CAMAS — Make no mistake, Lauren Rood hopes to do what she can for the Camas girls soccer team this season.
But coach Roland Minder and Rood's teammates accept that the sophomore goalkeeper might miss a significant number of matches.
This week, Rood is in Florida training with the United States women's under-17 national team. She hopes to make the roster for upcoming under-17 World Cup qualifying matches.
"For any player to have the opportunity to play for the national team is an honor," Minder said.
Which is why the coach and Papermaker players are supportive of Rood missing chunks of the high school soccer season.
The day before practice began for this high school soccer season, Rood was in England making four saves in a 6-0 win in her first action with the U.S. under-17 Women's National Team. Three days later she played the second half of a 5-0 victory over England.
This week, Rood is in Florida for a week-long camp with the under-17 national team, which is preparing for a World Cup qualification tournament that starts in late October.
In her Aug. 25 national team debut against England, Rood made a reaction save on a shot from a sharp angle in the first half, and deflected an England shot in the second half when a player broke free into the penalty area.
As fun as it was to make a few saves, Rood said the moments that will be lasting memories from the trip to England included learning on the bus to the stadium that she was starting in goal for the Aug. 25 game. Walking onto the field at Hinckley United FC with her teammates, wearing the United States' uniform for the first time, was another special moment, she said.
The games in England were the first international matches for Rood, who will turn 16 next month. Her first call into a national team came in May, when she attended an under-15 national team camp in Texas.
Rood said the intensity level of training sessions at national team camps struck her immediately.
"All of the girls there want to go as far as they can with soccer. Soccer is their life," she said.
Rood's road to playing goalkeeper for the United States started about six years ago during an indoor match. Her coach asked her to fill in as goalkeeper. At first reluctant, she excelled.
"I've always been committed to soccer, but going to national team camp I realized what it really takes to play at the highest level," Rood said. She list fitness, health, and a dedication to daily training habits as requirements for national team participation.
Sunny Dulai, the coaching director for Washington Timbers Soccer Club, coached Rood's club team for several seasons. He said her training habits are among Rood's strengths.
"She's got an unbelievable work ethic and very, very high standards for herself," Dulai said. "She usually comes to training with an agenda of what she wants to work on."
This week's training camp is another step in preparing for a World Cup qualification tournament scheduled Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 in Jamaica.
Rood is confident that Camas will be in good hands. Junior Marie Matthews is top-notch goalkeeper, Rood said.
Because of her time away, Rood has not yet participated in enough practices to play for Camas. And Minder said Matthews will see the bulk of playing time in goal for the Papermakers.
"Marie Matthews is a good keeper. She has really stepped up," Minder said.
Competing for a spot on a national team is an honor, Rood said. It's an experience that is teaching her more than just soccer.
"What the coaches want to see is, how do you handle the mistakes when you make them?" Rood said.