“Each camp experience is so cool, and you want to be there, so it adds to the suspense, and I guess the coaches are evaluating how you handle stress,” said Sullivan, who is the top-ranked recruit for the 2014 class according to Top Drawer Soccer. “But it also adds fuel to the fire. It’s what pushes me to go out and train, even in the rain.”
Just about everything Basinger and Sullivan do — the club teams, personal training sessions, red-eye flights from camp to make it back for school — is geared toward their dream of playing in the World Cup or Olympics. But as two of the youngest members of the U-20 pool, the desire to enjoy their high school experience also tugs on them, making their schedules all the more hectic.
“It can get way crazy,” said Basinger, who also played on the U-17 squad with Sullivan, Good Counsel senior and recent U-20 call-up Midge Purce and Patuxent alum Lindsey Lane. “You try to take one thing at a time, but with so many things going on, you also have to be smart and listen to your body.”
Last June, Basinger saw her soccer worlds collide when Woodgrove’s state title run delayed her arrival to a U-17 camp. After helping the Wolverines win the Virginia AA crown in Radford, Basinger zipped to Dulles Airport for an evening flight to California, where another grueling week of training awaited her.
“I love my teammates, and they’ve been so supportive, so I didn’t want to let them down,” Basinger said. “It can be hard trying to meet all the demands and do all that you want to do, but I love the challenge and opportunity to play at the high school, club and national levels.”
Basinger and Sullivan’s cluttered schedules often leave little time for high school games, meaning on some nights neither Woodgrove nor South County has its best player in uniform.
“The girls want to have that high school experience, and you want them to have it, too, but with players like Andi and Brittany, they need to train at a high level to maintain their edge for the national team,” South County Coach Jean Coder said. “That’s something coaches understand, and while the hard part can be getting all the teammates on board, everyone has been supportive.”
After Sullivan was selected to the U-20 pool, Coder held a team meeting before the season, reminding her players about the importance of being prepared no matter whether Sullivan was available. In turn, for games such as the Stallions’ April contest against top-ranked Stone Bridge, the last-minute addition of Sullivan simply served as a bonus.