With a qualification tournament for the World Cup weeks away, Lauren Rood is back in Florida trying to earn a starting spot on the United States under-17 women's soccer team.
The Camas High School sophomore has been selected to the roster that will represent the United States at the CONCACAF women's under-17 championship tournament, which will be played Oct. 30-Nov. 9 in Jamaica.
In fact, because of injuries, Rood was the only goalkeeper on the roster released by coach B.J. Snow prior to this training camp. But Rood is taking nothing for granted.
"I still have to go there and prove myself," Rood said, prior to departing on Sunday for this week-long camp at Lakeland Ranch, Fla.
"I'm ecstatic about what's been happening," Rood said.
One downside is leaving friends and schoolmates behind. Rood planned to play high school soccer for Camas this fall. She turned out for the team but never played in a match before realizing that her national team opportunity would prevent her from playing this fall for the Papermakers.
"When I start something, I want to be fully committed to it," Rood said.
As a freshman last fall, Rood played a significant role in getting Camas to the state semifinals, stopping three penalty kicks in a shootout win in the state quarterfinals.
This autumn she has juggled school, travel, and preparing for this national team opportunity by working with a personal fitness coach and a goalkeeping coach in Portland.
The busy schedule presents challenges, but Rood said she is trying to keep her life as routine as she can. It helps that she got her license to drive on her 16th birthday last week. She celebrated by driving herself to a training session.
Rood played for the United for the first time in August, seeing action in a couple of exhibition matches in England. Her first call into a national team camp came in May.
Rood said she tries to keep her life as normal as possible.
"I'm trying to keep a level head on my shoulders," she said. "I've still got to be a kid and go to football games and do all the things that high school kids do."