With a new U20 WNT cycle beginning in January 2015, I found myself learning the names of a roster of players that I was unfamiliar with. I was interested in learning about who Coach Michelle French had named as captain of the squad for a scrimmage against Bayern Munich in Florida. The captain’s arm band was worn by Ohio native and Penn State freshman Emily Ogle. Emily is a midfielder for her college and our country. My family and I had the opportunity to meet Emily and fellow Nittany Lion Maddie Elliston at the U20 Women’s NTC Invitational last summer after their victory over Mexico. It was a hard fought match marked by solid defending by the US backline and a goal from Mallory Pugh. Emily was the link between the US defense and offense. Emily stopped the Mexico offense several times and initated the US counter attack. Even Mexico fans stopped to meet Emily and Maddie after the match. I was able to give Emily and Maddie AO Modesto chapter 18 scarfs. Modesto Outlaws are proud that as AO continues to grow to 184+ chapters, chapter 18 was founded in 2009 in Modesto.
Meeting Emily and Maddie created a curiousity for me to follow their progress during their 2015 fall season with Penn State. I was grateful that Penn State had the marjority of their matches available to stream online. Penn State had a dynamic team this past fall that was fun to watch because of their skill and energy each game. I was also impressed with the energy & passion in the crowd, especially from the Park Avenue Army. I hope to travel to Penn State this fall to experience the roar of the crowd in person. I had the opportunity to see and talk to Emily in person again when Penn State faced Stanford and Santa Clara University in the Bay Area. #10 was a midfield engine for a strong defensive Penn State that recorded victories in both matches that weekend. Emily was patient on the ball to find space for Penn State to move forward in their attack as a team. Emily was gracious enough to sign my #12 Ogle kit. Emily wore #12 for the US when I met her in Carson over the summer. Every Outlaw has their own reason behind why they decide to have a particular player's name & number on a kit. I select a player's name and their assigned number for a kit based on a player's skill and qualities as a good teammate that I can see on and off the field. Penn State would go on to a historic season highlighted by a National Championship. Emily's season would be charactized for me by her decisive role in the midfield, her patience on the ball, her precise corner kicks and set piece goals. As our U20 WNT begin their final preparations for the 2016 U20 Women's World Cup in Papua New Guinea, Captain Ogle's leadership will be essential to a sucessful tournament. Emily is a lion in the midfield for college and country. Her ability to quickly and precisely change the point of attack for the US reminds me an AO chant:
"Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the coming of the Yanks.
They are scoring down the center and they're scoring from both flanks.
We will beat you every time, and you can take that to the bank.