As one of the few uncommitted players on a team full of standouts orally pledged to some of the nation’s top collegiate programs, Purce has found reminders of her future options are never far away with the squad preparing for next month’s U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan
“They’ve pretty much all made their little pitches,” Purce said with a laugh. “They say, ‘Hey, we can go to school together.’”
Purce, who last year became the first junior in two decades to be named All-Met fall girls’ soccer Player of the Year, continues to take her time with the choice. She said Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Harvard and Stanford remain possibilities.
Purce has made unofficial visits to all of those schools except Stanford, which might have an advantage if she’s listening to her national teammates. Of the 20 players who traveled on the most recent trip, five of them are committed to the Cardinal, including Lorton native Andi Sullivan, a rising junior.
While Good Counsel Coach Jim Bruno has gently urged Purce to make a choice in recent months to avoid possibly losing options as recruiting classes fill up, she said she’s tried to remain patient through the process.
“I wanted to wait because I think it’s a very important and big decision in my life,” Purce said. “I want to make sure it’s the right decision and be 100 percent sure of myself when I make it.”
Purce, who has become a regular starter at forward for the national team under Coach Albertin Montoya, does not expect her national duties to force her out of her entire senior season. She said she plans to rejoin the Falcons — who graduated no starters off last year’s top-ranked team — when the World Cup ends in mid-October for the season’s final weeks.
Until then, Purce will continue enjoying the opportunities provided by playing with the U-17 national team. (The highlight of the most recent trip was a 2-1 win over the full Slovenia women’s national team last Friday, which included a goal from Woodgrove rising senior Brittany Basinger.) Purce said the players will attend one more team camp, likely at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California, before heading to the 16-team World Cup, which begins on Sept. 22.
The national team coaches “have helped improve my soccer brain — just my understanding of the game,” Purce said. “They break it down and you can see all the different runs and your options before they happen. It’s a lot more fun when the game opens up for you. ... [Playing with the national team] has kind of changed my expectations for myself.”
Related: Video of Midge Purce in action