This is the first in an occasional series on the unique experiences of some of the area’s best high school athletes.
Brittany Basinger, a rising senior defender on the Woodgrove soccer team, spent a week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. for the U.S. under-17 national team. Here’s her recap of the week, as told to The Post’s Eric Detweiler:
“We had a really strict schedule every day. We had to be at breakfast at 7, 7:30 and then we’d head out to our first training session, [which lasted between an hour and a half and two hours]. After lunch, we’d head out for another session around three. We also played three games, including one against the under-18 national team. They’re so technical and fit, it’s just awesome.” . . .
In the downtime, “it’s mostly laying around because everyone is so tired. In the Olympic Training Center, there’s a place to relax. You can play Guitar Hero, pool and ping-pong or watch TV. Usually, everyone ends up watching a movie or sleeping between training sessions. It’s just a huge week of soccer nonstop, but you need the recovery time because you’re always running.” . . .
“Every single training session you know you have to give your best or you risk not being able to be called back for the next camp. It’s definitely on your mind, but you try to forget it. ... I was really happy with my performance. If you make a mistake you have to flush it and keep working hard. You can’t let anything bring you down.” . . .
“It’s challenging, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is really cool. We’re usually there when the paralympic athletes are there. They’re usually training right next to us. It’s really inspiratonal to see them working hard like us while dealing with so many more challenges. It helps us to push harder.” . . .
At that level, “if you take an extra touch, they’re going to be all over you. You have to think that much quicker and move that much faster. My club team [FC Virginia] is really high [level], so usually I’m used to that, but coming here, there’s nothing that you can compare it to. Nobody’s willing to lose their spot on the national team.” . . .
“The food is strictly all healthy. You honestly can’t find anything in there that’s not going to help your performance. They want to make sure we’re eating the right things to perform at our highest. It’s a whole cafeteria with a lot of different options. You can have as much salad as you want, and there’s a buffet with chicken and salmon. Usually, I’ll go for a salad and some salmon. ... Sometimes they’ll have frozen yogurt. If they do, it’s because it’s a party or some celebration, but other than that there’s not much” for dessert. . . .
“You have one roommate [for the week], and each time it rotates. They want you to connect with all the girls because you’ll be playing with all of them. This time it was Arielle Ship. She lives in California, so we were comparing the East Coast versus the West Coast, arguing which one was better. She was really nice and funny, and we had a lot of fun.” . . .
“You’re never locked in [to a spot]. You could be picked up for a camp and dropped the next one. At the end of the week, our coach, Albertin Montoya, announced the next camp will be in Croatia [in July].
“I’m down in the Outer Banks this week with my family on vacation. My legs are still recovering. You can’t really take a week off. I’ve been running here and making sure I keep my fitness up. I’m trying to stay away from the soccer ball for the week just to give myself a break. Next week I actually leave for Chicago for a tournament with my club team.”
Know of a local high school athlete doing something interesting this summer? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.