It's Always Sunny at Stanford
On a windy night in George Town in the Cayman Islands, our U20 WNT won the 2014 CONCACAF Championship against Mexico. I watched defender Andi Sullivan score an Olimpico in the 9’. Rose Lavelle won the Golden Ball as the tournament MVP. GK Katelyn Rowland won the Golden Glove. McKenzie Meehan was the Co-Golden Boot Winner. I was intrigued with those players that attend Stanford since I knew I could see them play during their college season. I was especially interested in Andi Sullivan since she was considered by many the top recruit for the 2014 D1 college season and she was headed to the Cardinal.
I continued to follow Andi’s time with the U20 WNT as they prepared for and took part in the 2014 U20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The US bowed out of the tournament in the Quarterfinals in a loss to Korea DPR in PKs. Andi had a strong performance in the MF during the tournament. I had the opportunity to meet Andi after her first Stanford preseason match at Cagen Stadium & was able to give her an American Outlaws scarf. Giving an AO scarf to those USA players I enjoy watching to show support is something that has become a tradition for my family. The Virginia native went on to earn the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Yr honor due to her offensive and defensive skill for the Cardinal.
Andi showed strong leadership in the MF and helped the Cardinal finish 2nd place in the Pac-12 and reach the 2014 College Cup. My family and I consider watching Andi play her freshman season a special time since we were able to see her continued development week in and week out. Andi always takes time to speak with fans after each match when other players have long since left the field. It’s great to see the interactions she has with young male and female youth that look up to her. My son and I enjoyed talking to Andi ourselves after games. During the 2014 holidays, my son asked for a USA Sullivan kit. His 1st US kit. My son and I got matching Sullivan kits for Christmas.
Andi has had several calls up to the U23 WNT since 2015. I expect a call to the senior squad is coming soon for her. I ran into Andi at Avaya Stadium while she was on her way to train with the USWNT while the squad was in San Jose last year for one of their send off games before the 2015 WWC in Canada. I coincidentally was wearing my Sullivan kit, which made her smile. Andi took the time to stop and say hello; which surprised my fellow Outlaw that I was with. I was able to share with my friend that I think of Andi as an elite player that is a leader that always has time for her supporters. My family and I had a special experience that we will always remember. At Stanford, each season there is a gathering of the sport teams to get to know fans. My son and daughter had the opportunity to play with and learn from Andi and former USA U20 defender Stephanie Amack at the fall season event. I was able to see Andi’s strength based teaching skills at work.
It was no surprise for me to see Andi being named one of the three Stanford captains for the 2015 season. My son and I took the time to make tifo for the matches to show our support for the USA youth on the team. My family and I had the privilege of meeting Mr. & Mrs. Sullivan during the season and quickly learned where Andi got her strong character traits and calm demeanor from. The 2015 was another special season for the Cardinal as they won the Pac-12 Championship with the leadership of their three USA youth captains and outstanding crucial contributions from their USA youth rookies.
My family and I were down in San Diego for the USA vs Ireland USWNT match this past January. We decided to stay in Southern California an extra day so that we could see Andi and GK Jane Campbell play for the US U23s vs Ireland. While Jane did not see pitch, Andi started and was a strong presence in defending in the MF. The U23s went on to win the match and we heard from our friends on the Irish team about how quick and technical they thought the US U23s are. Having the opportunity to see a player of Andi's skill play on a regular basis is a reason why I encourage my fellow Outlaws to come out to D1 college games each fall to see the future faces of US Soccer.