t have the best situations and were beyond grateful to even get a few stickers from us.We then went to the beach and spent the day there to relax and take a break.

There were a lot of memories made with my team,coaches,and the costa rica soccer staff; our teams guide took us to the best spots in San José and our cultural night was a lot of fun to do.Cultural night is when they have a dance group put on a show for us and we eat all of the foods they typically eat there.But by far the best memories are with my coach Brandi Chastain because whenever we were bored she had us do something fun together or do competitions against the other regions that were there.We would have team meetings that were eye opening because our coaches are very experienced at what they do.I have learned a lot of new things on this trip but I will never take anything for granted because of this opportunity I have been blessed with.I would go to this trip over national camp because opportunities like this are rare and hard to come by.

I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity to play in an International tournament,be named mvp against the most difficult team,keep a shutout which no other goalkeeper did the whole tournament and win the whole tournament with an amazing team.I want to thank all of my Rage coaches for helping me get to this point in my life, shaping me into the player I am today, and always believing me.This has been the best experience of my life by far and I wouldn’t trade it for anything because not many people can say they help their team become international champions.


Isabella M. 

 2002 Ecnl team.